Sunday, April 23, 2006

Three Words - REMEMBER who helped you along the way...

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A large woman with salt and pepper hair, and twinkling brown eyes, Mrs. Jordan, my fifth grade teacher, had a voice that boomeranged off the walls of her tiny classroom. The school was Blue Creek Elementary in Latham, New York (just outside Albany).

On one sunny afternoon, she asked the class a question. I read her lips from my front-row seat and immediately raised my hand.

I couldn’t believe it – despite my fears, I felt uncharacteristically confident because -- for once -- I was sure I had the right answer.

But, when she called on me, I was suddenly afraid. Here was an opportunity to impress the powerful teacher and show her I was worthy of her love. Maybe even impress my classmates a little.

I didn’t want to blow it. I took a deep breath and nervously answered her question.

Her explosive response startled all of us.

She enthusiastically slammed her right foot on the floor and whirled her finger a full circle until it pointed directly at me. With sparkling eyes and a wide smile she cried, “THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!”

For the first time in my young life, I felt like an instant star. My heart burst with pride as an ear-to-ear grin filled my face. I sat a little taller in my chair and puffed out my chest. My confidence soared.

It was amazing how a simple three-word phrase delivered with incredible enthusiasm had totally transformed my young life.


All it took was three words to get me to think that I would make a place for myself in this world no matter how many obstacles I had to overcome. From that day forward, my grades and speech improved dramatically. My peers suddenly looked at me with new respect and my outlook on life did a complete turnabout.

The next story "The Bully....." demonstrates the power of Mrs. Jordan's three words.

FYI, I now have a keynote speech called "That's Right Stephen!" for speaking engagements. You can see the speech description here.

Let me ask you this: Have you taken a moment to REMEMBER who helped you in your life?
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