Published in


He asked me, ‘What should I focus on?’

More questions from my nephew

Image by the author using Canva

In my article, Role Models, I shared how one of my nephews emailed me a series of questions to answer — the first one asking about my roles models. I also shared how I was surprised by my answer.

His second question to me was,

What are a few important things I should focus on, be it academic, social, and/or spiritual, as I continue to grow and discover who I am and the impact I wish to make on the world?

In my email reply to him, I started with, “Bravo!” And as corny as that sounds, I felt a genuine sense of pride in him for being curious about these topics and having the courage to ask the question. And I felt honored that he respected me enough to ask for my input.

I shared with him that this kind of self-examination shows excellent leadership potential. And it’s the kind of exploration that great leaders do — throughout their lives.

I explained to him that leadership is about service. That average leaders mistakenly believe that their employees work for them. On the other hand, great leaders understand they work for their employees.

If his goal is to be impactful, I told him to focus on helping people.

Knowing that he is industrious, I explained that could mean simply volunteering to support social and community projects without getting paid. Or it can mean creating a product or service that helps people, either by solving a problem they have or making their lives just a little bit better. Either way works because you are impacting people’s lives.

Then I offered two BIG suggestions.

My first suggestion

My first suggestion was that he read voraciously. I shared with him that I’m a voracious reader. And to entice him further, I told him that reading could turn anyone into an ‘expert.

I shared with him that if he wanted to become an “expert” in something, all he needed to do was read about it for one hour every day, for six months.

Reading widely about one topic (i.e., studying) for one hour a day for six months equates to 180 hours of study on that single topic. That’s fifty percent more study time than is required for a Bachelor’s degree, and it’s three times as much study than is required for a Master’s degree.

Now I’m not staying the quality of study is the same. But compared to the average person, someone who spends six months learning about a single topic can be considered a nexpert, at a minimum.

I encouraged him to read widely. Branch out. Develop a diverse pallet. Read biographies, autobiographies, and various sorts of non-fiction on topics that interest him.

I suggested he subscribe to a few RSS feeds to reads information published through online publications.

My second suggestion

Not surprising to this community, my second big suggestion was that he write and keep a journal.

I touched on just a few of the benefits he would enjoy on his journey of self-discovery by keeping a journal. I encouraged him to do a little research; learn about journaling, and then decide for himself.

Like my answering his first question on role models, answering this second question was therapeutic for me because it caused me to pause and think about things of substance. Important things.

And I get a lot of satisfaction connecting with my nephew.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Greg Sweeney

Greg Sweeney


Leader. Futurist. Father. Veteran. I write mostly about the trends and issues facing the cyber ecosystem, leadership, and workforce strategies.