Meet Jelena from Serbia.
The one word that best describes Jelena's life today is "Amazing." The reason why Jelena chose this word is because of the beautiful coastline of Laguna Beach.
If Jelena could change one thing in the world, she would "Want everyone in the world to speak one language." The way she would go about making this change is through education.
One year from today, Jelena would like for her college tennis team to win the NCAA title for women's tennis. And remain healthy and happy along the way.
If Jelena's life were a movie, it would be about her pursuit of a tennis career and living on her own at the age of 15 where she had to take care of herself. The title of her movie would be called "On My Own."
I met Jelena and her teammates as they were standing on the waters edge on Main Beach in front of the Hotel Laguna.
Out of the three girls, Jelena was the least interested in answering my questions but she warmed up after awhile and seemed to have fun engaging in our group conversation.
Jelena shared with me the challenges of growing up playing tennis without her parents by her side and how so many kids take for granted their parents who wait on their kids hand and foot. We talked about the sacrifices she's made and at times how lonely and difficult it is being on her own.
She has given up a lot to pursue her dreams as a tennis player and is fortunate to playing for the
University of Portland as a sophomore. You can see Jelena's player profile here.
I love this picture of Jelena because the entire time we were talking, she had her hands in her pockets and looked so relaxed and cool. When it came time to take her photograph, I asked her to keep her hands in her pockets and her friends laughed because she almost always walks around looking like this. So classic!
Thanks Jelena for giving in and allowing me to hear your story and share it with our community. I wish you all the best this next year and the years ahead as you pursue your professional tennis career. I'll be following along hoping to see you in a Grand Slam final!
Meet Lucia from Slovakia.
The one word that best describes Lucia's life today is "Magical." The reason why Lucia chose this word is because she loves the ocean and is enjoying her first visit to Laguna Beach.
If Lucia could change one thing in the world, she would "Want there to be equality among countries." The way she would go about making this change is through conversation to inform and educate people about the specific problems and challenges countries are facing.
One year from today, Lucia would like for her college tennis team to win the NCAA title for women's tennis. And remain healthy and happy along the way.
If Lucia's life were a movie, it would be about a small country girl making her way to the biggest cities around the world pursuing her passion and dream of becoming a professional tennis player. The title of her movie would be called "Around The World."
I met Lucia and her teammates as they were standing on the waters edge on Main Beach in front of the Hotel Laguna.
When I approached the three girls and asked if they would like to participate in our project, they all pointed to Lucia. At first, they didn't seem to interested until I showed them our blog and let them know what the questions were which they started answering and the rest is history.
I learned that Lucia has been playing tennis at a very early age and was on the women's professional tennis circuit. Lucia is a sophomore and received a scholarship to play at University of Portland where she hopes to have a great season.
When talking about equality among countries, Lucia shared with me how the smaller countries like Slovakia, do not get the same privileges or resources as their neighboring larger countries and this is frustrating and unfair.
It sounded like Lucia has played the Grand Slam tournaments as a junior and has a dream of playing them after she graduates from college. She will be another up and coming tennis player I'll be following. You can see Lucia's profile here.
Thanks Lucia for leading the way for your friends to participate in our one person a day project. And here's to a great season of tennis!
Meet Amanda from Anaheim Hills, CA.
The one word that best describes Amanda's life today is "Bliss." The reason why Amanda chose this word is because she is enjoying a relaxing time on the beach with her friends.
If Amanda could change one thing in the world, she would "Want college to be free for everyone." The way she would go about making this change is by voicing her opinions, educate and collaborate with like minded people who share this vision and have the influence and resources to make this change.
One year from today, Amanda would like for her college tennis team to win the NCAA title for women's tennis. And remain healthy and happy along the way.
If Amanda's life were a movie, it would be about the dedication, sacrifice and hard work playing tennis at a young age and a high level of competition. Her story would give an insight to the pressure of performing on the court and working through adversity. The title of her movie would be called "Working Through Adversity."
I met Amanda and her teammates as they were standing on the waters edge on Main Beach in front of the Hotel Laguna.
Amanda shared with me the ups and downs of playing competitive tennis at such an early age and the struggles and sacrifices her family made so that she could pursue her dream. Amanda is a Freshman in college and plays tennis for the University of Portland.
Amanda is soft spoken, very bright and loves to read. I know this because her friends were looking to her for answers to some of the questions and she had some great answers. Who knows, maybe Amanda will send me her notes after reading this and give me recommendations to make this story jump off the page!
When I first saw Amanda, she was holding onto what I thought was a rug she must have just purchased in town. I had to laugh at myself because it turns out that it was her beach mat to sit on with her friends. Sometimes I can be clueless when it comes to my observations.
I am a huge tennis fan and told Amanda that I will be following her career and cheering her on. You can check out Amanda's player profile from school here.
Good luck Amanda as you pursue your tennis dreams!
Meet Fabio from Brazil.
The one word that best describes Fabio's life today is "Awesome." The reason why Fabio chose this word is because he is enjoying the beauty of Laguna Beach.
If Fabio could change one thing in the world, he is still thinking about it.
One year from today, Fabio would like to have traveled to many different countries around the globe.
If Fabio's life were a movie, it would be about his travels around the world experiencing new people, new cultures and creating new experiences. The title of Fabio's movie would be called "The World According To Fabio."
I met Fabio as he was walking along the beach this morning and we walked and talked for a brief five minutes before posing for this photo.
We didn't have a long conversation but I could just tell that Fabio has a warm heart a loves people. He was very friendly and sensitive to my questions.
He wasn't sure about the change he wants to make in the world, I believe he needed more time and didn't want to just say anything. He seems contemplative and introspective which is probably the reason he didn't answer the questions.
I would love to hear the change he wants to make in the world and how he would go about making the change. Fabio, if you are reading this, it would be great for you to send me your answer to the question so I can share your thoughts with our community and add it to your story.
I'll be waiting to hear from you.
Meet Giovanni from Brazil.
The one word that best describes Giovanni's life today is "Opportunity." The reason Giovanni chose this word is because he is considering an opportunity to live abroad.
If Giovanni could change one thing in the world, he would "Want there to be equality among all people so they have equal opportunities." The way he would go about making this change is by helping to see the opportunities around them.
One year from today Giovanni would like to graduate from college and become a civil engineer.
If Giovanni's life were a movie, it would be about enjoying life, being happy and making good things happen. The title of his movie would be called "Be Happy."
I met Giovanni as he was walking along the beach on his way to meet friends, so our conversation was short and sweet.
Giovanni is very positive and optimistic about life. He is the kind of person you want to be around when you want a pick me up or just want to feel good about life!
I loved hearing about how Giovanni will change the world by helping people to see the opportunities around them. He is a glass half full person who is also an idealist. If we had more time to talk, I would have asked him to share with me who influenced him growing up to help shape his worldview.
Brazil isn't the wealthiest country in the world, yet despite his upbringing, Giovanni has a perspective that I've grown to appreciate from the younger generation. Thanks Giovanni for the quick chat and sharing your optimism with our community.
Meet Lisbeth a college student at UCI originally from San Diego, CA.
The one word that best describes Lisbeth's life today is "Driving." Lisbeth chose this word for two reasons, #1 she literally drove her friends to the beach and #2 she is driving to get things done.
If Lisbeth could change one thing in the world, she would "Want more people to exercise their power in the world." The way she would go about making this change is by encouraging people they have the power to be the change they want to see in the world.
One year from today, Lisbeth would like to be doing something different, like leaving California and studying abroad in Washington DC.
If Lisbeth's life were a movie, it would be about her strong character that drives her deep in the core to ask questions and get the answers to her questions. The title of her movie would be called "SHE" and the subtitle would be called "Is."
I met Lisbeth along with her college friends as they had just sat down on the rocks at Brooks St. as the sun was setting.
Lisbeth is a woman of few words but when she spoke, she spoke with power and authority! She is very determined and focused on what she wants to do with her life. Our conversation was matter a fact and to the point which I suits my style of conversation.
While we were talking, Lisbeth didn't beat around the bush or leave me guessing what she was thinking. Her friends laughed when she said "Driving" was her one word to describe her life today. They said "her word has many meanings" which I interpreted that Lisbeth is a highly motivated person!
I have no doubt that Lisbeth will be exercising her power to make a change in the world. And I hope she moves to Washington DC to make a difference in our government because I would most definitely put my trust in her as a leader of our country.
Look out world because SHE IS a woman to be recognized and revered as a future leader!
Meet Sarai a student at UCI from Victorville, CA.
The one word that best describes Sarai's life today is "Fluid." The reason Sarai chose this word is because she is uncertain of her life and is seeking validation.
If Sarai could change one thing in the world, she would "End apathy and willful ignorance." The way she would go about making this change is to create awareness about important issues.
One year from today, Sarai would like to be on solid ground knowing who she is.
If Sarai's life were a movie, it would be about meeting new people, making new friends and growing as a person. The title of her movie would be called "#NoRagrets" and the subtitle would be called "Finding Home."
I met Sarai along with her college friends as they were embracing the moment as the sun was setting.
Sarai is a very confident young lady who is bold and courageous in her communication. She shared her thoughts with such transparency and honesty. I can see how her movie would be about friends because she and her friends were acting as if they were family.
There were many topics we discussed during our conversation and the one that struck a chord with me was Sarai's desire to end apathy. She has experienced many challenges as a young college student which have helped to shape her views about how people are treated.
I love the title of her movie because it reflects her generation using a hash tag and spelling no regrets with her interpretation spelled "No Ragrets." There is a story that goes along with this title that will have to wait for another time.
Most importantly, Sarai is on a journey of discovery to better understand who she is without having any regrets. The fact that Sarai recognizes she is uncertain about her life shows that as long as she continues to search for meaning and not give up, she will find what she is looking for!
Keep your eyes wide open as you search for solid ground.
Meet Brenda, a student at UCI, from Burbank, CA.
The one word that best describes Brenda's life today is "Crossroad." The reason why she chose this word is because she is trying to decide between staying in school or pursuing an acting career.
If Brenda could change one thing in the world, she would "Want people to be more understanding of each other and imagine what it would be like to live a day in their life." The way she will go about making this change is to ask meaningful questions and set aside any judgements or presuppositions.
One year from today, Brenda would like to have changed a person life!
If Brenda's life were a movie, it would be about a person who searched, found and accepted herself while following her own path doing things her own way. The title of her movie would be called "Being the Northern Star" and the subtitle would be called "Forging My Place In The World."
I met Brenda and her amazing friends while they were sitting on the rocks watching the sunset.
Brenda is going to school to become a nurse as a physicians assistant to take care of children. She is wrestling with continuing school or pursuing an acting career.
I was taken aback when I heard her reason for wanting to become an actor. It wasn't because she wanted to be famous, it is because she wants to create a name and a platform to help others and pay forward her success.
Brenda is introspective and has had influential teachers who helped shape her worldview. Before I knew she was pursuing nursing I thought she might be pursuing a career in psychology because of her desire to help people to understand themselves and others.
Nevertheless, I believe whatever Brenda decides to do with her life, she will change many peoples lives. Thanks Brenda for helping me to understand you a little better and for giving me the perspective to live a day in your life.
Meet Jose and Amy from Aliso Viejo, CA.
The one word that best describes Jose and Amy's life today is "Blessed." They chose this word because they have a strong faith in God.
If Jose and Amy could change one thing in the world, they would "Want world peace." The way they would go about making this change is by loving their neighbors and living by the golden rule "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
One year from today, Jose would like to be retired and dedicate his time to helping others.
If Jose and Amy's life were a movie, it would be about their pursuit of true happiness and true contentment as they are helping others along the way. The title of their movie would be called "True Happiness" and the subtitle would be called "The Pursuit of True Contentment."
I met Jose and Amy as they were watching the sunset with Jose's brother and wife at Brooks St.
At first, they seemed uninterested in being interviewed but after a few minutes they agreed and we had a good conversation about creation and the creator. Jose and Amy value people and relationships based on their relationship with God.
Their pursuit of true happiness and true contentment is based upon their faith in God. We talked about "True North" being a fixed and focused direction where as "Magnetic North" is flexible and not always a straight path.
I've met several people this year with many different religious backgrounds and beliefs, and it's been fascinating to hear the common denominator. "Live by the golden rule" as Jose and Amy said "love your neighbors and do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It sounds so simple.
I believe every human being has been created to love and be loved. To be kind and kindness given back.
This belief has proven true many times over this year as I've engaged in now 348 days of meeting one new person a day spreading a little love and kindness as it comes full circle.
May you continue on your pursuit of true happiness and true contentment Jose and Amy!
Meet Luka originally from Slovenia, now living in Seattle, WA.
The one word best describes Luka's life today is "Expanding." The reason Luka chose this word is because he believes life is all about expanding and growing.
If Luka could change one thing in the world, he would "Want people to feel empowered to take control of their lives." The way he would go about making this change is by helping one person at a time to create a new story of their life.
One year from today, Luka would like to impact 150 lives and expand his business Vigor Ground Fitness to over 400 members.
If Luka's life were a movie, it would be about a man who left socialism in search of significance that led him to claiming his life after owning the lessons he learned along the way. The title of his move would be called "Rise Of The Warrior King" and the subtitle would be called "Claim Your Crown."
I met Luka this afternoon as he was sitting on the rocks reading and writing in his journal. I recognized Luka's wristbands and shirt "Wake Up Warrior" which I've been seeing around town for the past year. I've met a few guys from Wake Up Warrior and have been learning about their mission to "change the game and change the world...ONE MAN AT A TIME."
Luka is a passionate man who is intensely and intentionally making a difference in the world. Luka communicates with authenticity and transparency. He shared with me his appreciation for the men in his life who challenge and inspire him to be the best he can be. These Band of Brothers travel from all parts of the country on a quarterly basis to learn and grow together.
We talked about the sacrifices it takes to live a life of significance and the satisfaction that comes from lives being transformed! Luka is a big guy with big ideas and big dreams! He is on a mission to change the world and begins with changing himself first and then work on changing one person at a time.
Luka has positioned himself within the health and fitness world through his business Vigor Ground Fitness in Seattle, WA. It's through his hard work and dedication to training his mind and body that has contributed to his success.
The theme of "The Value of People" continues to grow stronger and stronger as we draw closer to Day 365. This past week, I've met some of the most amazing people who are committed to showing people how much they value them as they are making a difference in the world!
Keep up the incredible work Luka, you are a leader worth following!