Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2016 Video Message

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. There is no time like the present to pause and acknowledge the people that we are grateful for. Please click here to watch my personal video message about Thanksgiving then take a moment today to show appreciation for and to return gratitude to others.

 

I cannot fully express my appreciation by giving thanks once a year, or even every day of the year. That’s why I have embedded gratitude as a guiding principle for my words, my actions, and my thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving

How One Teacher Changed My Life

In honor of teacher appreciation week, I wanted to share with you all a moment with one of my teachers, Mr. Rogers, who had a profound impact on my life.

I was 14 years old and I still remember the discussion vividly. It was a discussion that forever changed my perspective of what I could and could not do.

It was the end of my sophomore year and I had been on the student council for two years.  He asked me into his office and told me that I did a great job over the past two years and that I should run for Student Activities Director.  I remember clearly telling him I couldn’t run, because I was only a sophomore and that I would be a junior next year; all the top positions in Student Leadership were Seniors. 

I’ll never forget him looking at me and saying, “So?” 

I said that I didn’t think any junior had ever held a top position on the student council.  Again, he challenged me. I said, “Ivan is DeterminedWhat do you mean – so?, I can’t run.”  “Why not?,” he said. “Just because it’s never been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I think you’d do great. You should run.”   I thought about it all night as I tossed and turned over whether I should break from the norm and run.

The next day I came in and filled out the forms to run for Activities Director. Low and behold, I ran–and I won. It was an amazing experience, knowing that I defied the odds and turned the tide for my felIow classmates who might be encouraged to run next year. I was the first junior to hold a top leadership role at the high school. 

At the end of the year, Mr. Rogers called me into his office again and said, “You did a great job this year. What are your plans for next year?” I said I wasn’t sure. He said, “I am – you should run for President.  I think you’d be just as great in that role!” I thought about it overnight and came in the next day and filled out the paperwork. I ran and won. 

That role laid the groundwork for the person that I would become as an adult. It provided incredible challenges and amazing opportunities to work on my leadership skills. I will always be indebted to Mr. Rogers for how he influenced me as a young man. He taught me to never accept something without first challenging and questioning it. It was this sentiment that has always pushed me to reach for the unreachable.

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