Accomplishments in 2011
- Followed through with my promise to get the wheels moving on cheekswab. Sent emails, did research, eventually came in contact with the National Marrow Donor program.
- Completed the background check/training to be certified as a Level 2 Ambassador for the NMDP.
- Recruited donors at two official NMDP events: the health fair at Greater Little Zion Baptist Church in Fairfax, VA and at TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, DC in honor of Amit Gupta.
- Registered 70 total donors across two different drives as “Cheekswab”, at Vision of Peace Church in McLean, VA.
- Began development on the cheekswab.org official website.
Goals for 2012
- Register 300 new donors this year. Spread awareness and host more drives, and get in contact with people who can help with both ideas.
- FINISH THE WEBSITE. Use the website as a stepping stone to the previous goal. (Oh, it’s so, so close.)
Lessons from 2011
- Just do it. I did a lot of things this year, particularly cheekswab-related, that were momentarily inconvenient but I knew would be worthwhile in the long run. Even if they were uncomfortable and even if I had no idea what I was doing, I just did them anyway. I’ve learned that the activation energy to anything is enormous. The key to overcome it is very simple — stop over-thinking things and just do it. You can think something through for the rest of your life, but it means nothing until you take the first step.
- Preparation = credibility. If you’re going to do something, and want people to believe in it, then deliver your best, always. Have pride in the quality of what you make, do and say. This encompasses everything from what you say in a public presentation to what you write in a seemingly inconsequential email. I am absolutely not in the camp of those people who vaguely consider what they’re going to say in a presentation without practicing it and then wing it in an attempt to make it feel “more natural.” If people give you the respect of 5-10 minutes of their undivided attention, respect them back by being absolutely sure that you’re telling them something of value.
- Don’t freak out. Piggy-backing the last item, prepare well, and then roll with the punches. Things won’t go 100% according to plan, and that’s okay. Control what you can (your individual readiness), and don’t freak out about what you can’t.
2012 will be an exciting year.