At 5'5", Marke Freeman's presence on stage at the Lincolnwood High School auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 30, wasn't overwhelming, but the former Lanphier and Northern Illinois University standout's presentation to the students in Raymond was certainly much larger than her stature.
As fluid and dynamic on the stage as she was on the court, Freeman spoke to the students for more than an hour about how to make the most out of life, overcome obstacles and become a success in life.
"How many of you are going to do extraordinary things?" she asked at the top of the presentation. "Everybody's hand should be up."
Freeman spoke about knowing that obstacles are what helps you stay successful and the concept of being able to self-reflect and correct.
She also spoke about the two approaches that people can have to life, being either a sparrow or a lion. The sparrows blame others, gives excuses and are bothered by things they can't control. They also miss opportunities for greatness. The lions control what they can and take ownership for their decisions, both good and bad.
Freeman also spoke about popularity versus having true value in life, extolling the virtues of being able to influence and enhance the lives of others and contribute to the betterment of society as a whole.
"Your value is not how many likes you have on social media, but it is determined by what you do for others," she said.
She also spoke about being careful about who you hang out with, saying that a study showed that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
Freeman said that when she was growing up in Springfield a time came where she had to leave friends behind because they may not have had her best interests at heart.
"People are either contributing or contaminating," she said. "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future."
She added that adversity is inevitable in life and that it can make or break you, but learning to fail forward and learn from mistakes is what is key. She said you either react or respond, adding that champions respond, using Simone Biles' story for evidence.
"Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners," she said. "The goal is to be the best version of yourself. You either win, or you learn."
Before ending the program, Freeman talked about greatness.
"Greatness is a daily choice. (It) is measured by how far you've come and who you have helped along the way," she said.
After the presentation, Freeman spoke with the Lincolnwood High School volleyball team, whose coach, Kimberly Denney, approached Principal Ken Schuester about bringing Freeman in to speak. The team had watched several videos with Freeman throughout the season during character building activities and relished the opportunity to talk to the young motivator.
Freeman also took time to talk to the first year Lincolnwood Junior High girls basketball team, who were practicing in the gym.
While Freeman's impact on the students was evident by the line of young ladies asking for pictures with her in the Lincolnwood gym, the impact of the Lancers on Freeman was also evident as she tweeted out a congratulatory post following their regional win that night.
For more information on Freeman, go to www.markefreemanmedia.com or www.maxoutfoundation.com.