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Alexia’s Legacy: You Can Be a Friend and a Leader

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Alexia had the best blend of fun and work. Anytime it was late and I was tucked away in my stairwell getting my work done, I would look forward to seeing her on rounds because she was a fantastic one for banter. At the same time, when she laid down a rule or reminded me of one, she meant it. It wasn’t ever overtly harsh, just firm, and she managed to still be the person I bantered with. It isn’t easy to carry yourself that way; she rocked it, and I really admired it. She was always ready to smile and laugh with me, and that helped me feel more at home in Honors than I would have otherwise.

Her work ethic was incredible; a few times I tried to get her into tea because she was sick and at the desk – not even because she was working, but just because she felt the need to study. She took incredible notes; they were full blown color-coordinated notes, and she didn’t mind my curious questions and examinations thereof. When she worked, she really worked. Dedication is a virtue, and she had it in spades. I could never convince her to really like tea but she was always game to try my new blends.

I would never say her last name right, on purpose, because it was so much ridiculous fun for me to find new convoluted ways to say it. It was a little game we had, trying to one-up each other with jokes or jibes, and it never felt mean. Her badinage was one of my favorite things about Honors. Jena

 

Alexia was a true, kind, and beautiful friend. She was an inspiration for me daily and watching the way she approached life taught me how to believe in myself when it seemed impossible for me to do so. In some of my darkest hours she could pull me through by just being there. I feel truly blessed knowing my sweet friend, for all of our wonderful memories and for her sharing her heart with me.          Ashley Dixon

 

This year for Christmas, Alexia gathered the five of us girls together; her, Caitlin, Shannon, Kristen, and I, to give us all our Christmas presents. She told us how important we were to her, and that this was our last semester being RA’s and all living on campus together. She, Shannon, and Kristen would be in apartments, Caitlin would be graduated, and I’d hopefully be at Disney (I didn’t know if I’d get it at the time, but she always had faith in me.) She gave us all matching bracelets that say, “love much…laugh often…LIVE WELL”; so we’d always remember our friendship and being together. Alexia was selfless and always put others first. I am only one of hundreds of people who had their lives touched by Alexia. She always went out of her way to help others.      Suzanne Peterson

 

Lesson: You can be a friend and a leader.

Leadership is not about separating yourself from others; it is about becoming an integral part of the team. The more friendships you have on the team, the better your chance of influencing its direction. Your friends become a coalition of leaders who share common goals and values. They can lead when their strengths are needed and you can lead when your strengths are more helpful. You will trust your friends and they will trust you which will help move initiatives forward, even when the outcome is uncertain. Your friends will be more honest with you about what the team needs and how you can become a better leader.

Also, people want to know their leaders care about them. They want to follow leaders they like and admire. Be the best person you can be, so you will stand out and earn the right to lead, but don’t forget that includes being a real friend to others and helping them grow and improve as well. You will be happier and more fulfilled as a leader if you nurture your friendships and make them a key part of the team’s success.

Opportunity: Identify those on your team who need a friend.

 

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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Start Strong

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

“I never knew Alexia but now I will never forget the lessons I have learned from her within the pages of this book. Like so many others, she has now touched my soul as well.”  5 Start Review from Julie Baswell

 

Lesson #24 – Being Organized Helps You Start Strong

First Day of the Semester

Ray,

Today has been quite the day! Besides a few morning sessions and opening the hall today, I gathered and prepared all my books and materials for the semester, signed up for the March 3rd GMAT, and signed up for the June 9th LSAT. I am feeling pretty good about today!

I just finished journaling and am off to get some rest before what will hopefully be another very productive day tomorrow!

Talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

Lesson: Being organized helps you start strong.

The next time you start a project, school semester, or job, you can walk in flustered and worried or you can take the time to prepare and organize so that you begin strong and confident. Take some time to do a little research and planning up front. Clarify your priorities and what you want to get done on the first day. Start with a rough outline of what you want to accomplish in the first week. Rather than worrying and fretting about what you don’t know, make a plan around what you do know. Make a list of questions you need answered or a list of topics you want to learn more about. Getting organized will help you start with confidence and curiosity. It will help you approach new adventures with strength and leadership rather than fear and trepidation.

You can’t eliminate the fear of the unknown in a new setting. You can only build confidence in your ability to face it and survive. The fear is there to help your body prepare for the unfamiliar. It is a signal that you are doing something exciting and outside of your comfort zone. Get organized to help reduce the fear and set you on the right track, but don’t expect or even try to eliminate all your fear. Embrace it and let it motivate you to become better.

Opportunity: Don’t wait for a new job or a new semester. Monday is the beginning of a new day. Get organized so you can begin the week with confidence.

 

 

 

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Alexia’s Legacy: Introduction

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

“I never knew Alexia but now I will never forget the lessons I have learned from her within the pages of this book. Like so many others, she has now touched my soul as well.”  5 Start Review from Julie Baswell

 

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Introduction

On June 15th, 2014, Father’s Day, the unthinkable happened – that moment in your life that you can never imagine, except in your worst nightmares. Alexia Ardeleanu, a beautiful young lady with unlimited potential was suddenly and tragically taken from us by a drunk driver. The drunk driver who killed her was driving 82 miles an hour when she plowed into Alexia’s car and others that were stopped at a stoplight in Houston, Texas.

We spent a lot of time crying and still want to cry every time we think about it. But we have chosen instead to honor her memory. We want to share the lessons she taught us and we feel she would have taught others, if she had been given the time. Alexia was special in what she accomplished and in how she lived her life. She had a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average in a double major of Accounting and Finance at the University of North Texas. She had taken her GMAT and was working on her LSAT so she could get double graduate degrees in Law and an MBA. She was successful in her job and was a campus leader. She was a Resident Assistant, had won multiple scholarships, and was President of the University of North Texas Professional Leadership Program. But most importantly she was a wonderful friend, daughter, and servant leader. She was special because of her daily focus on the important things in her life and how she unconditionally gave to others.

We want to emphasize that she was not perfect and that was what made her special. The leadership lessons we learned from Alexia are techniques anyone can learn and apply. She was not successful because of natural gifts; she was successful because she made choices every day that led her to be successful and a true servant leader. Our goal in this book is to share her real life examples and choices so you can learn how to make these lessons work for you. We hope that you can see the obstacles and challenges all successful people face and can learn how to persevere and live a life of happiness, success, and servant leadership.

Note from co-author Ray White:

I was lucky enough to be a mentor for Alexia; and as in most of my Mentor/Mentee relationships, I definitely learned as much from her as she did from me. In this book you will see a lot of emails addressed to me from Alexia. Our relationship included daily updates about how she was doing and whether she was on track for reaching the goals in her life and more importantly being happy and successful. We focused a lot on making sure she made taking care of herself a priority and took time for the actions necessary to keep her healthy and happy so she would have the energy be a successful servant leader for others. These emails are a great way to capture what she was thinking and what was really going on in her life. They give us the opportunity to not only see the important characteristics of a good leader but also to observe the concerns, challenges and imperfections as well.

We have structured this book to show real life examples from Alexia or people she interacted with, a summary of the lesson, and then an opportunity to help you reflect and improve on your related leadership skills.

We hope you enjoy the book and learn the reality about how you can be a servant leader who is both successful and happy.

 

 

 

 

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In Memory of Alexia Who Would Have Graduated Summa Cum Laude From UNT this Weekend

Alexia blue dress

Buy the Book:  Alexia’s Legacy: Lessons for Leadership and Life

Profits benefit the Alexia Ardeleanu Memorial Fund. Help us preserve Alexia’s memory so her example can shine through for the rest of the world. You can donate at https://one.unt.edu/alexia.

 

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Re-Post: Don’t Cry For Alexia

Don’t cry for Alexia, she is in a far better place now. Cry for our loss of a wonderful young lady who had a talent for positively impacting the lives of others. Cry for our pain and deep sense of grief that threatens to overwhelm us and seems like it will be with us forever. But don’t cry for Alexia. Instead, let’s honor her memory. Let’s make others’ lives better just as she has made ours better.

Alexia loved and respected her parents. She never showed entitlement or animosity like so many young people in all generations have done. When her dad was in the hospital for surgery, she worried about him and made time to be home and help him recover. She never spoke of it as a burden or duty, but as an opportunity to help someone she loved and respected. She was so excited about her mother’s new job, because she knew how much less stress the better hours and weekends off would provide for her mom. She appreciated all the time and investment her parents made in helping her get her education and succeed in life. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her memory by loving and respecting your parents.

Alexia was proud of her brother. She told me “He is different than me, but he has found his path and I am so happy for him.” She talked about and embraced his diversity rather than judging his differences. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by embracing the diversity of all our brothers and sisters. Support them and help them succeed at being them rather than asking them to be like us.

Alexia pursued excellence for noble reasons. Alexia studied hard and took classes to get great scores on her GMAT and LSAT, even while she was taking a full course load and working two jobs. I quizzed her about her motivation to work so hard, asking about the usual assumptions of getting good scores, to get into a good college, to get a great job, so eventually she could be rich and successful. But that was not her plan at all. She wanted high scores so she could get scholarships, so her parents would not have the extra burden of paying for her graduate school. Her plan B was to take a few years off and work to save money to pay for her extra schooling. Alexia owned her excellent outcomes. She made them happen and greatly appreciated rather than expected the help she got along the way. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by creating excellence in your life and not placing the burden on others.

Alexia made her work more than a job. Alexia didn’t want to just have a job as a Resident’s Assistant. We talked several times about how she wanted to work with her RA team to become the best dorm on campus. She wanted to impact the residents’ lives and provide a wonderful experience. Alexia didn’t just do a job; she brought her heart and passion to her work to create a fulfilling experience. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by creating purpose in your work and finding fulfillment in how you can help others.

Alexia implemented change. I work with many students and offer tips to help them be happier and more successful. I consider it a win if 2 of the 10 tips I offer are implemented. Small changes can make a big difference in people’s lives. Alexia implemented every tip I ever offered. She implemented them with excitement and vigor and shared them with her friends. She constantly worked to improve her life and make it better. Then she reached out and helped others improve their lives. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by making changes to make your life better, and along the way help someone else make their life better.

I don’t cry for Alexia. I know she is in a better place. I cry for my loss and my pain and my deep sadness. But I know that soon I will get past this grief and work to honor Alexia. I will learn from her example and try to be half the person she has taught us to be. Alexia led by example. She loved and respected her parents, embraced the diversity of her brothers and sisters, pursued excellence for noble reasons, turned a job into a fulfilling part of her life, and implemented changes to continuously make her life and the lives of others better.

Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her memory.

 

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.