As I think about the topic of personal growth, my mind easily races to the men and women who invested in my development over the years. No one person could be singled out.  There have been leaders who helped form my character and others that sharpened my skills.

Here are a few of the people who’ve taught me important things over the years…

My Parents – For those of you with children, you can testify to the challenges of parenting! Through it all, my mom and dad taught me diligence, optimism, hard work and faith.

My Sons – I have two amazing sons!  My oldest runs a non-profit organization in Kenya, CARE for AIDS, ministering to men and women living with HIV-Aids. He’s my hero. I tell people I want to be like him when I grow up. He’s done a lot for a 24-year-old. He models servant leadership for me every day. My youngest son has taught me a lot as well – he has cerebral palsy. He has shaped my character in profound ways. I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about patience in the last 22 years.  I’ve also been given a graduate level course in unconditional love.

My Teachers – How many of us would be where we are today without some amazing teachers?  I always seemed to have the right teacher at the right time.  I can’t say they were all amazing – but I had several who marked me for life… Mrs. Addison in the 4rd Grade, Mrs. Stanley in the 5th Grade, Mr. Bell in high school and Richard Hendricks as a young adult.  I owe them more than I can express.

My Mentors – If I weren’t blessed enough by all the people I’ve just listed, I’ve had men and women who have invested in me my entire career.  Thankfully, this is a list that is still being written. A few that I’ve gotten to see up close and personal include Truett Cathy, Jimmy Collins, Dan Cathy and Howard Hendricks. Other men who have mentored me primarily though their teaching resources include, Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, John Ortberg, Henry Cloud and Jim Collins.

How about you – who comes to mind that helped you become the leader you are today? Have you told them? Have you thanked them? Maybe that would be a good New Year’s resolution?

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.