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friend, leader, prototype = a ramble about things that inspire

It's powerful when you cross paths with someone who becomes a friend, who means something to you, who influences your life. And even more impactful when you can let them know the imprint they've had on you is long lasting and meaningful. It's sad when one of those people leaves this life too quickly, before you've had one more cup of tea with them and let them know just how incredible they are.

In November, one of my friends who led me, encouraged me, who helped me chart my path, left this earth suddenly in an accident. She was the happiest she'd been, doing something she adored with the person she loved. In my grief at the sadness of this loss I wasn't sure she knew just how much she meant to me and I've been thinking about how much I missed out by not letting her know.

In 2004 I went to Africa, to travel, explore, discover and to forget. And in Kenya I met Ian. He was a young child, who would likely stay in school until he was 10, and then, like most children in Kenya, would drop out in order to work and help his family survive. I went to Ian's school, I filled out paperwork and committed to paying his tuition if he'd stay in school until he graduated. The very thing I went traveling to forget, inspired me to look beyond myself and bring light and love to someone else. We did it, Ian and I! I kept my commitment and he has graduated. A few weeks ago he sent me this message "It has been a long journey but I'm glad I made it. I don't think I can ever emphasize enough how grateful I am. Lots of young people I know dream of this kind of opportunity and I'm so lucky to have you present it to me." The impact of Ian's message stays with me every day.

What does it really mean to be a friend, to be a leader, to inspire and encourage? These are questions I seek to earn the answer to daily in my personal life and in my work life. Recently I've seen old friends, met new friends, been reminded of great influences in my life and discovered a prototype. By definition, a prototype is someone or something that serves as a model or inspiration for those that come later.

Great things happen when you open your heart, step outside of yourself, release yourself from drama and let the people who matter feel your authentic self. This prototype I speak of....stay tuned. For now, know that it's been a great discovery.

Reaching my peak at sunrise....

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