Growing up as a child, I was a poor reader. My second-grade report card suggested that I may have issues all my life and some form of intervention may be necessary to connect the various areas of my brain. My mother did try to help and signed me up for some various learning programs in the 70’s, but it did not improve or increase my reading. There were no issues with my brain nor with learning. Fast-forward 40 years and I still do not like sitting down with a book. Nevertheless, I can read, have read books and other materials with words and even composed sentences for decades that made sense. There were many unknowns about learning when I was a child. Also unknown was how I would develop, process and apply what I learned later in life. Although I was an average student for much of my academic career, I achieved a Master’s degree in education with an ending grade point average of 3.92. I am the first person in my family with a Masters.

We all have possibilities with room to grow and learn. Our beginning may not reflect where we will end; in fact, many innovators have proven this time and time again. Some bloom early while others are late bloomers. I, by no means have reached my endpoint or potential and anxiously look forward to more growth, knowledge and increasing my impact on our industry. Recently, my girlfriend Julie shared a post with me from Facebook from a school principle that discussed how to motivate your children to learn, but also shared how not to demotivate them from realizing inspiration. We all have options and abilities to act and be inspired by the simplest things as we go through life. It is called creativity. The questions to ask are what moment or moments will ignite the spark, turn on that light of ingenuity and let you shine? On the other hand, what moment or moments could alienate and suppress the true gift that you have and that you could offer to family, your community and the world?

Gatorade marketed an ad campaign for many years that suggests, “It’s in you!” Although we often forget or let the funk of the world and life push us into a rut, there is an innate creative persona that is always there and always eager to take on the world and extinguish the funk. My better half Julie has reminded me of this simple message from Gatorade and adds the extra comment that “…it always has been in me!” It is nice to have her support and the reassurance that increases self-confidence. There is truth to surrounding yourself by good and positive people. An atmosphere like this can increase one’s optimism and outlook on life plus lead to better business in my opinion.

If we take a look at the bigger picture and extend the moment or moments to the ignition of larger sparks, more brilliant illumination of ingenuity and collaboration in our hospitality and special events industry, how would that allow us to shine as an individual, a community, a city, a nation and world-wilde industry. Membership of groups with like minds and talents—betters all that we stand for by word and by action.

I began this post by talking about the difficulties of reading, questionable personal achievement and possibilities. Benjamin Franklin stated, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning” and I agree. If you have followed my blog post over the past year, you may have felt that I need to improve my writing skills (which is ongoing) or felt that this person writes well and has some good points. Considering where I began and where I am now, I feel that I have achieved success and have attained more than the outlook of my second-grade report card. The statement made after running into one of my grade school teachers was, “look at you now!” I would love to hear about you now. Share your story with others about improvement, achievement, and success at our next ILEA program. There are untold stories from our members that embody these characteristics mentioned above that tap into their inspiration and their motivation. What will help write your next chapter? #myilea, #ileasa