I went to a school where familiar American families in those circles etched their names into the ground. Rockerfellers, Kennedys, Carnaegies all on tablets next to buildings overtaken by a mossy green my mother told me was there on purpose.

Why someone would let moss grow that high or why people would pay big money for me to step on their name was beyond me. I had never seen my family’s name carved into anything. And while I knew we missed the boat on becoming steel or oil barons, as a know it all sixth grader, I made a mental note that if I ever got our family name carved on anything that it not be walked over with filthy JV soccer feet. Not at all.

Somewhere around senior year it hit me that the names in the stone had laid a reminder, unavoidably tying my experience to theirs. It also made me realize how often when we hear people speak about being the head and not the tail, that we often confuse placement with influence.

Like any twenty something with a real life and real struggles, I’ve gone through some real humbling times. I know what it is like to feel like my placement wasn’t exactly right. And I know I’m not the only one. You can relate: when it feels like when you are being walked over, stepped on with muddy cleats. And while you know your name is a good one, it’s the constant trampling, the constant feeling of flat heel soles, it’s enough to make you reconsider the whole being humble thing entirely.

But placement isn’t influence. Where you are is not a limit on what you mean. Though you may feel frustrated with being the support for others, you’re humility is a sign of unbelievable strength. Don’t think that has gone unnoticed, don’t think others haven’t taken note. Everyday with every hard earned carving, you are solidifying your legacy here. You may feel like only a part of the pavement, but your name won’t be forgotten.

Today, remain humble even when it seems not to pay. Your meekness is not weakness, it is the foundation of great things to come.

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