Sept. 7, 2016
Ever have a day that doesn’t go exactly as planned? I get up in the morning with the best of intentions to have a perfect day where I’m my best self and rock the heck out of everything I do. But, let’s face it – those days rarely happen and nothing really goes exactly as planned. Let’s see, in the last few weeks I’ve made some ridiculous mistakes.
I’ve run into more than a couple of walls, locked my keys in my office twice, hit reply instead of forward on email that I really didn’t mean to go to the original sender, made typos where I shouldn’t, left my suitcase on the elevator during a business trip, knocked a case of Sprite off the display at Meijer sending cans rolling in all directions and left the door to my house open for an entire day. I don’t mean unlocked, I mean standing wide open – for an entire day. Thank goodness for a safe neighborhood and an old dog who didn’t run off. I mean really – how in the world did I manage to do that?
None of these things were in my plans. But guess what? No one is perfect – certainly not me. But, I’m OK with that. I own every one of my imperfections. I simply fix what I broke, laugh at myself, strive to do better and keep on keeping on. Honestly? That’s the Spartan way. Spartans never give up – even when the unexpected happens. Spartans simply face tomorrow’s challenges like yesterday’s mistakes never happened. We don’t dwell on the past. Spartans look toward tomorrow with a determination to make it better.
Nick Hays, an assistant professor in the Eli Broad College of Business and the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, knows all about unplanned and unexpected consequences. He incorporated a semester-long community engagement project into his capstone course for seniors majoring in management. While it didn’t go exactly as planned, he learned from the experience and has advice for others. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Incorporating community engagement, to learn more about the hands-on experience he gave his students.
Doctoral student Mark Hunsaker knows first hand about the value of community engagement. He was part of a project that involved more than 40 students who signed up to serve a Flint, Michigan site during “Will Power. A Global Day of Service.” Many students went into the project with certain ideas about the city, but changed their minds once they had hands-on experience. Read the STUDENT VIEW: Tell me a story: Changing student perceptions about Flint, to learn more about the project and his advice for others.
We all have preconceived perceptions about a lot of things. But being a Spartan means having an open mind and being willing to learn, grow and change. Spartans know that changing the world for the better means being prepared to face the unexpected and find a way to meet every challenge. Spartans know that making mistakes are part of human nature – but finding ways to accept them and keep striving for excellence is what makes us different. Mistakes happen. The unexpected will pop up on a daily basis. But who will rise to the occasion, meet challenges, keep an open mind and change the world for the better?
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz