Don’t Let Someone Else Define Who You Are

Right now, over 2 million high school seniors all around the United States are applying to college. And many of those apply early, to receive an early response, and to possibly increase the odds of getting in to their dream school. Those who applied for Early Decision or Early Action, are hearing the news right about now. Hope abounds, and I understand. Our son, a senior in high school, understands.

If you are a high school senior, or have a high school senior, you should know something that matters much more than acceptance at your dream school. The choices you have made, and who you have become by the time you are 18, matter way more than any decision by a college admissions board. And whatever acceptances or rejections you receive, they are temporary and they do not define who you are or who you can become.

The friends you have made, the adventures you have embarked on, the books you have read, the challenges and adversities you have confronted, and the small acts of kindness you have given over your years leading up to age 18, define you far more than the seemingly arbitrary and confounding decisions of college admissions professionals. Don’t let a small group of people who have never met you, define who you are. You get to decide that.

There are a lot of schools you can attend, and have an equally marvelous experience. What matters, of course, is not where you are, but what you think, and who you play with, and share time with. So remember, whatever school you are accepted at, choose to attend, or life choice you make, the most important thing you can do is to make a difference where you are. Solidify your intentions. Light a candle where you are, and let it burn brightly.

Last summer, our son and I bicycled across America with two other dads and their teenagers. We published a book about it called Chasing Dawn. (Because, you know, we were cycling east. Get it?) I co-authored this with my cycling companion, the artist, photographer, and wonderful human jon holloway. Grab a copy. I’ll sign it and send it to your doorstep.

Our company Mindscaling, builds powerful leadership development experiences, and curriculum, for companies big and small. My other new book Small Acts of Leadership, is a Washington Post #5 bestseller. Woot! You can grab a copy on Amazon. Have a meeting coming up? I can help. Let’s talk.