As I take time to reflect during Women’s History Month and I think about the people who have had the most influence on me – I don’t simply think of the women who have been a part of my life – I think of all the people in all facets of my life who have influenced me. It is an interesting reflection to consider who has impacted and influenced you as a career professional, as a mother, as a friend – from both a positive and not-so-positive perspective.
Through the journey of my life – the unexpected twists and turns, the fascinating people I have met, and the amazing opportunities I have been fortunate to have been afforded……it’s difficult to think about one or two people. My life is built from a series of people interaction puzzle pieces that make me who I am today. There are pieces of that puzzle that I can identify as key influencers.
You never know who has really had a significant impact until you take the time to stop, reflect, and think – really think about those who have influenced your journey. Sometimes those impacts are not what you thought they would be nor did they come from who you normally would identify.
1. My parents (discussed in an earlier blog): When I was young, my mother introduced me to the power of books and learning. My father shared with me the love, strategy, and commitment of sports and teamwork. My parents taught me the importance of a strong work ethic. Not by saying it, but by living it. Education, teamwork, and work ethic remain key strengths to this day.
2. Beth, my sister: An amazingly creative and energetic teacher, a yoga lover, a runner, and an amazing gardener. She is balanced, caring, and creative. She taught me the importance of being well-rounded and kind.
3. Tony, Margaret, and Nancy: The most amazing leaders I have ever worked for and with – they inspired me to be my best self. Demanding leaders but with an ability to lead from a place of inspiration, knowing the individual, and believing in the potential of others. These leaders taught me the power of positive thinking as well as the importance of communication and changed my whole way of looking at work. They all believed in me and afforded me the opportunity to be a true leader!
4. Sandra, my Executive and Life Coach: Her belief that of course I can and should do great things. She has always inspired me. She has a unique way of positioning my thoughts and beliefs that I am in fact amazing – at work, at home, and in life. During times in my life when I question my value, my purpose, or whether I measure up – I hear Sandra’s voice ….”you are good enough, you got this, go be awesome!”
5. My daughter: The first person who made me truly feel like a grown-up. So many lessons of life I have learned from her. Too countless to mention. Her greatest lesson for me has been all about perseverance. She has risen to the challenge so many times in her life and done so with humility and honesty. Great when you learn from your children!
6. My husband: One of the most natural leaders I have ever met. He has served to help me with my leadership throughout my career. He has supported my career in every way possible. Not to mention just a great guy and my best friend!
7. Operations Leaders: I had some leaders in my career who were bullies; mean and frankly disrespectful. I wish I had the courage back then to call out that behavior and more important to not have taken it personal. What I learned from these leaders was that I would never treat people that way. And today – I won’t tolerate being treated that way!
I am sure I could add to this list and it will likely change as I continue the journey of my life…..and pick up influencers along the way. The deep meaningful influencers will likely remain on my playbook of influence but will collect the small influence experiences throughout more of my life journey.
Such a great opportunity of important life lessons to both reflect on and to share….this is also a great mentoring moment perhaps. A way to play a role in the personal growth and success of our future leaders, wives, sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, and children.