It was 6:30 am, four days after the date of my sixteenth birthday and I was approaching my destiny, the driving test. As I walked to the crimson red 2007 Kia Sportage I would be driving, I took a moment to breathe, calm my senses, and desperately try to lower my heart rate so I could hear myself think. I took one last deep breath as I approached the car, and finally, opened the door. In the passenger seat was the instructor. He was a man of about 45 years in age, African American, eloquent in stature and friendly in disposition. He gave me a pleasant smile as I sat nervously, hands sweating, in the small SUV. “Hello, my name is Kenneth.” he said energetically, yet professionally. He began to ask me questions about my life while performing several driving tasks. The questions baffled me, but moreover, I attempted to answer them.
Kenneth had me stop the car, in the midst of talking about my extra-curricular activities. He pondered a moment and closed his eyes, then looked at me and asked, “Sabrina, what moves you in life?” I stared at him, confused. He began again, “What moves your soul? What stirs your heart?” Now by this point I was completely startled and almost struck with shock. I thought to myself how Kenneth looked like Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty. “Well, Kenneth, I love…” He interrupted my sentence. “Love is only a subcategory of what stirs you in life. By speaking with you today, I believe you are an eloquent woman but knowing what moves you, Sabrina, is what you lack.” Through this entire conversation, the herd of ravaging wildebeests inside my heart finally slowed down, and finally, I could successfully hear myself think. Why in the world would a middle aged driving instructor be telling these words to a complete stranger? I was just an average teenager desperately wanting to achieve her dream of finally getting her license, and here I was experiencing something surreal and magnificent. The conversation was completely unexpected and Kenneth inspired me. I was stunned.
One month later, I attended the World Leadership Congress in Washington D.C at The George Washington University. As I walked in I noticed the striking words, “Empower, Lead, Excel.” I immediately thought of Kenneth. At the congress, I met people from different races, learned about different points of views and interacted with leaders from around the world. I took part in student panels, spoke on behalf of my group section, and worked tediously in community service projects. I thought to myself about the striking statement Kenneth had said, “What moves you?” Still baffled by this statement, I spent the week in Washington pondering and evaluating my experience with Kenneth. His honorable presence and benevolent smile were still present in my mind and his words were stamped clear in my head. It was at the World Leadership Congress in Washington D.C where I realized that what stirs my soul is passion. The three words, Empower, Lead and Excel, illustrate the motto by which I live my life. It is my passion for leadership, for community service, for my entire Hispanic race that enables my extreme determination and concentration in life.
Passion is a complex subject. It is something that resides deep within your soul and compels you to perform outstanding endeavors. Passion is the result of a burning desire sparking in the body, igniting a motivational fire. By this experience with Kenneth, the friendly driving instructor, I was fully empowered, I strongly began to lead by example, and I was impelled to excel, and I also successfully passed my driving test.
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