They’ve inspired me.
Believed in me.
Cheered me on.
They’ve made a difference in my life.
Today and everyday, I am thankful.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact
It’s Thanksgiving today, one of my all-time favorite holidays.
I love everything about it. The traditional early morning 5K Turkey Trot, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the football games, the smell of turkey throughout the house, and the smorgasbord of desserts.
While I love everything I just mentioned, the one thing I do every year that is my absolute favorite, is to give thought and thanks for all the people whose paths I have been fortunate enough to cross.
* People who’ve raised me, laughed with me, cried with me, believed in me, intimidated me, and refused to let me give up or settle.
* People who’ve taught me what it means to be a man, a friend, an entrepreneur.
* People who’ve taught me respect, humility, hard work, and service.
* People who have shaped and influenced me throughout the years.
Today, I pay tribute to these people, by mentioning them here along with a short story of how they’ve impacted my life.
Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or cup of cocoa and get comfy. This is one of my longer posts, but for good reason.
20 People I Am Thankful For
Kristen is my girlfriend. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, loves to travel, cook, drink wine, watch football…. seriously, right? More than anything, she’s the sweetest person I know who has this amazing ability to calm me, not quite sure how she does it, but she does.She supports all my crazy ideas, and as bad of a day as I may be having sometimes, her smile always makes things better. I’m a lucky man.
My mom has taught me what it means to give selflessly to others, to serve and sacrifice, so that others may gain and benefit. She’s taught me love and compassion. She refused to let the fact that I couldn’t afford to go to college stop me from going. Somehow, someway, she made it happen for me. She loved my dad and taught me what it meant to be committed. I struck gold with my mom.
My dad taught me to be a man, responsible, respectful, humble, work hard, providing for family and friends, even if it meant personally going without. He never told me what to do or how to live; he lived and I watched. He was one of my biggest supporters, ready to mortgage the house if need be to fund my business ideas. He believed in me and I am grateful.
My 3 Sisters
My three best friends. There is no one I laugh more with than my sisters. We talk about everything and anything. I cherish the memories we have together as kids. Growing up with three sisters wasn’t always easy, but it definitely gave me a better understanding about girls, how they act, what they think, and what they mean (if that’s possible). 🙂 They’ve always supported me and my decisions. I’d be fortunate to have just one of them but lucky me, I got three.
My grandma raised me. She’d walk me to school every single day, cook for me, had special treats waiting for me when I got home from school. At 90 years old, she’s still every bit the jokester she’s always been – laughing, dancing, and singing. The only way I was able to go to college was because my grandma helped me and paid for my expenses, including student loans, rent, and food. My grandma is an amazing woman; selfless, loving, caring, and always giving. I am forever grateful.
My grandpa was my best friend growing up. He taught me everything from how to ride a bike, to plant a garden, to playing cards. His patience always amazed me. He didn’t say much but whenever he did, it was meaningful. He was a man of his word. He was an entrepreneur and investor. He too believed in me and supported me, in every way possible. He was my hero growing up, he still is.
Barbara was one of my very first personal training clients when I first moved to San Diego in 2000. She was awesome! During one of our training sessions she looked at me and said, “you’re too good to be working for someone else”. She suggested I start my own business and gave me a book as a gift, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I read it cover to cover. I would never be the same. Hundreds of books, clients, and a successful business later, she changed my life forever.
Jack was another personal training client of mine. He always came in with a big smile on his face and would say to me, “Mike, in order to be successful, you must plan your work, work your plan”. Words I still adhere to today. He taught me the importance of not just saying what I wanted, but putting a plan in place to make it happen. He also introduced me to SCORE, a nonprofit association made up of volunteers dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground through education and mentorship at no charge. The guidance and support they provided was instrumental in me creating my business.
Jay, as I call her, is a good college friend of mine. She was one of five roommates I had senior year. There was five guys, and then Jay. Brave girl. Freshman year, we both ran for class president. Jay won. I asked for a recount but didn’t get one. 🙂 During my sophomore year, I couldn’t afford to buy books for class, Jay, without thinking twice, lent me the money. Her only words, “pay me back whenever”. In the words of Maya Angelou, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. It’s been 20 years since and I haven’t forgotten.
Ben is another college buddy of mine. Our senior year, Ben and I, along with two of our other friends, decided to drive from Maine to Key West, Florida for Spring Break. Memories I will never forget. After college, life took us in separate directions. I headed to San Diego, Ben to Ireland. After many years, we both ended up back in Boston and reconnected. It’s Ben who created The Wellness Bucket logo for me, along with shirts, business cards, bracelets, and lots more. He is ridiculously talented. His friendship, work, and commitment to his family and friends is special. I’m fortunate and thankful to call him a friend.
Troy is one of the nicest, most sincere guys you’ll ever meet. I met him earlier this year at World Domination Summit. When I first created my Motivational Monday Message series, he suggested I create an intro for the videos with my logo and music. Unfortunately I didn’t have the funds to invest in such a project. Troy decided to create it for me anyways. I was and still am overwhelmed with gratitude. Troy and his wife Dorene just recently sold all of their possessions and are about to go travel the world beginning in Jan 2015. How awesome is that!
I first met Chirag 6 years ago after one of my biggest business failures that cost me $20,000. It was during a conversation with a colleague of mine that he suggested I reach out to Chirag. My previous failure had me timid and skeptical before even calling but I called him anyways. Best decision I’ve ever made. Chirag is a genius when it comes to web development who always delivers on what he promises, gives more than expected, and for someone like me who struggles with understanding technology, he’s taught me more than I even realized I could. He’s become one of my very good friends.
I first met Jaime at a physical therapy clinic I worked at right after grad school. I accepted the job which was three hours away from family so that I could live closer to my girlfriend at the time. Just a few months later, she dumped me. I was sad, miserable, mopping around, and did nothing but work to keep my mind occupied. Jaime wasn’t having it. She began inviting me out with her and her friends. Even when I said no, she would show up at my door step and drag me out with them. Her friendship and concern for me at such a shitty time in my life is something I will never forget and will always be thankful for. She’s one of a kind.
Ben is a college buddy of mine. When I first decided to move to San Diego, I asked Ben if he wanted to move with me. He told me he needed time to think about it. He called me less than an hour later and said, “I’m in”. Our drive across country was a fun and memorable one, especially Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Those first few years living in San Diego with Ben are some of the most fun and memorable years of my life. I’ve always wished I had a brother and with Ben, I feel like I do.
I first discovered Sean Ogle a few years ago. He’s a lifestyle entrepreneur and in case you’re wondering what the heck that means, it means he’s created an online business for himself that allows him to travel and work from anywhere in the world he chooses. I had the pleasure of meeting him this past July at World Domination Summit. The help, guidance, and support he continues to provide me with as I build and develop The Wellness Bucket is incredible. Not only is he a smart dude, he’s super cool and genuine too. He’s become both a friend and a mentor to me.
I came across Scott and his work a few years ago when I was online searching for ways to be able to do work that I loved, that inspired me. His Live Your Legend community is filled with people from all over the world working together, helping and supporting each other to build and create the work it is that they can’t not do. I took Scott’s Connect With Anyone course earlier this year. Game changer. His support, advice, and friendship has meant more to me than I can put into words. I got the chance to meet and spend time with him as well at World Domination Summit. He’s the real deal, a class act, who speaks from the heart. People like Scott are rare and I’m honored to call him a friend.
I got the opportunity to meet and work with Leah earlier this year as part of a mastermind group I was part of. We quickly became friends. There’s a particular conversation I remember having with her where she was able to flip a switch in me, triggering feelings that I was good enough, smart enough, and worthy of success. That I was further along than I realized and gave myself credit for. Feelings I had never felt before. I’m not exactly sure what or how she did it, all I know is that she did and I’m so darn grateful to her for it. She’s an incredible person and a one of a kind friend.
During junior high, I was part of a Catholic Youth Group. Due to some events that occurred where a buddy of mine and I got in trouble, the youth group counselors, including Mrs Pappas, held a meeting after getting word of this. By no means was I a punk during that time in the sense that I stole stuff or defaced property. I did though enjoy goofing off and making others laugh. After the meeting, all the counselors were in favor of kicking me out of the youth group except for Mrs. Pappas. She stood up for me and suggested they work with me, believe in me, and give me more responsibility, to which they all agreed. That day changed my life. I am grateful for Mrs. Pappas. I’d like to think I’ve made her proud.
Brian was the Head Athletic Trainer at The University of New England where I attended college and was enrolled in their athletic training program. He was intimidating, well spoken, confident, very articulate, and the smartest person I had ever met. He taught me to question everything I studied, to understand the why, to be confident with my decisions, to dress and speak professionally, to hold myself to a higher standard. I admired his confidence, knowledge, and teaching methods. He was tough on me, although looking back, I understand his why. He didn’t want mediocrity from me, he wanted my very best. One of the best mentors I have ever had.
I had Al as a professor for several classes during my years at The University of New England. He also provided career counseling to students and immersed himself in student life every chance he got. If there was a big party going on, you could be sure Al would be there. The students loved him, I loved him. He helped me tremendously during some very difficult times. He calls me every single year on my birthday to wish me a Happy Birthday. He’s never missed a year. Al’s loyalty to his friends, his humility, and commitment to help and serve others inspires me to be more and do more. I’m a better person because of him and I am grateful for his friendship.
What one person has impacted your life and how? Please share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. I would love to know all about it.
In everything, give thanks.