She’s been on my mind since the training facilitator asked our group to write down a most influential person in your life. Most people might claim a mom or dad, someone in the family or a mentor. I’d put my influencer right up there next to my Granny who did the most monumental for me. But Sylvia is right there when it comes to influence.
Syl and I met through the media company we both worked for at the time. We both called San Antonio home.
I was ALL business with a tough exterior to hide by broken insides. I wonder to this day if Syl really knew that or if she was just being Syl. It didn’t take long for her to break through my steel facade and we soon became professional bests. You know, the best friends you can be at work.
Then life really started to happen. As the pieces began to crumble around me Syl moved in closer. I’m sure she was met with the big push back as I was prone to deliver. Syl challenged the hard exterior of me and pushed through the ‘bests you can be at work’.
Debt ran rampant in my life as it so often does in your late twenties. Syl was our CFO so who better to advise me. She was gentle and always loved me like I was one of hers. Syl has a family of her own, two beautiful daughters and a smart as a whip son. She sought out every resource she could for me, wanting the best for me.
Then there was this man who did his best to win me over. And boy did he. So much so that I fell into the trap of almost being controlled by him. If you ask my influencer she’d probably say no, Tracy really was under his control. She counseled me and never gave up on me despite my poor decisions. She stuck with me.
More life happened. She and her family invited me to join them on their family vacation to Lake Tahoe and then San Francisco. Honestly, I’d never been on a family vacation like this. They made me feel like I was one of them, I was family.
Syl is strong, professional, knows her stuff. I admire that. But she has a huge heart and loves big. She loves her family first and she loves her professional team just as much. I know this because I fell into both categories.
My influencer saw me through some of the hardest times of my life and still does. My mother had a debilitating accident, I chose to halt my career and put myself through college, I had two major surgeries, and took a job in the bigs that moved me to a major city.
Syl saw me through it all. She never let go of me. She’s like a mom to me. She’s always been there for me no matter the miles between us. She’s demonstrated was it means to love and what it means to be a true friend. She’s shown up when no one else did. She loved me through it all.
It had been months maybe a year since we talked last. I was standing in the funeral home lobby greeting people as they arrived for my Granny’s funeral. In walked Syl and her husband. To this day I have no idea how she even knew my Granny had passed. Maybe I called her at some point, I don’t recall. But she showed up, made the trip and traveled miles away to support me.
Sylvia is the biggest influencer in my life. A real role model in every sense. A mom, a teacher, an advisor, a friend. And she still is.
Who is the biggest influencer in your life?