Written by: Dillon Muhlenkamp SLA Summer 2022 Intern
Have you ever been struggling to know if what you’re doing is all worth it? I was recently struggling with this as a county fair board member but for me, all it took was one thing.
A Shining Smile
For me, one shining smile was all I needed to know it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears I had poured into the county fair. The best part was that that smile was over a simple yardstick. I was giving away free commemorative 150th Anniversary yardsticks to fairgoers as a thanks for them coming to the fair that year. I was passing them out in one of our buildings where a small business event was happening. As a business owner approached, I offered her a yardstick. She responded with the biggest smile and thank you I had received all day, and all week on top of that. I could see the twinkle in her eyes as she gleamed with excitement over a simple yardstick. That shining smile was enough for me to know that my week of work was worth it for the community.
It also taught me a valuable lesson that day, to look for the smile in the simple things. Sometimes as leaders we get so swept up in the numbers and success. Did we make money on this event or this quarter? What are our reviews like? What are our next steps? We need to be able to slow down and enjoy the simple things. Look for those smiles and have genuine conversations with people. They are the ones we have the most to learn from.
And at the end of the day, find that Shining Smile in your life!
Dillon Muhlenkamp was Shafer Leadership Academy’s summer 2022 intern. His supervisor, Eilis Wassermann shared that, “Dillon’s maturity, work ethic, wisdom for a young professional is extraordinary. He is a wonderful role model for young leaders.”
Dillon is currently a Senior at Purdue University studying Agricultural Education. Dillon is from Bryant, Indiana where he enjoys spending time with his family. He helps on the family farm where they grow corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, and turkeys. When not on the farm or studying for school he enjoys his involvement with the Purdue Grand Prix Foundation, Indiana Farm Bureau, as well as serving on the Jay County Fair Board. Dillon plans on returning to life in Jay County to farm with his family and teach High School agriculture in the local area. In his spare time he enjoys reading and spending time with his family.