A Hard Question From A Sad Girl
Do you remember what it was like to be 14? I don’t.
Last Friday was the fourth day of my new 30-day-list and I was speaking to a group of high school students. The students have massive potential academically but face roadblocks and hardships that generally prevent them from getting into college. All of the kids have at least a 3.5-grade point average or higher.
The school invited me to share my story and inspire the students. I love speaking to groups and was excited about the opportunity to connect with high school age folks.
I told them I had a 2.6 grade point average in high school and nearly failed out of college. I told them I was a mascot, started a party bus company by accident, and was attacked by three chimpanzees in Zambia.
Talk about a success story.
I also told them I went on a first date the night before and asked them if I should go on a second. They exploded with advice. They asked if she talked about herself the whole time. I said yes. They said don’t go out with her again. I said I would.
As I told my story and discussed my new 30-day-list concept, I touched on goal setting, purpose, business, life, and being a good human being.
At the end, I asked if they had any questions.
A girl with purple hair asked me about my favorite country.
Another girl with a cute smile and huge eyes asked me how much a Fur Bus costs to rent.
A small, Spanish guy asked me what advice I would give my younger self.
I stumbled a little over my words and finally landed on “start sooner”.
Start everything sooner. Start a business sooner. Start a hobby sooner. Start eating healthy sooner. Start believing in yourself sooner.
Then a girl with tired eyes and a stack of books in front of her asked me an interesting question. Earlier she told me the hardest thing she faces at her age is getting enough sleep. She said that she has to take extra classes to keep up and is loaded down with work and activities.
I could feel the desperation in her voice. She seemed sad.
In an odd way, it felt like she was reaching out to me to save her.
“How do you stay motivated when everything is so hard?”
Her question hit me like a buffalo. It broke my heart. I don’t know why. Maybe because I could sense she didn’t have any friends in the class. Or maybe because I could sense she didn’t know what the future would hold. Or maybe it’s because I struggle with that too.
All I could think to say was there is always spark deep inside you. Even if faint, there is a spark. When it gets hard, and it will always get hard, hang on to that spark. Hang on tight.
I lost my way a few years ago. It was the darkest period of my life. But I always had that small spark inside me. I held on.
It will get better.