On my 23rd birthday, my grandmother Bette said to me, “If you can’t be happy while you’re young, how can you be happy when you’re old?” These simple words instantly opened my eyes to a new perspective on life and motivated me to want to start living my life in a new way. My father passed away on May 4, 2012. Our lives forever changed. His death made me realize how precious life is and how fast it can change. I tried to remember every bit of wisdom my father taught me. As I reflect on every talk and email exchange, he taught me how optimism is the key factor to success. I remember a note he wrote to his mother, “You gave me my optimistic view on life, a can do attitude, my social skills, the importance of having fun, and my commitment to health through exercise came from you. As you always said, you need to be the best you can be from the inside out.” His father taught him the importance of service, motivation, drive, and ambition.
My grandmother always talked about having fun. Even things that most people would consider silly, she knew how to make it exciting. That’s what made her unique and inspiring. As Gary said to a reporter from the Orlando Business Journal, “Just have fun. That’s what we do. We do fun.” Richard Bilbao replied, “That advice helped me grow as a reporter, meet new industry colleagues, and truly enjoy what I do everyday.” My father woke up each day loving what he did. I think that is how he was able to make each day exhilarating and successful at the same time.
The most common word used when describing my dad was his energy. People would even joke and refer to him as the “Energizer Bunny,” because you couldn’t keep up with him. He made you feel special, inspired, and always let you know he cared about you as an individual because he’d rather talk about your life and success versus his own. His positivity left you with the encouragement to push your limits even harder to achieve your personal and professional goals. He believed “success starts with the right attitude. Attitude will determine altitude…how high you can soar. No personal brand can ever maximize it’s true potential without the right attitude.”
Without optimism, he never would have been able to achieve his goals, follow his passion, build a strong team, and inspire those around him. This goes back to his “I can” attitude. If you are a pessimist, you are most likely going to talk yourself out of every opportunity presented to you.
It’s up to you to make the choice on how you begin each day…optimistic or pessimistic?
1. When was your last “aha” moment?
2. Who inspires you? Do you inspire others?
3. Do others complement you on your qualities?
4. How would you like to be remembered one day?