The most remarkable people you will ever meet are often no more than an arm’s reach from you. It might be the greatest tragedy and the most incredible wonder, that you can learn a world’s worth of wisdom from those you are able to walk away from daily.
I recently began working as a copywriter for Stingray Branding, a digital marketing company in Charleston, SC. When you take a new job, you might be reminded of those first days in any new place. Maybe you think of your first days in kindergarten, or the time you went to college, or a previous job. In all cases it’s a chance to meet and learn from new people, one we mostly squander, leaving a wealth of stories and experience on the floor as we move on to a new chapter, with our eyes still mostly closed.
Megan Evanosky’s name is one I heard a lot when I first signed on with my new company. She’s that incredibly capable person, you know the one, you’ve seen more than a few of them in your life. Megan is the miracle worker, the clutch player, someone for whom the play of the game, the routine of the job, brings with it a certain joy. That joy is their strength, it’s why they can move mountains.
Megan is that person. True confession, she is often the person I don’t get to know nearly as well as I should.
She just graduated from Clemson a couple of weeks ago, something she’s done while working full time and balancing her life as well. That alone would be impressive, but then you realize that she is only 20, and I find myself more than a little awestruck. Megan has a focus I have never known. She sees her path clearly. So often I have encountered people like this who only aim for those things they are “supposed to,” not thinking really beyond an image or a checklist of life.
Megan tells me she wants her Masters before 30, and her PhD before 40. The words don’t leave her mouth like this is an interview, it’s not to impress me, she just legitimately wants these things. She loves to learn, and these are her milestones, your thought on the matter be damned. She talks about these degrees like I talk about my novels, and my heart instantly understands why this is her path.
Because she loves it, because she has to walk it as surely as you or I need to breathe.
I ask about her path, about what her dream is, about the future as she sees it. She tells me about using her knowledge to help people, about how we all should find ways to help others, even when our work may, on the surface, seem to make that a tall order. Megan shares the story of her future, what others might call goals, but what is, for her, a story that just hasn’t been told yet. There is no doubt in her, these things will happen. As she tells me I believe it will all happen. Megan will see the entire world, including the one continent I have not set foot on, Antarctica. Her feet will walk the world, her thoughts will change it, at least the piece of it she considers her area of expertise. That expertise is like water, a mind and a heart to match, something that will find its way, something that will shape everything it touches. I know Megan will change the world and she can’t even buy a beer yet.
I heard that Megan was a marvel, but the reports were incredibly understated. She is remarkable, an everyday miracle, that most of us fail to appreciate.
If you spend enough time around entrepreneurs, coaches, and the aspiring giants of a far-flung future, you will hear about “choosing positivity.” It’s a philosophy I put little stock in, this idea that you force your emotions into happiness, that you craft positivity and use this ramshackle shelter to buffer yourself against the trials of the world.
Megan tells me she tries to do something everyday that makes her smile. You can see it sitting across from her. That smile is infectious, it truly is. She carries within her thousands of little things she has done to make her smile. Not empty words or affirmations, but a thousand little memories that remind her of her greatest defense, her smile.
As I drive away from our meeting, I am reminded of the hundreds of other people who have slipped from my life without a hello. I think of all of the trials I have had to face, of all of the wisdom I could have learned and, far more importantly, of the friendships I left on the side of the road on my way to a far-flung future of my own understanding.
The most remarkable thing about Megan, if I were forced to pick just one, is not that she will do amazing things. For her what you and I might consider amazing is already on her path. No it is the smile she will carry on her way to those things, the fact that in her eyes, in her smile, and in her acts you can see she will not only change the world, but she will be happy, sacrificing nothing of her joy, on the way to a path.
Megan knows her purpose, and she follows it with a smile.,