In a constantly growing work force how do we keep up with the growing pains of life around us? Many times it is those who cross our path that motivate us into what we need to do. Or maybe it is motivation based on responsibility of supporting a family or our lifestyle. But, my favorite kind of motivation is by example of others. I have been lucky to have been surrounded with a handful of highly driven professionals in my career who have motivated me to do well at my job and push me to where I am today. But, it started way before that with a driven young father who was motivated by family and survival.
His perspective and story – In the early 1990’s a young father of six children worked an average job that barely paid the bills working as a janitor. He enlisted into the United States Air Force Reserves to pursue more opportunities for himself and his family. Even having a great work ethic and dedication to take care of his family, it was still not enough. Looking ahead he knew that his barely above minimum wage job and a small military reserve paycheck would not continue to pay the bills as his growing children had more needs and as daily living continued to become more and more expensive. So, in his late 20’s with four school age children and two infant children he enrolled into college to further his education and broaden his opportunities for growth in his career. This was only the beginning. After attending classes for about two years he attained his AA degree from a community college, continuing to work a full time job and serve in the Air Force Reserves. He then enrolled into a bachelors program at a college in the city. In effort to keep cost low he took the train system into the city taking along both infant children with him. He was surviving and pursing his dreams at the same time. Two years later he completed his bachelors degree and attained a job working at a local department of the city. He begin to move his way up in both his military reserve and civilian career. Not stopping there, he enrolled into a MBA program to better his chances for movement into management, working his way to retirement. He had a goal and a responsibility, he also needed to survive, so he made it work. He managed his time. He managed his resources. He brought his family along for the ride and held up his responsibility as a father.
My perspective, the infant child – In the early 1990’s I was around 5 years old, loving life. Two of my favorite things were riding on a huge train into the big city. I loved crossing the bridge and I LOVED all the city lights. My dad was in the military and every time he had to leave he ALWAYS brought me back a Polly Pocket (not the kind they have now but the good ones from back in the day that had a million little pieces). I remember when we go into my dad’s classroom he had my baby brother and I sit in the back with our coloring books. Sometimes one of his classmates, whose parents owned a Chinese restaurant in the city, would bring us fortune cookies. Another one of the classmates was a police officer, she did a presentation on child seat safety, I thought it was the coolest presentation ever and wondered when the kind of car seats she was talking about would be developed (they are now). The professor was always so nice, he even gave my brother and I a real permanent marker to draw with. When class was over we’d walk back to the train station, it was always dark and the city lights were beautiful. It was always freezing and I remember being so thankful my mom made me where my flower cotton stockings under my skirt. On the long ride home each week my baby brother and I would cuddle up on my dad’s lap and watch the city lights disappear as we got closer to home. When dad finished school I remember going to a ceremony (it was a little boring), but, my grandparents came and took us to a really nice dinner to celebrate my dad’s accomplishment. Our home was always warm, we were always fed and taken care of. I watched my dad go to school, get certificates and start new and exciting jobs in the military and civilian workforce.
Fast forward to the summer of 2008, I had a three month old baby at 19 years old and I knew I needed to start planning for my future career. I took the first step by enrolling into school. Over the course of the next 9 years. I had two more babies, completed three degrees including an MBA, joined the United States Army serving two years active duty, one deployment to Iraq and transitioned into the National Guard on part time status, became a federal employee working for the Department of Interior and started an accredited non-profit organization that provides career services to veterans. Now, I am 29 years old and I am a dedicated full time mother, devoted partner, soldier, entrepreneur and mentor. One question that I always get asked, “How do you do it?”. I just do it! I don’t stop. I find a way even when obstacles arise and I push past or jump over them. These are all true answers. But, as I enter in my last year in my 20’s I realize there is something way bigger than me that motivated me to be where I am today.
Every day that I watched my dad pursue his dreams and goals, even better I watched him reach them and complete them. Developing himself more and more as a professional, respected human being. That is what motivated me. He didn’t know it, I for sure didn’t realize what was happening. But, he was leading me by example, setting a foundation for my future life choices. We all know kids repeat what they see and hear. Let it be something good. Motivate those around you with positivity, leading and mentoring them by example. I wouldn’t know how to balance, manage time and multi task if it wasn’t for him. I’m hear today because I had an outstanding example as a child of someone who embraced responsibility and was committed to professional growth and development.
Sometimes, just sometimes, when history repeats himself it is simply amazing….
My father, myself and baby brother when they welcomed me home from Iraq. My dad is now happily retired from the Air Force Reserves and continues to advance in his civilian job. My little brother is a devouted father, MBA graduate, CPA and entrepreneur.
My dad, brother and his son, myself and my three babies. My dad is a loving and dedicated father and grandfather.