leadership | April 04, 2013

Don't Let Who You Might Be Diminish Who You Are: Drew Dudley At TEDx [VIDEO]

When leadership speaker Drew Dudley asked an audience member at his recent TEDxFoggyBottom talk why he "mattered," the boy was speechless. It's a simple question, Dudley says, that often elicits a look of confusion and apprehension before answering. Why is it that we have a hard time defining our merit in the world? As Dudley tells the students at George Washington University in D.C., it's because we all feel like we're "training to matter." We don't feel like we're worth anything until we attain some great success, and we forget that what we do in the meantime—on the journey—is just as valuable.

"I think that we have to evict this idea from our minds that impact—and the ability to make an impact—is in any way, shape, or form related how old you are, or how well you do in school, or how much money that you are going to make," he says. In his heartfelt and hilarious speeches, Dudley shares lessons he learned from some of his late friends before they passed away. Most of his examples come from friends who never even made it to 25. The reason he shared their stories, he told the students, is because his friends mattered—to him, and to hundreds of others—not because of what they had achieved, but because of the way they impacted those around them. And, as he reminded everyone in the crowd, that's why they mattered too.

Embracing this idea means letting go of the negative thoughts and experiences we all carry around in our hearts and minds. "Leaders," he says, "have to heal." Further: "We have got to disconnect from the things that have hurt us, otherwise we will carry these things around with us." Dudley's TEDx talk combined equal parts humour and hardship—making the audience laugh while also sending a resonating message. You are the landlord of your heart and mind, he told them. And those who succeed—and lead others to do the same—are the ones who can evict the things in their lives that weigh them down, and embrace their inherent meaning in the world.

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new speakers | April 03, 2013