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Educator Ani Shabazian is a Doer of Good and Gratefulness

In every interview, I ask mostly the same questions.  The following I always save for last.  Bucket list-like questions, without the morbid thoughts of death.  Rather, how best to take advantage of the next day, week, year, and ones lifetime.  A number of themes have come up from all the doers, including calling a friend, traveling or doing something that scares you.  Ani had her own special take to these questions.
What would you encourage people to do once in their lives?

  • Live in another country.

Within the next year?

  • Travel to a place where you don’t speak the language.

Within the next week?

  • Confront a fear (big or small).

I especially enjoyed her last response to the question, what would you encourage people do today.

  •  “Practice Gratitude: At the end of each day write down at least one thing for which you are grateful for.  Sadly, most of us rarely practice gratitude on a regular basis.  We often end our day by looking at our to do list and what we didn’t get done instead of what did get done and also learn to recognize our big or small victories.   I really believe that when you recognize and acknowledge what you are grateful for it makes you happier and helps re-wire your brain to be cognizant of the all the good things happening in your life.”

I don’t know about you, but I know there are more days than not that I look at my to do list, and not counting my blessing.   Funny how quickly those practices fall out of routine.  Ani’s interview rekindled this priority and shifted my way of thinking back to gratitude.
The balance of accomplishment for Doers and remaining grounded to their true selves is at the heart of this series.  The women I highlight are not perfect and wouldn’t ever claim to be.  They are genuine and honest enough to recognize that.  However, they have learned many lessons that are applicable to all of us.
I chose Ani for this series because I knew she would be honest.  That she would real in her struggles, just as much as her passions and achievements.  What I admire most about her is that she is humble.  She is so humble she never even used that word to describe herself.  Since meeting her, when she spoke about traveling to Nicaragua it was without boast or brag.  Almost mentioning it quietly, not wanting to draw attention to something that was actually quite amazing!
I also admire how willing she is to offer mentorship and support.  After only a few interactions, Ani was trumpeting my abilities and cheering on my progress.  Female mentors are so critical, at all levels of leadership and age range.  Research on the capacity mentorship has proven the vast significant impact it has on both the mentee and mentor.  It is like sunscreen, a requirement.  Don’t go through your career without at least a strong one.
During our interview Ani mentioned a nugget of wisdom that also struck me.  Perhaps it is where I am in my life, digging my own path, choosing directions each step of the way.  She said,

“We often tend to find security in what is familiar to us, our comfort zone provides us with the illusion of security, and all this is what we know.  Be open and flexible in possibilities. There is a greater plan for life, but there are multiple realities.  So, I have learned to be open and things will come to you.”

Thank you Ani.  Oh the pressures we can put on ourselves to make the perfect decisions that will lead us to our ‘fate.’  Ani words still ring in my head.  Be open.  Be flexible.  Things will come to you.  Maybe you are in a point in your life that you need to hear this too; hoping to have all the pieces together.  A life plan that is unbreakable.  Remember.  Be open, be flexible and things will come to you.
Many thanks to Ani for her willingness to be part of this series and letting me tell her story.  I miss many things about working at LMU, most of all the people.  I have heard that people make a place and Ani was definitely one of those people for me.  I hope you, as a reader, have at least one of those people where you work or go to school.  Not just a friend, someone you know is looking out for you and your success/wellbeing.  If not, go get one.  Today.  And hopefully you can thank them like I am doing through this interview to Ani.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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