As the ball dropped, ringing in 2011, I sat down at my computer and wrote the words “Generation Young Leaders” or simply GenYL, which combines the two most common names for our generation “Gen Y” + “Millennial.” I'd found a name and it sparked an adrenaline rush. 2 days later I jumped on a call with my dad, a retired full Colonel in the Air Force, to get some words of wisdom. Less than a week after that, I opened my mailbox and found a 5 page hand written letter from my mom. The significance of this letter has more meaning than anyone can imagine. You see, my mom has Parkinson’s and writing can be a very consuming task for her. Yet she took the time to hand write 5 full pages of ideas, principles, suggestions, stories, comparisons, and her love for her son poured out...
The entire letter was her clear direction on leadership. I could tell she was writing at a rapid pace, so anxious to get all her thoughts to me so that I would be encouraged to purse this vision confidently. Turns out my dad had told her about Generation Young Leaders that night, and over the next several hours my mom spent every moment brainstorming and visualizing my passion.
I had one word for this….WOW! How did I get so fortunate? I also reflected on what this meant for me- what something like this might mean to others. As Young Leaders we need that strong support system…we need that “somebody to lean on.” You can probably relate in some way. Whether it’s a parent or mentor, spouse, friend or sibling, when someone believes in you, it matters. When someone encourages and supports you, it makes an impact. So, the first lesson I’ve learned on leadership is that we all need to find that inspiration…that guardian who truly cares about our journey…through them we will surely rise to new heights.