At some point, most people have been able to look back at their lives and pick out one person (or maybe a group of people) that started you down the path into the person you are today. I'll briefly share my person, but then I ask that you share your own. Many people might say, "my mom and dad" but that's not the answer I'm looking for here...unless they happened to be the most significant person(s) that reshaped your life. Just really try to think about a single person that changed how you viewed life, or perhaps took a risk by hiring you and it launched a great career years down the road.
For me it was guy I met in high school named Billy Wiseman. He ended up being my best friend through my last two years of school. Before I had met Billy, I was a very introverted kid. I always got picked on. I was always made fun of. In middle school, I also had a few kids that would knock books out of my hand, steal my backpack and runaway with it, and I even had my head shoved into a locker in gym class and the door slammed on it...twice! In high school, I started getting picked on because I had begun losing some of my hair in the back at age 15. I also didn't have many friends and you would NEVER dare to see me stand in front of classroom of people and speak.
However, that all changed when I started hanging out with Billy. One day, I overheard, that he couldn't take the bus anymore to school and needed a ride. I just happened to have a car and offered to drive him. He accepted. He knew I wasn't the most popular person in school but it didn't matter to him...he was just a nice guy. Billy also didn't care what others thought about him...he said what he said and did what did because HE wanted to...not because of what others thought. That attitude actually helped him out in school and others respected that and he was well liked because of it...and popular.
That same attitude rubbed off on me in those last two years of school. By the time I went to college I was a completely different person. My life had done a complete 180! I realized that if I truly wanted to be happy, not get picked on, not be bossed around, not always having to worry about what others thought about me, then I had to accept the things that I had always seen as my faults and, instead, turn them into "this is just me--accept it or don't."
So the person that changed my life was Billy. Certainly my parents had a strong influence on me and my grounding in life, but it's that one person that changed the way I viewed myself and helped me to be a stronger person than what I was before.