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” These moments were important in my life, to realize I could do something as well or better than him and to hear his pride in me watching me do something I was good at. No distractions, radios, televisions, cell phones, none of that. It was there he taught me, led me, guided me to the conclusions that he already knew. Using a skiing metaphor, he would tell me “Don’t look at the tips of your skis, extend your vision.” It was during these conversations he built me, helped restore my confidence, and prepared me to become a man he would be proud of.I was contemplating the biggest career move of my life, up to that point and time.I would call him after my day and recap my successes.
One of the things I am most proud of in my career is that I eventually earned enough respect from him that I sometimes would get to provide guidance and feedback to him too. I often wonder what else he could have achieved had he not had to battle illness for the last ~18 years.
Teary eyed and proud, he presented us each a watch engraved with the words “All-Pro”, one from 2003 and one from 2005.
This was the top honor in his company for sales people, the best of the best, and Dad had achieved this not once, but twice, often times making sales calls while battling symptoms, during hospital stays, and pushing through hurdles that would leave many people curled up in a ball.
To make sure I wasn’t just negotiating for a larger slice of the pie, but was trying to make the pie bigger so everyone got a bigger slice.
It was often these conversations that were the baseline for our frequent phone calls over the years.