The name Ian in Scottish Gaelic means, Gift of God, God’s Gift.
This past July I had the opportunity to go back to a place where a very special opportunity presented itself to me when I was a young man of 26 years of age.
I once again visited the place, Palm Beach, Florida for a special occasion, the celebration of Mr. Ian’s 70th birthday. Many of Ian’s friends celebrated with him and many of them also had July birthdays.
Returning to Palm Beach after 14 years was surreal. I met many new people but was glad to see many familiar faces. I drove all the familiar and unchanged streets and reminisced about the times spent living and working here. I just wanted to soak up all the familiar places and memories.
Prior to attending Ian’s celebration, I wondered what in the world could I possibly do for such a very successful man who specifically requested that no gifts be given. I’m so thankful that the thought occurred to take my camera and do my best to capture the setting and this special evening with Ian. (Click for video)
So the perfect elegant setting for this celebration was in the magnificent Via Mizner off of Worth Ave. The party was fantastic, fun and filled with joy and happiness for all.
After the party ended, I sat in my car and I actually experienced parts of my life flashing before my eyes. I realized just how accurate the definition of Ian’s name was, especially as it related to me. In reality, Ian is a Gift of God and was God’s Gift to me.
Ian hired me in the fall of 2001 when our world appeared to be in shambles. The September 11 attacks had just taken place and unrest and panic had set in and no one was hiring. I had recently made a transition from my yachting lifestyle to try my hand at being a landlubber because, in reality, I was in hot pursuit of a beautiful blonde that had stolen my heart.
The opportunity given to me by Mr. Ian and that was being an employee and working for him. This job had many facets. It included running his private estate on the island, accounting for what his many workers around the properties were doing, and attending to owners who leased Mr. Ian’s luxurious stores located at his magnificent property on Worth Avenue. I also would be involved in some oversight of property renovations throughout Palm Beach, dealing with material orders, working with different vendors for repairs and replacements and making sure all was simpatico with historic architectural review boards. There was a slew of projects that were always ongoing. Mr. Ian, a visionary that loved controlled chaos, was always up for a great challenge.
One of the most important jobs that Ian ever gave to me was the one I performed at the beginning and end of each day. I walked his two prized Portuguese Water Dogs, who were also his pride and joy. These daily walks with the two dogs were a hoot and an adventure in itself. As I said, they were Ian’s pride & joy so I actually had to go through training on how to listen to them and know their commands.
Along with this amazing job came an unbelievable and amazing perk. I actually was able to live in one of the properties that Ian planned to renovate. It was the coolest 1920’s Moroccan style house and was like something out of a movie. (See photo)
As you can imagine the opportunity to work with such a successful man as Ian was unbelievable and on the outside seemed like I landed the perfect dream job.
But in all honesty, it was a tough time. I was challenged in so many ways during this season of my life because some things were working out and others were a huge struggle. I was personally stretched by the decision I made to work for Mr. Ian because at times I really didn’t know what I was doing. But I must admit that my professionalism and knowledge grew tremendously because of the level of responsibility I was given and trusted with.
Looking back, I remember working hard and trying to learn as much as possible, continually fighting the feeling that I didn’t fit in with the wealth and opulence of Palm Beach, and a constant push to figure out my personal life and if in fact I was on the right path for my life and my dreams.
I do recall everyone saying it would all work out even when things were not working out.
Now let’s fast-forward 14 years later. I have been happily married to the very beautiful blonde who I proposed to on a pier overlooking Palm Beach during the time in my life when I worked for Ian. We now have two amazingly beautiful and perfect children. We as a family attend church together. I have an ever growing and successful Real Estate Company and a KEAN business sense and continue to expand my properties.
I know with all my heart that as we are on the journey to propel our dream, we don’t do it alone. The folks that helped create the opportunities need be remembered and lifted up. They need to be recognized and thanked for the growth and development they provided in order for you to achieve your dreams and receive the blessings.
Mr. Ian is truly the Gift of God or God’s Gift in my life. If it weren’t for Mr. Ian I wouldn’t have this beautiful wife and two beautiful children. I would not have been exposed to such a variety of real estate dealings. I would never have been involved in such high end lease agreements and signings. I would not have learned about vendor relationships and working with such a variety of diversified people who cared for his estate and properties. I would not have known the importance of trusting someone and the need for softer skills in handling prized pets. I am forever grateful to Mr. Ian for inviting Stacy, me and my parents to church on Palm Sunday and hearing the pastor say “This is the day that the Lord has made, be happy and rejoice in it”. My list of opportunities that Mr. Ian provided could go on and on. But the main and most important thing on this list is my gratefulness and thankfulness for God’s Gift … Mr. Ian. I am truly a richer man because of the love, respect and friendship of Mr. Ian. This is a wealth that no one can put a price upon. Thank you for each and every opportunity you provided to me and helping me Propel My Dreams.
* Update my Dear Friend Ian lost his battle to Lung Cancer only days after my post, he will be sorely missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing him. Until we meet again Sir, your legacy will carry on.