What Makes You, You?
This article is a roadmap through my mind. So buckle up…
The entire situation in Afghanistan is extremely depressing and upsetting. The news media and comments on social media harp on the billions of dollars and 20 years of bloodshed and tears that we suffered with no real tangible progress to speak of.
And while some of that remains true, as I believe we should have learned from past mistakes and other experiences in the region, the optimistic side of me is hopeful that what we accomplished by being there for 20 years is INFLUENCE.
Our soldiers and citizens provided a stopgap to the next generation of Afghani citizens whom they came into contact with over that 20-year timeframe. Introduction to new technology, women’s rights, movies, TV, art and global culture has a huge opportunity to INFLUENCE anyone it touches.
That brought me to the entire idea of INFLUENCE and how important it is to us as human beings. I would challenge everyone to take a moment to look at your life and think about who helped made you, you? Who has made a crucial influence in your life that set you on your course?
Below I listed who I model myself after and what makes me, me. Without these INFLUENCES, I would not be in the spot or the person I am today.
Family – I have my dad’s creativity, quick wit, drive for success and personality. I have my mom’s (and sister’s) empathy, thoughtfulness and ability to see other people’s perspective. Plus I learned a strong respect for women from my grandma!
Wife – I have a smart wife who is independent minded who doesn’t follow the pack and makes no excuses for being that way. That helped me be more comfortable in my own skin.
Kids – I want to be there for them and make them proud of me.
Friends – I have a great group of high school and college friends who keep me grounded and let me know when I get too annoying.
Co-Workers – every job I ever had there was a person who showed me something new. So whether that was cold-calling or Photoshop or business writing or faking it until you make it, I always was being influenced by someone. And now today, I am continually influenced by the people at my own company who have passion and strong ideas for a collaborative work environment.
Howard Stern - Howard has been a huge influence on my work ethic, speaking my mind and getting people to open up when feeling comfortable. Having him in the backdrop of my life for 30 plus years has been wildly influential.
Derek Jeter - #2 is probably my favorite athlete of all time. The way he just went about his business and didn’t get into any off-the-field issues and just was super modest. He is a hero for all players to emulate.
Denzel – Frank Lucas in American Gangster has some great advice – mainly the loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room. That changed my perspective on life. Lay a little lower. Be a little more modest. Don’t always be the center of attention.
Jay-Z – Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week. I live my life with that in mind and have a hustler’s spirit. Get stuff done!
So while this might be a longwinded way to get from the situation in Kabul to self-revelations, the core message is the same. INFLUENCE IS EVERYTHING. Who influenced you?