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The Stinky Man Story: How I Am Growing into a Global Leader

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Some years ago, I boarded a commuter train in Queens on my way to Suffolk County, Long Island. It is late evening on a spring weekday, and the train is almost empty. I take the first seat on the left.

I open a book and settle in for a 45-minute ride.

Within 10 minutes, the train stops at the next town. I glance up and see a tall, disheveled man. The stench of alcohol and body odor hits me. His pants and shirt are ripped and dirty.

I think, “Please don’t sit by me.”

As he walks into the car, I again think, “Please don’t sit by me.” I push the book up to my face.

The man promptly sits in a jump-seat in front of me.

I think, “Please don’t talk to me. Please don’t talk to me.”

“What’s your name?” he asks.

Annoyed and scared, I ignore him.

“What’s your name?” he asks again.

I sigh. “My name’s Laura.” I stare at my book.

“And what do you do for work?” he asks.

I sigh. Why won’t he leave me alone?

“I’m a management consultant. I help companies find money, grow, and work better,” I reply, and return to my book.

There is a long pause.

“Well, that’s interesting,” he says. “Tell me, how do you reconcile that with the fact that you’re a humanitarian and philanthropist?”

What? Who does this guy think he is? Still, every part of my being is saying: Listen! This is important! He sees THE REAL YOU!

At the next stop, the man hops up and walks to the exit. He turns and says, “Just remember, you’re only the messenger.”

Since then, I have nurtured the development of World Ambassadors, an initiative that envisions being both “management” and “humanitarian.” We are promoting a vision of Goodwill in Every Interaction.

To me, being a Global Leader and Global Citizen means living our potential. When we do, we awaken a universal spirit alive in each of us. This connection allows everybody to make a lasting impact and uplift humanity.

Each person holds the potential to transform our planet into a place of happiness, harmony, and beauty. It is essential that we experience these qualities in ourselves. Then, we can create them in our outer world.

The first step is to be open. Our daily lives are filled with teachers and reflections of ourselves—even a stinky stranger to guide our way.

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