In keeping with my list of those that have influenced me most – and the lessons my influencers taught me – my Uncle Jack and Aunt Teri have to be on my list. My Uncle Jack was bigger than life. He was a lawyer in Miami and it was because of him I went to the University of Miami (which in itself was a big life changer and influencer). As loyal ‘Canes fan and Alumnae who gave passionately to the school, when he heard I wanted to go to Miami he called the Alumni office and I was able to get a personal tour of the school right away.
My Aunt Teri treated me like a daughter. Even with three children of her own (and a granddaughter), during my freshman year, she spent a day helping me move into my dorm when my parents were not there. They opened their heart and home, always inviting me to stay with them on the weekends and join them for Hurricane Football games. And they did it all without being asked.
I don’t know about you, but I know I have a hard time asking for help. So when someone offers it, I always have a sense of relief. The legacy both Jack, who passed away right after my senior year in college, and my lovely Aunt have left on me is the power of giving without being asked. Whether it is asking a new employee to lunch or offering to help a friend with babysitting and dinner, you never know if something you can do for others will change their life. Jack and Teri’s actions certainly changed mine and I will forever be influenced by their power of giving.
For most of my life I made the same again and again – I never understood the power of connections. I always thought I was “above office politics,” and did not realize that politics and networking are two completely different things. Going it alone served me fine in school and early in my career when I was trying to be the superstar, but in order to advance my career and business I needed to get out and meet the people.
Shannon Rodriquez is the ultimate connector and influenced my life and company at the perfect time. Most of my past two years have been spent writing, so it was second nature to just get behind my computer and not talk with another person for days. The legacy Shannon had left on me was to empower myself to get out and talk with people. And, perhaps most importantly, she taught me how to talk with others to connect, rather than sell. I used to get out to networking events and just hand out my business card left and right – and surprise, nothing happened. It was not until I stopped trying to sell myself and start enjoying the process of listening and supporting others that my business began to group.
Yes, it really does take a village to make a change – be that change in society, your community, or even your career. Shannon influenced me to go out there so I can find my village of connections.
100 Most Influential People: That bartender from Belize, when you know it’s love, you don’t need to ask.
About 15 years ago, before I met my husband, I went on something of a “spur of the moment” trip to Belize – it was the Dot.Com boom days! After having a glass of wine or two, I was talking to a very wise bartender. The bartender had an unforgettable sense of peace and wisdom about her, something of a sixth sense. The voodoo fortune teller in the movie the Pirate of the Caribbean reminds me of her.
Like other people who have influenced my life, she was only in it for a few hours, but she said something I will not forget. I asked her if my then ‘friend who was a boy’ loved me (I said I had a drink or two and was in my 20’s). Her answer: “Oh sweetie, when it is love you do not need to ask.” A few months later I met my husband and never needed to ask a bartender or anyone else if it was love. I knew it.
But my wise fortune telling bartender’s advice does not stop at love. In business and in life, when something is right, you just know. Whether it is a promotion, a career move, or just something you want to say but haven’t said yet, seeking someones approval may be a big indicator that you may want to rethink your next move. I firmly believe in asking for friend’s and loved one’s opinions, but if something does not seem right or you are second guessing before you even make a step, well, perhaps it is time to step in another direction. On the other hand, when you know something is right, well, it probably is.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day and of course, moms are on my list of my most influential people in my life. One taught me how to respect and be connected to the world.
Apple Tangora is my sister-in-law. Apple has taught my nephews how to respect the earth and she has made or attempted to make almost every type of food concoction from scratch (yes, starting from seeds). My family has never been close, but I think of Apple often when it comes to parenting, life, and, being more connected to the beauty of nature around me. Her connection to her children and husband (my brother) is truly grounded in all things good on the earth. And that is what has influenced me the most – tapping into all things good in the world. I have known Apple for about 10 years, and have heard her say about 2 mean things about anyone else. That is more than many people blog about before lunchtime. Whether it is what I put into my body or my kids or what I say to others, Apple has left her legacy by reminding me we are all connected to this world and with that connection I should respect everyone and everything around me. Sure, I still can’t handle a yoga class for more than 30 minutes, and yes, I still sweeten my drinks with sweeteners, and occasionally drop recycling in the trash (don’t let anyone in Boulder know). But Apple influenced me to kick my diet soda habit (usually), plant a garden for my kids, and try to recycle and reduce. And I think about doing yoga at least once a week. So, that is a start.
Inspired by Time Magazine’s Most Influential People, for 100 days my goal is to come up with the list of the most 100 influential people in my life, career, and family and thank each and every one of them.
To close out the list of teacher’s that most influenced my life, Mrs. Jones, my high school literacy teacher, ranks right up there. She influenced me with one swift action: being sent to the principal’s office. She sent me to the principal’s office one time. It was the only time I was there.
I would like to say that I learned something from my principal’s visit, but honestly I only remember walking to her office. But that in itself is a lesson – we learn the most from ourselves. My parents were disappointed and I am sure I did some sort of detention, but just as in work and life, having someone punish you is one thing – realizing you made a mistake and do not want to do it again is another.
So the lesson learned: sometimes we are our own best teachers. Whether I am proud with work I have done or disappointed when I gave less than my best, I know am personally accountable. And that is the best lesson anyone can learn.
For 100 days (or there about), my goal is to come up with the list of the most 100 influential people in my life, career, and family and remember why they left their mark on my life. Here is day two! I’ll keep honoring teachers on my own list of people who influenced me the most since it is teacher appreciation week.
Dr. Annabelle Nelson was my dissertation chair and faculty mentor throughout my PhD program. Annabelle has many wonderful qualities, but the one that influenced me the most was her ability to be present. Her personal and caring support inspired me (sometimes more, sometimes less) to focus on embracing what was happening right now, rather than worry about what would be happening down the road. As a very goal oriented person who wanted to get through the doctoral program as fast as I humanly could (and basically have the same laser like focus in most of my life), Annabelle demonstrated by example how it was possible to achieve success, but also enjoy the path to success. I have yet to fully master the art of being present – my mind often wonders towards my to do list when I should be focusing on what is happening – but like all goal oriented people I am trying harder each day. For example, I usually try to multitask a bit during my kids soccer practices, but yesterday I just sat and watched. No phone. No editing. I just watched my two boys play some pretty amazing soccer. And I loved every moment.
As a leader and coach, I try to remember that every day I have a chance to seize the moment, appreciate today, and live more fully. I may not be there yet, but I’ll keep on trying.
Who has influenced your life? If you could come up with your own 100 Most Influential People in YOUR life who would they be? What lessons have you learned and what legacy did they leave on your life?
I was reading the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People with admiration last week and began to think about what it means to influence our world and our future (or just our fashion and music!). What amazing things these people have accomplished – from researchers to politicians, from athletes to philanthropist. The list made me think of those most influential in my life – perhaps those people who aren’t famous sports starts, heir to the throne (although I do adore the future Queen Kate), or billionaires and celebrities. I wondered if I could come up with my own list of people that have influenced my life. Sure I could name 10 or 15, but what about 100?
For the next 100 days, my goal is to come up with the list of the most 100 influential people in my life, career, and family and thank each and every one of them. The influencers I have begun to think about helped me build confidence, created opportunities for person self-reflection, and most importantly, have left an impact and perhaps even a legacy with me and those I love.
Who would be on your 100 Most Influential People in Your Life?
I figured I would start with the teacher that influenced my life the most, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
Ms. Withers’ was my my 3rd grade teacher. She was also the first person to look into my eyes and tell me I could do anything. Many teachers in Catholic school tell you everything you can’t do, but she told me everything I could do. I have no idea what I thought I would be when I was in 3rd grade (perhaps an artist or a gymnast), but I remember the words and the message like they were yesterday.
The legacy she left with me was to not only tell my own children they can dream and be anything in the world, but to talk and support the same message with everyone. So often we confine ourselves to what is – rather than what could be. I have found the saddest and most confusing times in my life were when I stopped dreaming, perhaps even stopped caring. When do we stop telling ourselves that we can do or be anything? When do we stop dreaming? Some people have more self-confidence than one may think is humanly possible. But it is not just about confidence; it is about having a dream, a vision, and a purpose. That is how Ms. Withers influenced me – it just took about 30 years to realize it and thank her for the one sentence she said – you can be anything – so long ago.
As I watch my own children run into their schools with so much happiness and energy every morning, I often wonder which teacher will be most influential in their life. I hope the message they hear from their own teacher sticks with them just like Ms. Wither’s message stuck with me.
Who would be on your 100 Most Influential People in Your Life? I would love to hear about who would be on your 100 Most Influential People list.
I found out about the tragic bombings during the Boston Marathon while I was running on a treadmill in Switzerland, early Tuesday morning. The news was in German, and although I did not understand a word, it only took moments before my heart sank. Few words, in any language, could convey the heartbreak so many are feeling now.
During any endurance event, there are often tears, hope, and prayers. Right now, my prayers, tears, and hope go to all those impacted by these senseless and cowardly acts.
Yesterday I was a guest on the Experience Pros radio show, and co-hosts Eric Reamer & Angel Tuccy and I spoke about how often someone thinks a critical conversation will go so much worse than it really will. All that thinking about what could happen prevents us from actually making things happen.
This week I was guilty of thinking way to much about a mistake I made. A few days ago I was adding a few contacts to my LinkedIn profile, and was asked if I wanted to connect with my Gmail account. Without thinking I said yes, and within two seconds, all 1200 of my contacts I have made since I started using email, got an email from me asking to connect. I am now connected with my husband’s entire office (after adding them to my Gmail contact list while planning our annual Christmas party a few years ago) and people I met at conferences back in 2003. I reached out to every recruiter I have spoken with since college, friends from grad school and former swim teammates, and about everyone in between.
I got a few – “do I know you responses?”, to which I answered, “maybe, but my Gmail knows you quite well.” But overwhelmingly I was greeted with “wow, nice to hear from you.” I was also humbled by those who I may have burned bridges with who accepted my invitation. So first, a public thank you to everyone who graciously connected.
My LinkedIn mistake, which turned out just fine, made me think of all the mistakes I may have made in the past. And I realized that I often think way too much about all the possible negative outcomes rather than just try to make things better. Looking to the future and trying to make things better, rather than harping on the past, is something I could do much more often.
This does not me we (I) should try to not make mistakes or just talk and press buttons without thinking, but it does mean that sometimes just accepting the past and moving forward is the best thing to do. Well, that and read everything on the screen before pushing “okay, sure send out everything to everyone on the planet” is advice I plan to act on in the future.
I was thrilled to have the change to speak with Heather Hans on her show – the Heather Hans Show (great name!). Heather Hans is a healer of loving energy for the heart, mind, body, and soul. She is the most gracious, compassionate, and peaceful individual out there. We talk about leadership, being a leader in your own life, and finding your calling in life. Enjoy the interview and if you like it, check out Heather’s television show at heatherhans.com.