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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 12, 2023 - 10:59am --

Last week I had the privilege to travel to Montana for a work conference.  I’ve always enjoyed traveling and this time was no disappointment.  The opportunity to meet with peers across the country and learn from their programming inspires me as I bring it back to the community.

The final speaker talked about the struggle of leadership in the world today.  He was a teacher, then a principal before going on to be a superintendent.  He challenged us to live our lives without feeling like we were entitled to “easy.” We are here, at this time and place for a particular reason and he encouraged us with the following comments.

- Life is all about dealing with what we are dealt, and sometimes it’s no fun.  We think that somehow life is supposed to be easy and that we shouldn’t have obstacles to overcome.  When we are given the opportunity to help others, often our perspectives change, and we regain our personal power.

- Be a “splicer.”  When life’s challenges create a struggle, we need to take care of ourselves. While we know this will help us be better at doing our jobs, many times it's difficult to put into practice.  He offered the insight that we learn from making mistakes and that how we handle those mistakes is observed by those around us.  We may never know who’s watching, but we can be assured that we have a silent audience.

- Your greatest challenge is your greatest opportunity to grow.  While this was tough to hear, I recognize the value in this statement.  Everyone is going through something, and we all should give grace not judgement to work through situations to arrive at the good for all.  In that way we keep each other accountable and can support each other as a team. 

- What brings you joy?  We all need to find time to fill up in mind, body and soul and protect those times so that we are prepared to meet the hard times when they come. 

- When I can answer the question, “What’s my why?” then I have a greater understanding of the “what do I need to do” in my life journey.  In other words, I can live more intentionally by living my legacy.  He used one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

He closed with the challenge that life is hard and the struggle is real, but each of us are bigger than our jobs.  We are encouraged to live the life we want to be remembered for.  When I can answer that, then that’s my growth opportunity.  It’s not about telling, but showing how to live a life, at this time and for this purpose.  Whether it’s a conversation, a journal entry or thoughts to ponder, I think there was lots of value shared in a few minutes.  I encourage all of us to pause and savor, the here and now for we don’t have a crystal ball to see what’s ahead, but we can love, serve and lead from where we stand today. 

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.