We all have a choice – to either fit in with a stereotype or to redefine the stereotype. Which do you choose – and which would you RATHER choose?
Meet Garin Harris.
Garin is a teenager just about to become a senior in high school and as such, Garin has the opportunity to fit neatly into the teenage stereotype.
She could be moody and disrespectful, sullen, rebellious and lazy. She could be a disappointment to her parents and teachers and could make everyone who sees her despair for the future of the country.
Garin has chosen a different path though. Garin has chosen to be outstanding.
Garin has worked hard at not conforming to the teenage stereotype but instead at excelling and pushing boundaries in everything she does. In fact, Garin works so hard at these things that she has been recognized as her county’s Miss Outstanding Teen for 2015 and is in with a good chance of becoming California’s Miss Outstanding Teen in a couple of weeks.
It’s Hard Work Being Outstanding
Garin does STUFF. I mean LOTS of stuff!
When she’s not competing in pageants, Garin works hard at her violin, ballet and general fitness, has been voted vice president of her school’s student council, teaches a dance class for ladies in a retirement home, volunteers at her local arts center and raises money for charities like the Children’s Miracle Network. On top of all that, she has to dress up for appearances as Miss Outstanding Teen, do photoshoots and publicity and she still finds time to do other charitable work like raising awareness of Transverse Myelitis.
It’s exhausting just following her on Facebook.
Garin Harris chooses to define the stereotype though. Rather than fitting in with the rather depressing stereotype of teenagers today, Garin is creating a new stereotype – and it’s one that I hope many others aspire to.
What About You?
It occurs to me when I see all that Garin does that she has a lesson for all of us.
Sure, we are not all going to be picture-perfect beauty queens and we are not all blessed with the talents that she has. Sure, we could guess that maybe her parents gave her extra help that many of us couldn’t afford and sure, maybe she didn’t have to grow up in the ghetto or bouncing around from foster home to foster home like you may have had to.
We can make excuses and assumptions about her privilege all day long.
But when it comes down to it, Garin has the choice every day about the life she leads. Any day she could say, “This is just too much hard work, I want to just be an ordinary teen!” and give up her tiara and gowns and slouch in darkened rooms complaining about how terrible life is.
But she doesn’t.
She doesn’t – and we don’t have to either.
What ever it is you do, whatever place you find yourself in in life, you have the choice to fit into the stereotype or to be outstanding.
You can be an outstanding car salesman (in integrity, not just sales figures). You can be an outstanding grocery-store clerk, like the guy at my local grocery store who likes to tell a joke or say something amusing to EVERY customer. You can be an outstanding cop or bank manager or teacher or factory laborer or boss or taxi driver or parent….
No matter what it is that you do, you can choose to be outstanding.
That doesn’t mean you have to be the best in the world at what you do, it simply means you have to choose every day to be the best you can be.
Garin will make it through her teenage years whether she stays on the path she’s on or chooses to become just another example of a wasted youth and likewise, you will make it through life whether you choose to be the average person everyone expects or the outstanding person that you CAN be.
The choice is yours.
What will you be?