One Green Blood's State of Mind

Monday Motivator: Pay it Forward

By Scott Westerman
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“We’re all self made. But we all had help.

Whatever success, growth or enlightenment you may have experienced in this life happened because someone helped you. The school you attended was built by someone else who cared enough about future generations to want them to have the opportunity to learn. Whatever job you may currently have is yours because someone made the decision to give you a shot. The food you eat, the place you live, the car you drive, everything about your life happened because someone else cared enough to Pay it Forward.

Of course you worked hard to earn it. Your own decisions and behaviors guided your ultimate trajectory toward the happiness or misery you are experiencing right now. But at every turn, someone opened a door, lent you a hand, or gave you a supportive word (or a whack in the head) when you needed it.

How about your education? Even if you think you paid for it yourself, an important part of that education happened because someone else invested in it. Someone taught you their core values, helped you with homework, gave you a ride and were there for you when you needed them. Nobody gets anywhere in life without the help of someone else. We need to acknowledge that every day.

And pay it forward.

If a mentor taught you some truly winning habits that have positively impacted you, be a mentor yourself and model those behaviors. If there is an organization you admire who is making a positive difference in the world, give it some of your time, talent and treasure so it can continue making that difference for another generation.

Too often, we file life-changing experiences as business transactions. Here’s a common phrase that our Green Line student fund raisers hear all the time. “I paid for my education and got a good education. I wish the university would stop asking me for money.” When I hear this, I feel sorry for the person who said it. Truth is, there were men and women of vision who came before you that invested in that institution, so you could benefit. It is now your responsibility to ensure that others can have that experience.

This coming Friday, Michigan State University launches our latest Capital Campaign. Wherever you earned your education consider this: If your life is any better as a result of the things you’ve learned, the friends you’ve made or the advantages you enjoyed as a result, consider supporting the institution that made it possible. You can be sure that someone just like you did the same thing.. so that some someone just like you could know what it feels like to succeed.

As you head into the new week, think about the people, the places and the experiences that have helped you be the best possible person. Take a moment to thank a mentor. And invest a little of yourself in the people, organizations and institutions that have had the biggest impact on your life.

The quality of our existence today is the direct result of the sum total of the contributions of our ancestors. The quality of the world we leave to the next generation is totally up to us.

Have a great week!

Feedback always welcome to scott@spartanology.com

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Monday Motivator: Watch Your Language

By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.

“What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube. ~Erik Qualman

Here is a tweet that a young woman posted on Twitter this past weekend.

“Everyone booing Obama at spartan stadium was one of the best things that has ever happened.”

Her political point of view is her own and she has the right to express it.

Here’s the problem: The decision maker at a company where she had applied for an internship happened to see it. And that decision maker happened to believe that booing a sitting president during his two second appearance in a public service announcement about sexual violence awareness was inappropriate.

This “Interior Designer looking for new opportunities” just lost a gig because of something she said on social media.

When I shared the incident on Facebook it unleashed a torrent of feedback. Here’s some of it.

“Our 18 year old son has decided that his future lies with the Marines and the 1st thing his recruiter did was to look at the last 6 months of his social media posts.”

A socially vociferous colleague wrote, “I had an entire Twitter stream literally end up on the front page of the Lansing State Journal (newspaper) a few years ago.”

One of my high school friends remembers, “When I worked for Apple, I was told first week to, ‘Never say anything in an email you wouldn’t want to see subpoenaed.'”

And Bob Benenson, former Congressional Quarterly columnist and a long time observer of Washington politics says, “People have got to remember that anything you do wrong on this medium a) can be seen and probably will be seen by exactly the people you’d never want to see it and b) never goes away.”

Erik Qualman, the guru who creates those cool annual videos about the impact of social media, shares this reality in his book, What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube: “Assume whatever you do, both offline and online, will be seen by… the world.”

My writer mentor, best selling author Allison Leotta, states that universities should have a class on “Discretion on Social Media” as part of the core curriculum. I agree. And this is a class that begins at home. One of my parent friends relegated her daughter to an Internet disconnected flip phone when her smartphone behaviors started not to be very smart.

Don’t get me wrong. We live in a country where you are allowed to say just about whatever you want. But remember: In the Internet age, words speak as loudly as actions. And both have consequences.

Save the politics and religion conversations for face to face interactions with people who’s opinions you value. Take H. Jackson Brown’s advice to heart. “Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.”

Enthuse publicly. Vent privately.

I’ve been in this business long enough to conclude that your social media persona is a window into your soul. Yup, kids can do stupid things. We all did some “bad-judgement-one-offs”. But a pattern of past action is often a predictor of future behavior. If you wouldn’t say it to a potential boss, to soul mate, your pastor or your mom, don’t say it on social media.

So whenever you post, watch your language.

Have a great week!

Feedback always welcome to Scott@spartanology.com

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To Battle Goes A Spartan

To Battle Goes A Spartan
Written and Narrated by Scott Westerman

To battle goes the Spartan
To fight and never yield.
The stoic gaze, with eyes ablaze,
Adorned with sword and shield

To win is our profession.
On to victory day and night,
Opponents writhe, their dreams alive,
In colors green and white.

We answer every challenge,
Achieving every goal.
Our path is clear, we know no fear,
A warrior’s heart and soul.

To battle goes the Spartan,
And history shall proclaim,
We go right through for MSU,
To everlasting fame.

Monday Motivator: The Power of One

By Scott Westerman
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This week I was honored to participate in MSURx, sponsored by the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Here’s the story I told about how the Power of One can become the Power of Many. Many of you may know this story. It happened almost exactly one year ago. But it’s worth retelling. (more…)

Monday Motivator: Earning the Shirt

By Scott Westerman
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Scott’s Maxim: “When you decide to connect your brand with a high performance organization, you had better act the part.”

One of the perks of my job is that I occasionally get to travel with Sparty. Only 42 individuals have ever looked at the world through Sparty’s eyes. And what they see is an advanced course in human nature. (more…)

Monday Motivator: On Work

By Scott Westerman
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“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

This is what we celebrate on Labor Day, that American Work Ethic that defined our finest hours and made us the envy of the world. Repressed peoples came here for the opportunity to work and work hard. Even those who ended up on our shores by circumstance could rise above travails, paradigms and prejudice with dedicated effort.

The prize is today as it was then, to discover a rewarding craft and turn it into high art. (more…)

Monday Motivator: Steve Schram’s 10 Keys to Success – Plus One

By Scott Westerman
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“You are here to make a difference, to either improve the world or worsen it. And whether or not you consciously choose to, you will accomplish one or the other.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

My fellow broadcasting enthusiast and MSU roommate, Steve Schram stood before a group of students in the auditorium at the Communication Arts & Sciences building. He was there to distill a lifetime of experience into ten keys to success. As we launch another freshman class into the Spartan experience, it’s appropriate to share his wisdom. It’s a cookbook for success, wherever you may be in your life’s journey. (more…)

Monday Motivator: What Robin Williams Taught Us

By Scott Westerman
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“Comedy is acting out optimism” ~ Robin Williams

All of us who were Robin Williams fans will remember our reaction when we first heard the news. Disbelief. Anger. Sadness. Confusion.

There were those who called the act, “selfish”. A Fox News commentator alluded to cowardice (he has since expressed regret for that remark). “How could he do that to his family,” was something else I heard. “He had everything.”

If you are saying those things, you don’t know depression. You have never been in the grip of a monster that turns your every rational thought into self loathing, painting an horrific picture of existence that screams for release. You don’t know the utter helplessness that comes from being unable to lift the veil of despondency from your being, to the point where ending it all feels like the only alternative.

Yes, it is possible to crawl out into the sunshine again. Many do. But all who are afflicted know that the darkness is always close by. (more…)

Monday Motivator: Intention

By Scott Westerman
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“Care about the outcome.” 

It had taken weeks to orchestrate the call. Five participants from various silos within the corporation were on the line to hear my pitch for a sponsorship opportunity with our alumni association. I asked the question I always ask at the start of these conversations.

“Tell me about your community relations philosophy.”

A voice on the other end of the line said the following. I remember it well because it seared in to my brain.

“We are only interested in doing things that will get us more customers.” (more…)

Monday Motivator: The Watch

By Scott Westerman
Shinola SpartanListen to an audio version of this message.

“True friendship is the greatest gift you can give. “

The box was the square, brown, cardboard variety that regularly hatches small bits of electronics, pottery tools and paperbacks at our house. On top was an envelope that said, “Open this second.”

Colleen had the conspiratorial look in her eye that always told me she knew something I didn’t and was enjoying every minute of it. (more…)

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