Attitude of Gratitude: Day 13

Years ago, Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden was walking toward his gate at Pittsburgh International Airport when he caught sight of Bill Cowher, then the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Jeff’s first inclination was to go up and shake Cowher’s hand, but he wavered for a moment because he thought most everybody wanted Cowher’s time and he likely didn’t want to be bothered.

But he decided to approach Cowher anyway. The iconic coach was with his wife, Kaye Cowher, who died in 2010.

“I will never forget that moment,” he said. “Bill Cowher stopped and turned toward me, and his wife engaged in the conversation. They probably gave me 20 seconds, and 20 seconds is a long time. I introduced myself and told him I was a big fan. He looked me in the eye. His wife smiled, but I remember him smiling and saying, ‘thank you.’”

Day 13 of the “Attitude of Gratitude” series is all about exposing the truth, and how the little things will hold you accountable.

Jeff recorded this episode of The BOOM Podcast in Reno, where he was the keynote speaker for one of the regional Student Council (STUCO) conferences in Nevada.

He arrived early at the hosting high school, got set up for the event, and met the principal.

“I went to shake his hand,” he said. “It was a good handshake, but he gave me that ‘looking away’ handshake.”

This moment turned into a later defining conversation between Jeff and the principal.

“I asked the principal if there was anything he wanted me to share in my message, and he was telling me about social media and first impressions.”

Obviously, the door was wide-open for Jeff to bring up his earlier first-impression – that handshake.

“I took a great risk, but I tried to be tactful,” he said. “I explained the handshake we had, and I explained to him exactly what he did. He didn’t realize he had done that.”

The point is this:

‘I know you’re busy. I’m busy too. I know we’re grinding so hard every single day and that sometimes we need stop and be present.”

Jeff recalled a similar moment when a young man bought one of his books after a school presentation a while back.

“Apparently, I didn’t acknowledge him – and I remember getting an email from him, just blasting me. I reached out to the school and to the advisor of this young student. I tried to do everything I could. I sent books, t-shirts, posters, pictures. That young man wanted nothing to do with me because of that one moment.”

According to Jeff, sometimes that first impression is a lasting impression.

Always remember that a little kindness and common courtesy go a long way.

“My moment of gratitude today is recognizing that it’s the little things every single day.”

Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker. Go HERE.

Check out Jeff’s new nonprofit, THE JEFF YALDEN FOUNDATION.

Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289.

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Author:Roger Yale

Roger Yale is a longtime contributor to McClatchy Newspapers’ The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, focusing on stories about the people who make the Grand Strand awesome, including teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden. He was voted Story of the Year winner four times by readers of The Sun News’ sister publication, Weekly Surge. Roger is the parent of adult twins. His son is a United States Marine and his daughter is currently involved in marketing for Broadway productions in New York City. He spent many years as a single father, and he believes that the experience was something to relish – and the bond he forged with his twins remains strong. Roger is also a working musician. For more about Roger, visit his blog: www.rogeryale.wordpress.com

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