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Defining Moments

Those times in your life where everyone’s eating out of the palm of your hand

Did you ever have one of those experiences where everything’s going right. . .where you’ve got everyone’s attention. . .where everything you say or do is golden? I’m sure everyone has. Defining moments in one’s life can literally make careers, lives, or special times that we all share as a family.

I can recall a few defining moments in my life. I wrote in an earlier blog about my experience when I tried out for Pop Warner football, and how I made the coaches shut up and take notice of me when I teed off on a running back. You could have heard the leaves rustling, it got so quiet after that tackle. Unfortunately, too little too late (I got cut from the team), but for that brief moment, I shook them up.

Another defining moment in my life happened during the capstone course when I was going for my Master’s degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The six members of our team were presenting a business case to a panel of college professors. I forgot exactly what portion of our business strategy I was presenting, but when I got up to the podium, I felt this confidence come over me. I made it through my presentation without any mistakes – clean, concise, and easy to comprehend for the panel members.

After some discussion between our team and the panel after the last presenter, the professors signed off on our presentation, and for the rest of the afternoon, we celebrated our success at the nearest Hoboken watering hole.

Another example -- a couple of years ago, I gave a presentation to a group of information security officers on the subject of contract security. I had been the first information security officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Technology Acquisition Center, and my old bosses invited me back to share my experiences in how to administer contracts when dealing with contractors, security clearances and privacy issues. It was an important presentation, one that I believe helped me get a promotion recently within the VA.

Defining moments don't have to be all serious. Some are hysterical. When I spoke at my dad’s 70th birthday party, he was just about to start chemotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I knew he needed a quick laugh. So what did I do? I got up and made fun of myself. I talked about how I didn’t like manual labor, how I didn’t like to get my hands dirty. The audience ate it up. My dad loved it. For that one moment, I believed I made him forget what he was about to go through.

Another great moment was when I got up at a fire department dinner and sang "Soul Man", complete with impromptu dance moves and Ray Ban sunglasses a la John Belushi. The audience couldn't get enough.

One final defining moment was when I graduated with my master's degree in May 1999. I felt like a million bucks walking up to the college president to accept my diploma. I purposely took my daughter out of school that day so she could see for herself how hard work pays off, and that with an education, all things in life are possible.

Defining moments are rare but can change the course of personal history in an instant. It's with that in mind that I often wonder if anyone realizes how special those moments that people experience in their lives really are.

Here's hoping that the New Year brings many special moments into each one of your lives.

(You can also follow Kevin Cieri's blog on his Facebook page, "Jersey Shore Retro" as well as on Twitter @jsretro).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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