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Making Your Mark on the World is Hard

You can make your mark on the world, if you kick expectations through the door, find your passion, view each day as the last chance to pursue your goals and use your skills and talents effectively. Making a mark on the world is hard. You have to be determined. You have to resolve not to be defeated by challenges and obstacles.

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Making Your Mark on the World is Hard

  1. 1. Making Your Mark on the World is Hard “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” ― Barack Obama Hello friends, it is Wednesday and it is the middle of the week. I hope you are having a great week. On Monday I had a great meeting with representatives of one of Canada’s big 5 banks. We spoke extensively about regulatory changes and the impact on financial institutions’ operations. On the subject of financial services I am sure you would have heard by now that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $13 billion in a landmark settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. JPMorgan acknowledged that it misled investors about the quality of risky mortgage-backed securities ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. It is the largest settlement ever between the U.S. government and a corporation. My friends I share the news about my meeting on Monday and JPMorgan’s massive settlement to tell you that I have made it a part of my life’s purpose to make a smallcontribution to the safety and soundness of global financial markets. The ultimate goal of my contribution is to safeguard the interest of users of financial services. In directly I am protecting you, your savings, investments and pensions! It is a tough job! Please allow me to share some thoughts on making a mark on the world. Each us reach a point in our lives when our single most important goal becomes trying to understand our life's purpose. We ask ourselves the questions “Why am I here?” or “What is my purpose in life?” or “What will my legacy be?” Most successful athletes such as Usain Bolt, Lebron James, Sidney Patrick Crosby, Chris Gayle and celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Eminem and outstanding leaders in governments and businesses will tell you that making a mark on the world is hard. Yet we all strive to leave a legacy. Why do we strive to make a mark on the world? It is simple. Innate in each of us, somewhere deep inside our subconscious mind, we do not want to pass through this world quietly.We do not want to be unnoticed. We want to be remembered long after we have gone from his world. However, mark my words we are not all going to be Steve Jobs or even my idol Nelson Mandela who is today ailing in South Africa. Although we will not all be remembered like men such as Ghandi or Martin Luther King or women like Rosa Parks or Eleanor Roosevelt does not mean we should not strive to make our own little mark on the world. If you would like to make a mark on the world do not let others determine what you should or should not do in life. Kick stereotype and expectations through the door. You have to clear your mind and truly assess what will make the most sense for you and your legacy. Yesterday in an email exchange with my daughter, Marchelle, I reminded her of the importance of not letting others determine who is or what she becomes. I reminded her that if we stand for nothing we will die for nothing. The reason for my email was to merely remind Marchelle that in the pursuit of our passion and the pursuit of happiness we should not let others stand in our way. We should move steadfastly towards our goals with little patience or tolerance for naysayers and time wasters.
  2. 2. In order to make a mark on the world, you have to blaze your own trail. What is meaningful to you? What activities do you enjoy? What are your ideas and ambitions? By answering these and other questions you will better understand the things that drive you and full you with passion. Your passion has to be blended with a strong conviction to preserve in the face of enormous challenges and obstacles. I recalled my early days as an immigrant in Canada. I remember the obstacles I faced and the rejections I received in my attempts to secure employment in the financial services sector. Rejections have a way of leading to a sense of dejection. If you allow it, it will eat away at your self-confidence and self-esteem. It can make you feel worthless and useless. However, in my experience as immigrant I was not prepared to be defeated. Each obstacle I faced tested my innermost strength and resolve. It bolsteredmy determination and commitment not to be shackled by stereotype and expectations but rather to seek out other avenues to make my contribution to financial services.When all the doors appeared closed to me in Toronto financial district I seized the moment and used the opportunity to form my consulting practice, Mark McKenzie Consultingand traveled the world building capacity and providing technical assistance as part of my contribution to stability in global financial markets. In our quest to make a mark on the world it is very easy to succumb to the challenges and obstacles that we face. If our basic needs according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are not satisfied we easily become caught up by the demands of life to surviving from day to day. Survival becomes our single focus. We lose sight of our purpose, mission and ambitions in life. I have been there. I have experience the agony of mistakes and failures. I have fallen but refused to be defeated. I refused to be defined by my mistakes and failures although they have taught me some very important lessons in life. I start each day as if it will be my last day on earth and the last opportunity to achieving my goals and making a mark on the world. If you ask me how I am able to remain positive each day I will tell you it is by pure determination. My skills and experiences in financial services have given me an opportunity to make my small contribution to stability in global financial markets. However, I have other passions and other ambitions. Let me share an experience with you. In January 2009, about two months before my mother died, I was sitting with her at home in Kingston, Jamaica. Her sight was ravaged by the effects of diabetes that led to cataract and glaucoma. On that particular day I asked my mother if she remembered my smile. I remembered as a child how she loved when I smiled. She would always tell me I had a lovely smile. However, in her ailing state with deteriorating memory and lost sight she told me that she did not remember my lovely smile. It was a truly sad and touching conversation for me. It was one of the last conversations I had with my mother before she died. However, this is not my mother’s legacy. We all want to leave a legacy behind so that our children’s children and others will remember us. My mother was a simple woman. She did not find the cure for cancer or HIV. She did not run a marathon. The only place she ever traveled to outside of Jamaica was the U.S. I have done more and I have accomplished more than she did her life on earth.
  3. 3. What is the purpose of telling you about my mother? Making a mark on the world is hard but my mother a simple woman left a legacy of compassion. She was kind and caring to others. From my mother I learned how to be compassionate and hence I developed my passion for charity. Last week Monday I launched my High Performance Leadership project titled Holiday Season Food Drive for the Salvation Army of Bramptonand yesterday I had the opportunity to speak City Centre Toastmasters Club members about my food drive. For my food drive I have a very simple goal. My goal is to collect at least TEN 3.0 cubic feet (18 x 18 x 16) boxes of non-perishable food items to be delivered to the Salvation Army of Brampton in midDecember. I have a number of Toastmasters Clubs and Toastmasters’ members participating in my food drive in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga. Today I will be the guest speaker at TD Creekside in the financial district in Mississauga. I will be delivering one my humourous speeches and collecting TD Creekside Toastmasters Club’s contribution to my food drive. You are invited to find a Toastmasters Club in Brampton and Mississauga near you and ask about my food drive. Toastmasters International offers one of the world’s leading communication and leadership development programme. You can make your mark on the world, if you kick expectations through the door, find your passion, view each day as the last chance to pursue your goals and use your skills and talents effectively. Making a mark on the world is hard. You have to be determined. You have to resolve not to be defeated by challenges and obstacles. Above all, take something from me….if I can do it in my small way…without the limelight and cameras…without the glim and glamour…sure as hell you too can do! I believe in your ability and capability to make a different…You too can make a mark on the world although it is hard! Go out and make your mark on the world! Mark McKenzie is a leading Subject Matter Expert in financial services regulation and supervision as well as a professional motivational speaker, corporate trainer and youth mentor. He can be contacted by email or by telephone 647-406-4622. Read my blog and always write me a comment and share. Follow me on Twitter @mackynacky. Connect with me on, Google+, Facebook and Linkedin.