President’s Perspective: What will your stadium sound like?

Dec 15, 2023

Earlier this month I attended the Ames Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Luncheon, which featured Tommy Spaulding as the keynote speaker. Tommy is an author and a speaker with the gift of storytelling, and it is a real gift. Many of his remarks from this event are featured in his recent book, The Gift of Influence. The book was a gift for the event, too. See what I did there?

I read the book after hearing Tommy speak and was able to let some of his stories and the concepts from his keynote soak in. The focus of the book is influence, and how we all have interactions with many people throughout our daily life. In fact, on average, each person interacts with 2.8 new people every day. These aren’t necessarily deep relationships, but enough to make an impression and perhaps influence how somebody is doing at that moment or after that moment. With an average life expectancy of 77 years, the calculation is that you will have 80,000 unique opportunities to influence others in your life. That is enough people to fill a large football or soccer stadium.

Pretend that one day your funeral will be held in that stadium, with all of those people in attendance. What will it sound like? Will it be a loud roar, and cheers for a life well lived and of positive experiences from those people? Will it be full of boos and jeers that are reflective of those interactions instead? Will it be silent, as there was little if any impression and influence left on those people?

While it’s true that you’re not able to completely control how others are feeling when you meet them, you certainly influence them and can leave an impression on how you conduct yourself in the process. How your stadium sounds has everything to do with how you show up. It is a choice, and with the ability to influence someone into improving their day, I would argue it’s an important choice to consider.

At the end of his book, Tommy discusses a 10x concept. If you are a leader and/or have access to many more people than the average person does, you have the opportunity to fill not an 80,000 seat stadium, but perhaps an 800,000 seat stadium. That would be more like a simulcast celebration of life. What will that sound like?

At this time of year, I’m reminded of the many relationships in my life and the gratitude, love, and appreciation I have for those people. Also, with the Christmas spirit in the air, it is a bit easier to be upbeat and positive in the 2.8 or more interactions that I have on a daily basis. How I show up is a choice and it is great to be reminded that my stadium will be full of people I touch every day – not just on a good day.

Here we go. Upward and onward to a stadium of cheers and appreciation, as it will be a reflection of the quality of our interactions where the benefit and influence is mutual.

Mike Espeset