Front Row Livin’ & A Question Worth a Billion

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A week ago I attended a conference in Annapolis for a group of career professionals and employers. The keynote speaker, Jon Vroman, was particularly memorable. As co-founder of his nonprofit company, the Front Row Foundation, Jon talked about the work his organization does to help those braving devastating health issues and challenges. The goal of the organization to bring a “front row” experience to these individuals at their favorite concert, performer, sporting event, Broadway show or other entertainment venue. The stories they told proved inspirational as the patients and their families gained valuable memories to clutch to for the rest of their lives. You can read more about that organization here.

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But Jon also shared his own growth stories and some of the struggles he’s overcome to live life to the fullest, or in his words, in the front row. He gave a personal example of being a shy kid lacking confidence and as a result having the tendency to fade into the background. One day, while fanning his passion for live music at a concert but standing in the back of the crowd and slightly off to the side, Jon noticed a group of people front and center dancing and singing along and having what looked like the best time of their lives. He felt envious of how free and involved they seemed – so a part of not just the crowd, but the performers experience themselves. He decided in that moment that he would no longer live his life standing in and fading into the background.

Jon then asked us to think about our own goals and our commitment to those goals, requesting we rate on a scale from 1 (being the lowest) and 10 (being the highest) how dedicated we are to achieving our goals. When we all had that number secured firmly in our brains, Jon asked us another question: “If someone offered you a BILLION dollars to accomplish that goal, would your commitment change?” The curious murmur that fell over the crowd proved Jon’s experiment had worked – very few of us who just moments ago felt 100%, tapped out committed could honestly say a billion dollars would not strengthen that dedication and push us that much harder toward achieving success. With added incentive, we found we were capable of even more.

Whether it’s a career goal or a life goal, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question. What is your commitment level to your goal and what, if anything, would create even more incentive for you? You may be surprised what you find, and it may help you know yourself better as you continue to plan your career path.

As always, we are here in Career Services to support you living your life in the front row and we are 100% committed, billion dollars or not! 😉


Author: Anne Marie

Anne Marie Gercke is the Associate Director for the College of Arts & Sciences team in Career Services.