To All Teens Everywhere
I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several events lately on the DISC Personality Profiles. Clearly this is my passion and such a backbone of understanding people as I speak on authenticity and connection. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at Vanderbilt Virtual Academy. I had 45 minutes each to speak to classrooms of 7-12th graders across the country. I spent 30 minutes speaking, then had 15 minutes of question and answer. Overall, I spoke to over 200 youth.
When I was younger, this would have been absolutely terrifying to me. Actually…it still was a little nerve-wracking, but I found that it wasn’t simply because I was afraid of talking to a bunch of super-critical teens; it was because I felt so strongly about what I wanted to say. I spent many nights with my wheels turning thinking of how I could best get my message across.
The intent of the session was for the students to learn about the DISC styles. But wow – personality styles with kids just opens up so many opportunities – so explanation quickly turned into something more than just knowing yourself.
In light of some conversations I’ve had just this week, it’s time to repost some of my notes from this talk. I hope this gives yet another twist and insight into why I love talking with people about personality styles, and all of the ways it can truly help us see how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. So here you go – my open letter to all teens and tweens out there:
Dear Teenager (or tween),
You are in charge of your reality. If you don’t like it, change it.
You alone are in charge of your reaction to the world.
Everyone, close your eyes. If you can think up one adjective you want to describe you, what would it be? Think on that word for a minute. Beautiful, rich, smart, powerful…When you go home today, write that word down. Stick it on your bathroom mirror. Every time you see that word, think “I AM.” You ARE that word, and the more you say it, the more it becomes your reality. As you grow, your definition of what that word means may change. Being rich doesn’t always mean financially. Be open to what that word means to you, and make it matter.
For the past twelve years I’ve worked with my father’s company, 48 Days, and we work with people to find – or create – work that truly lights them up. First and foremost, it’s a paradigm shift – we are all in charge of our own lives, and we all choose our reactions to others.
We all are 100% responsible for our perspective on the world.
Through this company, we believe that 85% of the process of finding the work you love is by looking inward—aligning your:
- Skills and Abilities
- Values, Dreams and Passions
- Personality Styles
Notice I didn’t say money. Money comes when you have a clear understanding of these elements. When you look at work as simply a way to pursue the almighty dollar, you are essentially throwing away half of your life. Think of how much time you spend at school. Now replace that with work. When you are stuck in something you hate and don’t believe in with people you don’t connect with, no amount of money is going to compensate for that. Money is simply a tool. It can be used for greatness in this world, and also ultimate destruction. And it’ll do that to you as well.
‘You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with great vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.’
– Woodrow Wilson
You want to make a living out of more than just money…otherwise, you may just be making a dying.
[At this point I discussed the personality styles – how some people love to be the life of the party while others would rather stick to tasks to be organized and completed. It’s not just about knowing the personality style, but also knowing that each personality style has a different fear – and when you touch on our fears, that’s when you see what was once a strength become a weaknesses, like a take-charge leader becoming confrontational, aggressive and demanding, or a team player becoming complacent and withdrawing.]
Each and every one of you are important to this world. It is solely up to you what impact you will make. Your legacy will be created daily by the choices you make and the people you connect with, both literally and figuratively.
Remember we are all in this together – what you may see as different, boring, or lame may simply be another approach. When you belittle that, you are not just breaking down another human being, you are stepping on the very essence of who we all are. We are people, we have emotions, and it is our responsibility to build each other up. If the whole world were just like you, God help us all. You are unique, but your unique abilities aren’t enough. So you want to be a rock star, and that’s your dream. That rock star needs an agent to get him connected, an accountant to keep up with the details, and a mother to keep his or her ego in check. We have to have relationships in life!
For those of you who play the bully game – either the giving or receiving end, please hear this… Words are simply words. But they are POWERFUL. You will repeat them to yourself over and over in your life. They CAN shape your reality. And sometimes, you can become so blinded by the words of others that you forget your own worth. You are valuable. You are important. And when someone else says otherwise, envision yourself as powerful beyond measure. Breaking someone down is the highest form of low self-confidence, insecurity, and hatred.
Please remember, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Build each other up and support each other – you never know when you may need that person later on in life. We are all vitally important to this world.
My brother, Jared Angaza has had his share of ups and downs. He and his family has lived for 9 years in Africa (Kenya and Rwanda), they delivered their twins in Costa Rica, and are now back in TN for a while. Along the way of living their dreams and having many adventures across the globe, he made this statement to me about relationships:
‘I think, typically, we tend to put work, money and time far above relationships. This is completely backwards from how we are created, and it’s hurting us. People are realizing they are basing their whole lives around a group of priorities that don’t actually bring them happiness.
I think we’re on a brink of a relational revolution, though. People crave connection with others. Ultimately, I believe we will come back to a mindset that values relationships over time and money. But it’s going to take some serious time and commitment from people willing to invest in our overall collective quality of life, rather than individual wealth and accomplishment.
Society needs to take a good hard look at its priorities and make a shift back to human connection.’
Now is your time to look beyond yourself and see the other people that make up this world. We are all interconnected, and we need the strengths of others in areas where we are weak. We can’t be all people – we need each other, and the more we recognize and appreciate our differences, the more we can connect with deeper, richer lives.