I have always been interested in being the best I can be and creating value for others. I’ve been on this journey now for a while as I approach another birthday next week. But I owe a lot of the progress I’ve made to these people:
This man was in my life for only 7 years. He died at a young age of 34 from leukemia. His biggest contribution to my life was knowing how he treated my mother, my brother, and me when we were young. I learned the most about my father after he passed as I grew up listening to the stories my mother shared with me. His approach to taking care of his family and being a creative thinker and entrepreneur is why I’m an entrepreneur today. I owe him a lot and appreciate the short time I had with him.
My mom is why I am who I am. She raised me and my brother in the absence of my dad. She was a teacher and went to work when my dad got sick to take care of all of us. She was a disciplinarian, a nurturer, a teacher, a cheerleader, and the police when necessary. She did everything she could to provide the best opportunities for my brother and If. There is a song that describes her called “Mama” by Lunchmoney Lewis. Listen to that song and you will get what I mean.
I met my wife when I was 15 years old at a summer program. We didn’t realize that we would be spending the rest of our lives together after that summer but somehow we ended up reconnecting during our sophomore year in college. We got married 2 years later when she graduated and are working on 30 years of marriage together. She is the best thing to happen to me and she continues to help me be the best person I can be. She does not play when it comes to her family and the high standard of excellence we expect from ourselves and each other. She is the reason I am as successful as I have become through her support and encouragement.
These people have taught me so much—and, just like they did with me, I hope to pass along my own learnings to the next person.