There are moments in the course of our lives that shift who we are, change us for the better and completely turn our lives around. Moments that mark a turning point between who we were and who’ve become. This post is about one of those moments.

I keep a list of topics that I want to cover on this blog and every day I sit down to write, and this topic creeps into my mind. While I knew I was going to write it eventually, I had this week in mind, because this is an important week. This is FFA week and I can’t think of a more fitting time to write about the moment that turned my life around, than now.

My life was forever shifted in 1995 when I walked into the Agricultural Education classroom at Wapakoneta High School. It was there that two extraordinary people, Mr. Ron Brown and Mr. Chris Turner, helped give some direction to a skinny kid with a big mouth and love for cows. They gave me an outlet to channel my passions and the tools to communicate a vision. They challenged me to reach for more.

The biggest shift came my junior year when I was using my skills as a speaker for far less than beneficial results. Mr. Brown pulled me aside and told me that he thought I had the skill to become a State FFA Officer if I could just grow up and act like a professional. I felt guilt, and I felt anger, but most of all, I felt that he was right.

That discussion shifted who I am. Later that spring, I ran for and was elected to State FFA Office. With that election came the awesome responsibility of leading the more than 22,000 FFA members in the state of Ohio. A position that in the beginning, I was completely unprepared for.

When I arrived in Columbus for our first meeting, wearing a clip-on tie and cowboy boots with my official dress, it was clear that I needed some polish. I have always been amazed that mentors in my life have come to me in pairs and when I met Mr. Steve Gratz, the Ohio FFA Executive Secretary, and Greg Dague, the Ohio FFA State President, they saw it too.

It was working with this incredible group of people that I learned to stand out and not sticking out. Where I found the discipline and focus required to achieve my goals. It was a moment that turned my life around. It’s the reason I still wear the FFA ring that my dad gave me when I left for Columbus that first time.

We all have moments in the course of our lives that shift who we are, change us for the better and completely turn our lives around. It’s important that identify and celebrate these moments. To be mindful when we find one. These are the moments that help to define us and shape who we are. They’re worthy of remembrance, because without them. who knows where we’d be.   


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