Eddie Stephens gives advice about Authenticity to LeadershipGROW Class of 2017


Recently, LOGO_GROW (1) I had the privilege of addressing 44 of the highest achieving 11th graders in Palm Beach County.  These 11th graders are  participants of Leadership Grow Class of 2017.

Leadership Growformerly known as Youth Leadership, enables High School Juniors to understand the critical issues facing Palm Beach County while encouraging them to expand their leadership roles and build a foundation for always being involved in their community.

14352253_10154304803130041_5944471606547300139_oThese students spend nine months gaining real-life experience by having unparalleled access to leaders from businesses, government agencies, and civic organizations.  The program coordinators encourage students to interact, learn and reflect on their future as community leaders, and build necessary skills, including public speaking and resume-writing to prepare them for future education and employment.  Only 48 high school juniors who represent the diversity of Palm Beach County’s school system are accepted.  By completing the program, students graduate into a thriving group of alumni who are better prepared for the world ahead of them with the skills to influence the future direction of Palm Beach County and our nation as a whole.

So what advice to give this group, what words of wisdom could I offer in the time allotted?

Basically the importance of building and maintaining relationships.  Not just within their class, but with the many people they will meet on their journey.

I have also directed them to this website which contains additional wisdom from some of my closest over achieving friends. I turned to my network of Brothers from my business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, whose membership is made up of a bunch of over achieving freaks, and within a few hours i had over 50 quality responses.  Someone even suggested we publish the submissions as a fundraiser.



So here is some really good additional advice for over achievers:

Happiness matters. And so do assistants and receptionists, so be nice, always. –Audrey Hungerman

You’re not as smart as you think you are. Natural talent only gets you so far, at some point you have to work harder and harder to achieve your goals. After your first day of college, nobody cares what you did in high school. It will take time to adjust, but if you can, the sky is the limit. –Rene Pena

Don’t Hit Send! –J. Barrett Carter

Don’t jeopardize your integrity (or reputation) for a grade, money, or another person. You can’t ever get that back. –Janene Markuske

Your reputation is everything. Some people don’t realize that until its too late. It is precious and easily tarnished, dented, or destroyed. Handle with care, polish with ethical and honorable behavior and it will strengthen and help you weather the storms which come your way. Guard it well. –Gail P. Baumer

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. So if you succeed in being happy, no amount of money can equal what you earned. -Steven Canter 

Find your grand passion. The sport, activity, organization that you think of every day. And pursue that passion with vigor. You’ll never be bored and you’ll always have a focus. -Noel Niles

Be present. Technology advancement has brought us many great things, but it is ruining our communication skills. Put your phones down and enjoy the company you keep. –Meredith Adams

Live your life as though everything you do will eventually be seen. And with social media it might be. –Jacquie Stephens

What you want to do 20 years from now may be different than what you want to when you graduate. And that’s okay. –Jeanette Buie

Failure is a necessity to success. –Eric Engblom

Live your life for yourself, not the life someone else expects you to live. -Jeanne Levesque

Find a good mentor, one who is willing to give you advice and show you the ropes. Pay that experience forward when the opportunity presents itself. –Sharlene Reyes

Determine what your personal values are and stick to them through everything…education, careers, friendships, and family. Find the words that resonate with you, and remind yourself of them when things start to get stressful… and remember that everyone has different personal values. (Mine are: integrity, responsibility, and stability.) –Emily Cole Brown

Learn to be prudent with money and be vigilant regarding social media. –Victor Calero

Making mistakes is a good thing. Learn the lesson, bury the experience. –Steven Brockman

Don’t let doubters stop you from achieving your dream! –Anuva Banik

Don’t let the little things stress you out. –Emelie Tramm

Do good – it’s the rent you pay for living on Earth. Have fun – make memories to last a lifetime and build relationships with people with similar interests and values. Make money – so you can continue doing good and having fun. 🙂 -Noel Niles

You are not entitled to anything and the world is not going to give you anything. If you want something, you have to get tough and work for it. When you fail, you can complain and make excuses, but that doesn’t get you anywhere. Get back up, stay positive, learn from your mistakes and try a different way. –Mark Wernette

Overachieving is good. Doing work that’s meant for others isn’t. Learn to delegate. It’s okay to give to control to someone else sometimes. -Amber Leigh Rivera 

There are several jobs everyone should do for a least a summer or semester before graduating into career jobs…..service job such as waiter/waitress, sales/retail at a store grocery clerk or department store, manual labor painting, lawn service, housekeeper, outdoor work such as lawn service or nursery, indoor office temp or intern, and elder or child care. These jobs provide a variety of insights which will serve you well. –Gail P. Baumer

With excellence comes envy. Those who are jealous or don’t understand why one may be high achieving may try to take you down. Don’t let them. For your success so far is only the beginning. Set your mind up for success and you’ll keep getting it! Surround yourself among the peers that will build you up instead of taking you down. –Jen Huynh

If you approach people and situations with a positive attitude you will be much happier in life – and probably more successful too! –Claire Roberts

Discover what living is. You have had the opportunity to experience success in life thus far. Learn the rhythm of life – focusing on what needs you can solve, and solve them. Living is learning time and time again that all it takes is one spark, one step, one giant leap, to believe in your ability to solve what was once impossible. See what you dream of come to life. That is how we will all have a hope for a future. That is how we will overcome and build legacies that last. –John New

The harder you work, the luckier you get. –Shandy Hassan

You want the job that comes after that little job. You need the little job to learn how to do the big jobs. Don’t forget the small stuff it makes the big stuff. –Leslie Champion Dailey

Always seek to solve problems and answer questions yourself. You may not fully solve the problem or answer the question, but you will have learned so much just from the experience of trying. -Meghan Hill

All that being said, do not ever hesitate to ask for help. Try it first yourself, then seek help or advice from someone who knows.

Always keep your nose clean and do the right thing – it will be recognized in the long term. Stay true to yourself and more important, discover who you are. –Jeff Blanchard

To make great things happen, make better choices. Ask yourself…. What can I do to solve the problem? How can I help? What action can I take to own the situation? Ownership is commitment of the head, heart, and hands to fix the problem and never affix the blame. Believe (in the company, team objective, project) or Leave (get out of the way). –Gail Baumer

Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. –Eric Cruz

Be a person of your word. –Greta N Dunn

Use a budget. Send 10% of your income to long term savings and another 5-10% to a ‘mad money’ account for vacations/dreams/big wants. Never carry a balance on credit cards. Plan ahead and save up for big purchases. -Noel Niles 

You will be starting your career soon. Do not expect to have in the beginning of your career what you see others have in the middle or end of theirs. While in college or grad school, don’t let people tell you, “When you get in the real world, _________.” You ARE in the real world. Your world is being a professional student. Speaking of college, treat it like a job. Plan to study or work on your academics for 50 hours a week and you will enjoy your evenings and weekends much more and much more responsibly. –J. Barrett Carter

Always look for the solution, not the problem. –Mary Miracle

Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and live by those teachings. Do that over and over again. –Cory Stopka

Try not to take everything personally. It will eat you alive. Instead, try to understand where people are coming from and try not to let it affect you or how you feel about yourself! –Payton Perez

Pick your battles. –Audrey Hungerman

Build your life around the things that you enjoy to do rather than only focusing on making everyone around you proud and achieving all the things on their little checklist for you (good grades, great ACT/SAT scores, college with X degree, career). It’s important to have your own identity, pursue your own interests, and you’ll be successful if you work hard. –Lauren Trey

Your actions have consequences. They can lead to good or to bad It is always the “how” you need to question to achieve success. The “when” will come on its own. Let the force be with you as you walk the path of a Jedi!! –Dr. Arturo Perez

If you do what is easy, life will be hard. If you do what is hard, life with be easy. –Jason Kohorst

Enjoy the little things. –Mark Wernette

Read a book, and aim for a book a month. –Gianni Buño

Have a plan for your life and do what you need to obtain it. Don’t do things that won’t help you move forward. Ex. Work for a law firm if you want to be a lawyer don’t work for a vet office! –Joe Delgado

When you’re down, work won’t be there for you. Your friends and family will. Life can seem like a dark hole of impossibilities and failures from external factors. At the end of the day, all you can do is change your attitude. -Taffy Lê

Never give up your dreams. –Sherry Flood

Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good. –Rene Pena

The world is very small…the person you work for may work for you in the future or the person who reports to you today may be the person you report to in the future. –Gail P. Baumer

Never write what you can say, say what you can nod, or nod what you can wink! –Joe Delgado

Look into Servant Leadership, which is worlds apart from “managing” people. Theory X vs. Theory Y. -Mike Vitale

Take risks. If you never fail, you never learn. -Noel Niles
It. Gets. Better. -Erin Lee
Do what you say you’re going to do. There are a lot of people who make empty promises in this world. Be honest. It’s the quickest way to get to where you want to go and stay there. Finally, give yourself some credit and go after what you want. Many people will give you reasons why not to do something, but you’ll never have any chance unless you try. -James Kuhn
Join Delta Sigma Pi when you are in college!  -Marc Adam Leonard
“Visualize tomorrow, Value today.” Leadership begins with leading yourself. How you spend today brings you steps closer to your vision or goal…or takes away from it. –Patrick Ali McKeown

If you are inspired by our Brotherhood, you can make a tax deductible donation to our 501(c)(3), the Leadership Foundation of Delta Sigma Pi, which I am the former Chairman and President of.  Feel free to designate your donation to the Eddie Stephens Leadership Fund if you would like to help pay for leadership training from college students in certain chapters in Florida.leadershipgrow


3 thoughts on “Eddie Stephens gives advice about Authenticity to LeadershipGROW Class of 2017

Add yours

  1. *****NEVER let your life, obligations or job run you. That is known as BEING OUT OF CONTROL. Make sure it is YOU who runs your life. Take control, make your own decisions and steer in the direction best for YOU. If you spin out of control (and we all do at times), steer back into deep waters. Undoubtedly, we all will run aground. That is known as EXPERIENCE and is more valuable than gold.

    *****ALWAYS give more than you receive. Remember those less fortunate. Give what you can, whether it be time, money, or a smile.

    Give of yourself wisely. Recognize “perpetual victims” who remain on a cycle of failure due to repeated bad decisions. Give only to those worthy of your gift. Each of us will take a tumble. Each of us at some point will reach for a helping hand and grab it until we get back on our feet.

    The perpetual victim will “deliver themselves unto you.” They will expect you to “carry” them, solve their problems and make their decisions. If you take control and make the decisions, the perpetual victim will not be responsible for bad results, YOU WILL. Instead of helping, you will be carrying and depriving them of a lesson THEY needed to learn.

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