Recently, I received a linkedin message from a woman that I worked with in the late 90s into 2000. Now keep in mind, we had not worked together in two decades nor had we even talked. I moved away from Chicago – so our paths just never crossed again. Yet upon seeing her name in my inbox, I instantly smiled. A rush of memories came back to me. Now, the purpose of her message was to acknowledge the book and the cool things I was doing that she appreciated. But I found myself wanting, almost needing to appreciate her.
When I thought about my interactions, I realized the impact she has had on my career and life. For example:
- She once told me that being late implies your time is more valuable than the person you are meeting. I truly hate being late to this day with the fear that I’m ever implying my time matters more.
- She was part of the team that collaborated together to create the first training for a client – a full “university” of content and delivery. I now realize that this training passion was influenced by the results of this project.
- She was open and inviting to me. She shared about her family and her life. I remember conversations balancing work with home.
- She was supportive when I struggled with situations. She called bs on me or others to help me move forward.
- She recognized me. She highlighted publicly things I was doing well both at the client and at our consulting company.
She may not even remember any of this but it stayed with me all these years. The interesting thing for me is that when I often recognize big influences in my life, I never mentioned her. She wasn’t my mentor. She wasn’t someone that remained in my life. Yet, when these memories rushed back, she absolutely was a big influence in my life. This got me thinking that yes, there are key individuals but there are probably numerous people throughout your journey that have helped you more than you recognize. In some ways, at the point that I am today, I can fully now see the influence of my time with her on my career today. That wouldn’t have been true ten years ago. Not because the influence wasn’t there but because the connection wouldn’t have been as obvious as it is today.
I’m grateful that she messaged me as it gave me an opportunity to thank her. Then I thought, who else? So I am doing a little exercise – reflecting back on other past colleagues throughout my journey. Who else would I like to acknowledge and thank for their influence on my journey? I smile as this list grows.
Who are the people that influenced your journey?