Always Looking Up to Others, Photo from BradensEye Family Archives: Sister Lara, BradensEye + Uncle Fred

Looking up to others made me. I became more of me by sourcing from the pride I gathered fawning over those older and wiser than I was as a three-foot-tall person. This natural pact with admiration fueled what I’ve accomplished, dared, and continue to dream. Harnessing worship of people for good is a powerful antioxidant. The juiciness we may squeeze from learning by stepping in others soles is endless. It works any which direction too. Age doesn’t confine, as some of my most sincere tooling of self has been decoded with wee ones and teens to veterans alike.

The first human I clearly remember not getting enough of was my Uncle Fred. A mere teenager at my birth, by the time I was standing at his side I was in admiration heaven. He’s likely the first ‘man’ I had a crush on. His looks, humor, and life zest all stirred the pot of my admiration stew. Yet, it was because he made time to spend with me that spun the wheels of my reverence so ferociously well. He cared an awful lot about fun, producing smiles, and laughter. For a kid that’s like Christmas every day! Even when he tricked me time and again with a game of 52 pickup, I’d curl back into his strong arms with a giant hug to forgive him. Oddly, in the long run, it taught me not to take things too seriously.

Fred solidified a pleasure for daring in me. I’d wished to have been in his pocket as he’d tell tales of secret Army missions, foreign lands, jumping from planes high in the skies, or scavenging freshly baked pies from window sills on some covert training. He was witnessing the world in ways far beyond my beautiful small town mentality. Add the double-scoop dose of getting to live with the best dad who would always delve deeply into many geographic corners of our planet and I was destined for admiration idolatry. Papa Jim so loves cultural exploration and shares that affection easily. I know it’s why he remains one of the most sought-after teachers at the University of South Carolina. When I was gifted a giant round globe, we’d spend hours together, me closing my eyes, to spin it wildly until I’d stop with my finger pointing upon some earthly spot for him to educate me about another place. My far-flung travels have been my own calling, but also an approval mechanism steeped in the lives of such people I admire.

Years winding on, I began to seek out wonderment compared to it pouring stories into me through casual encounters. Finding awe in those surrounding my everyday walk of life boosts my energy beyond any Red Bull wings they purport. In my family, the workplace, meeting so many newbies walking so many lands or any streets, I pay attention to what surrounds me as symbols of ever-unfolding veneration. The rule of thumb is trusting that every one of us carries super qualities. Sharing your best self is a superconductor which electrifies those around you.

I’m blessed to note my admiration population is the size of a nation. From the top-notch marketing maven at Apple: Angela Ahrendts, whose path I followed through a shared Ethiopia charity: water trek, to my beloved godmother extraordinaire Ute Mader, I have cultivated an admiration society of epic proportions. Angela unknowingly restored my faith in faith through conversations about the meaning of God alongside listening skills plus being true to you in and out of the business sphere. Ute’s survival of the Holocaust, delicate attention to life’s beautiful details in nature and people which she weaves into her Miracle designs knitting, alongside her enormously generous spirit of seeing the breath of life in the tiniest and most noble we can observe. Humanity would not be the wise and healthy aspects it is without these two souls at least.

Listening to my best friend Dawnia belt out a kirtan tune at a music workshop along with her band leader Mike Cohen, then watching as they set the space perfectly for a crowd enthralling sing-a-long was superior. For someone like me who can best rattle up some snakes given my musical musings tone, I was encouraged to chime in, whereby filling me with pride at my bravery to allow my voice to be heard. Such sweetness is the applause admiration fire stokes. You can be the fondness or find it sitting beside you. Recognizing the good — taking those extra careful moments to feel and think it through — that’s where true glory gives it up for you. Be so luminous that the surplus leaves you always commending the sparkle you see in others.

Here’s the catch — You can think you’re the bee’s knees and that self-esteem alone is going to empower you to magical heights. But when you create the value system of placing admiration squarely in the lap of your fellow humans too you’re gonna create a power so strong that rocket ships will delightfully shiver. May your marveling catapult your own existence to shine as tremendously bright as the galactic wonders of our world.

#AdmirationJunkie for life!

LOVER of life. Especially people, places, philanthropy and photography.