who is your inspiration? I will share mine with you –

Last week, I received an email AND a phone message from two local moms that they were loving the blog.  Awwww….they made me feel so awesome.  What I could not believe was that the email stated that I was an inspiration.  Me – an inspiration – no way!  I could have floated to pick the boys up at school that day; I was on Cloud 9.

I started to think a lot about inspiration after this…..and, who inspires me.  Turns out, I have a pretty lengthy list of celebrity and personal inspiration, so I decided to share just a few with you.

No surprise that my celebrity inspiration list begins with Mark Zuckerberg (I love facebook).  Zuckerberg changed and continues to change the way we live, communicate, and interact while creating his social platform (he left Harvard without graduating to pursue his dreams)!  I find it amazing when someone has such open-ended passion and vision.  Zuckerberg is the type of inspiration that my boys’ generation and ones thereafter will continue to channel.

Next month, I am heading to Spark & Hustle with Tory Johnson.  Tory is woman who provides inspiration for many.  Tory was unexpectedly fired from a job that she loved, and went on to build a multi-million dollar empire that started in her spare bedroom with DIAL UP internet! Today, Tory Johnson helps others build their businesses with real life experience behind her.  

I cannot wait to put the hustle behind my spark in a just a few short weeks.

Lance Armstrong is another major source of inspiration to me.  Lance fought back after a major bought with testicular cancer, and he went on to be a Tour de France winner 7 times!  To have the discipline and fortitude to overcome as Lance did is inspiring.  Last year, I had the opportunity to have his latest book autographed by Lance Armstrong himself.  A fabulous memory for me.

Which brings me to my truest, most personal inspiration – my dad. All of the aforementioned celebrities overcame huge obstacles to become who they are, and my dad is very much the same.  Maybe that is why I have the celebrity inspiration list that I do.

My dad was the baby of eight children born into a small walk up in Brooklyn in the late 1920’s.  When he graduated from high school, he was expected to get a job and send money home to his parents.  I am sure that my boys cannot even imagine a request like this!  With nothing more than a high school education, my dad moved from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh to sell matchbooks.  Upon arriving, he did not realize that he did not get paid for the first 2 weeks.  With very little money in his pocket, my dad lived in his CAR for TWO weeks.  Being smart, my dad befriended someone at the local YMCA, so he could shower there.  Determined to be successful, my dad worked tirelessly selling matchbooks during the day to local businesses and restaurants & bars at night. At 21, my dad was the top salesman in the country for the matchbook company. So, what did he do?  He bought himself a Cadillac, moved to Florida for a year, and then started an entrepreneurial venture selling promotional products with a childhood friend.  The rest is history.

My dad died almost 8 years ago, and I know that he would be so proud to hear that someone said that I am an inspiration to others.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not think, my dad would say this or my dad would say that.   I keep a framed kitchen sponge (a famous promotional item of his) right above my sink, so I always remember what he taught me.  I only hope that some his entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off on me!  Here’s to you dad!

Now that I have shared with you – Who would be on your inspiration list? Celebrity or Personal?

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Nicole January 10, 2011, 1:40 PM

    Great reminder that some of the best heroes are in our everyday life. I’m sorry to hear you lost your Dad, however his spirit lives on with you!

  • Jan Tallent January 10, 2011, 2:10 PM

    I love this, Rachel.

    I have a few online heroes but like you, my real life one was my “kinda adopted” Dad.

    He was not even a distant relation, just an elderly friend that became family almost immediately and if I could have picked a Dad, it would have been him.

    Best of success to you in this bright, new year we have!


  • Dorothy Ponton January 10, 2011, 2:47 PM

    I’ve been really inspired by my Mom. She showed me how difficult it was to go back to college to complete her degree, while working, with two kids in school. She saw early on that her interrupted education really limited her career options, and so she did something about it.
    You could say it was easy to focus on school as a child, because it was non-negotiable. It was in post-secondary education that my acquired love of learning carried me through my doctorate and internship. She has never stopped finding delight in knowledge, and so I thank her for that often.

  • Merlyn Sanchez January 10, 2011, 5:00 PM

    We all need heroes and you picked some great ones. I hadn’t heard about Tory Johnsson so I’m going to check her out.

    One of my favorite moment’s was when my then 10-year son told me that I was his “role-model” because I had started my own business!

  • lisawifemom January 10, 2011, 5:50 PM

    What a wonderful way to honor your dad. And that’s a great list of inspirational people.

    You’ve given me food for thought, my life has changed so much lately that I think that list of people has also changed…

    Thanks for sharing.

    Lisa Vitale

  • Judy Stone-Goldman January 10, 2011, 6:23 PM

    Enjoyed reading of your dad’s history. Having courage and determination even when dealing with such difficult circumstances, is, indeed, inspiring. I am inspired by people who commit to making the world a better place.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

  • Julie Labes January 10, 2011, 9:25 PM

    Thank you for sharing this with us, i truly felt like your words came from the heart. i too lost my dad about 8 years ago.he was one of the easy going people I ever knew. he endured so much towards the end of his life,,amputation.. cancer, stroke, heart attack and yet he was still always humming a tune or singing to himself and I never heard him complain, not once. My dad never built a business or anything like that ..he worked for the same company most of his life, but he taught me that we all have choices and you may as well choose to be happy as not no matter what life throws at you

    Julie Labes the…Fierce over 50 feels much younger, point and click junkie, loves to travel, does not use a jogging stroller, and before you ask, this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

  • Rachel Lavern January 10, 2011, 11:44 PM

    Where I turn to when I need a bit of inspiration varies. The challenge for me can be converting the inspiration into action.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development

  • Jennifer Bourn January 11, 2011, 10:12 AM

    Rachel – Great post! I think anyone who is following their heart and pursuing their dreams can be an inspiration to someone else – and i am so happy those ladies saw it in you.

    I think there is nothing like the admiration a girl feels for her father … no matter what they do! That is a wonderful story to be able to share and I love that you keep a sponge framed to remind you of him – that is such a personal and unique thing. With that, he’ll always be with you.

    -Jennifer Bourn, Custom WordPress Theme Designer

  • Fresh Brothers January 11, 2011, 1:13 PM

    Beautiful post!
    I hope to meet you at Spark and Hustle. Signing up today!
    — Debbie

  • Louise Edington January 11, 2011, 3:51 PM

    Now I can see through the tears – than you! I lost my Dad a month before my eldest daughter (his first Grandchild) was born and his memory is an inspiration to me very day. He wasn’t an enterpreneur but he fought his way up from low beginnings also and did very well in life through determination and hard work. I like to think I inherit some of that from him.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom

  • Darcie Newton January 12, 2011, 12:21 AM

    My mom continues to inspire me. She was an entrepreneur when not a lot of people were starting small businesses (70’s) let alone women. She continue to show me what determination and commitment look like…

    Knowing that you have inspired someone is a treasure to cherish.

    Darcie Newton

  • Shane Shaps January 12, 2011, 10:46 AM

    Rachel – what a great way to honor your dad. There are so many celebrities out there who can inspire us to do great things. But, as we know as moms, it starts at home. If we can inspire our children in any way possible, then we’ve done a great job!

  • Fiona Stolze January 12, 2011, 6:22 PM

    It was lovely to hear about your joy at getting these messages from the women you inspired. I think that’s one of the most valuable pieces of feedback we can get.

    And thanks for sharing your story about your dad. It made me think about mine. He died nearly 11 years ago and although his life and illness took a different path, he inspired me as a result to make something great out of my life. And I intend to do that.

    Fiona Stolze

  • Donna McCord January 13, 2011, 12:28 AM

    What a wonderful gift for you to actually know that you are an inspiration to others! Sometimes people are inspirational but never hear anyone tell them, so that was so thoughtful of those two ladies to share their feelings with you. I loved your tribute to your Dad, and I have no doubt that what you learned from him has influenced who you are as an inspiration to others, too. For me, I am inspired by people I know that give from the heart, unselfish and unconditional. Both my mom and dad are like that, and so are my three sisters, especially my youngest sister who, even though she is the youngest, has taught me the most about being the person I desire to be. The most inspirational person I know of is Jesus — everything He is, everything He represents is everything I believe is worth striving for.

  • Robbie Schlosser January 14, 2011, 1:44 AM

    Hi Rachel,

    Congratulations for learning that you’re inspiring someone. You must be VERY proud. Way to go!

    Actually, I suspect that each of us can always learn something worthwhile from everyone. (What a shame we acknowledge our debts so seldom!) So realizing that you’re always inspiring someone (your kids, for example), it’s important that we always set a good example. Walk the talk, as they say.

    Only a few of us have an opportunity to create something that transforms the world, like Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs. Most of us are not scientists, statesmen, artists, philosophers, religious leaders, or the usual headline fodder. But I believe there’s something extraordinary about each of us (like your Dad, and mine, too), and every day, we’re bound to be inspiring someone.

  • Bruce Barone January 14, 2011, 11:18 AM

    You almost made me cry; my Dad passed away five years ago in the hospital recovering from fairly routine surgery.

    Yes, he is my inspiration. My Mom, too, who passed away from cancer at age 54!

    Both taught me about unconditional love.

    There are others who inspire me; my fiance and my children, for example.


    P.S. I never heard of Tory but I want to look into her story. TKS!

  • CD Hullinger October 31, 2011, 2:27 PM

    clarissa pinkola estes, author of “Women Who Run with The wolves.

  • John Locke September 2, 2015, 12:37 PM

    Hi Rachel:

    The older I get, the more I realize my father was a major inspiration and influence for me. He had a rough upbringing, but managed to escape it and build a life for himself and my mother. Though they have both long since passed, I continue to draw inspiration from their courage, and the challenges they had to face.

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