The invisible forces of the world are always making a difference on us. The person we are when we’re born into the world is nothing like the person we are when we leave. There are millions and millions of little things that influence us to be or do something else. The neighborhood we grow up in influences our habits. The food we eat influences our health. The entertainment we consume influences our outlook on life in general. There’s no way to avoid the influences of the world. They will always be affecting us changing us over time. Some changes will be big and drastic. Other changes will subtle and insignificant. But there will always be change.
Out of thousands of influences that are affecting us at any given moment there is one that makes the biggest difference. People. The people in our lives influence us in ways that are exponentially more effective than everything else in life. The girlfriend you have in highschool can influence the decisions you make in college and after. The friends you make in college can affect the degree or hobbies you get into. People are immeasurably impactful when it comes to influencing and affecting other people. You just have to make a point to be clear on the impact others have had on you and who made that impact. So who has had the greatest impact on your life?
Here’s a short story on who has had the greatest impact on my life?
There are so many people that have had a great impact on my life. I have people around me that are very caring and super supportive. I’m thankful for all the people that take the time to support me in times of need. I know I couldn’t have accomplished half of what I have in this life without the amazing people behind me. I think everyone deserves loving and genuine people behind them. It makes a huge difference in your confidence and ambitions in life. People like Mama, Dwayne, Cheryl, DeAsia, Enkose, and more have been a big part of my life. I’m thankful for all of them. But if I had to pick someone that had the greatest impact on my life it would be the moment I had a few years back in Portland, Oregon.
I got of the plane with my mom and Dwayne. I was excited to be in Portland because I’ve never been all the way on the west side of the U.S. Dwayne pushed me in the wheelchair until I came across the lady from Make-A-Wish. She had a huge smile on her face and told me it was going to be an amazing time. I was even more excited now just because of her positive energy. We left airport and got some food on the street as we approached the downtown part of the city. Then we got to the hotel and they had me in an amazing luxury hotel in the heart of the city. I jumped on the bed and said it was impossible that this was all real. And my mom hugged me and said it’s very real son.
The next few days were amazing in every meaning of the word. They let me see the Nike flagship store in the main part of the city. Celebrities and top athletes visited that store all the time. They closed off the entire upstairs section and let me create my own sneaker from scratch. It was a lot of fun. I got to go to the Omni Space and Science museum. That was fun because I’ve always loved science since I was a kid. We got to go inside a real life submarine ship that was retired from the navy. We went on a tour of the marketing company that runs most of Nike’s campaigns. They showed us all around the office and how everything worked. And there were so many other cool and fun things that we did each day.
But after two days or so, I was able to go the Nike headquarters. I toured the whole campus learning all kinds of things about the history of Nike. Each building was named after an important athlete that was at the top of their league. I got to see the history of Jordans and where the shoe began. I even got to see a secret part of the headquarters where they created new shoes and designs. The technology and innovation that I saw in there was mind-blowing. Then I got to the main executive building where Mark Parker and others worked. I walked in the room and he was sitting at his desk working on his laptop. I had butterflies running through my stomach and was nervous beyond belief. He got up and shook my hand.
We sat down and started talking about his story with Nike. He started as a shoe designer and worked his way up through the ranks. Eventually he ended up becoming the CEO of the whole company. He told me all kinds of trade secrets and strategies about Nike’s business and how they continually find great success. I learned so much more in that thirty minutes than I ever did with half the books I’ve read on business. I was happy and ready to go home and smile for ten years straight. But as I was about to leave, Mark told me had a gift for me. He brought out a special box with my name engraved on it. There was a pair of sneakers signed by Kobe Bryant himself. I was happy. But then I looked up and read the message on the box.
He hand wrote a note that really hit me deeply. My whole life I felt like I wasn’t good enough. The note said, “Stay curious and committed to your enormous potential.” I immediately broke down and started crying in his arms. My whole life I needed to hear that I was capable of so much more. I never felt I would be great. But after hearing it from someone that had reached greatness themselves, it really touched my soul. I was inspired to be my best and reach my full potential after that moment. It sounds so cliche but it really was a life changing moment. I think my life and mentality has changed for the better ever since that moment. I will never be the same. And I can easily say that Mark Parker has had the greatest single moment of impact in my life.
Thank you so much Mark. You will never know the good you did that day. I’m forever grateful.