Yesterday I lost my friend and mentor Trey Pennington. I’ve been asking myself for the past 24 hours how someone with a 100,000+ acquaintances could have felt so lost and dark that they would take their life.

In the fall of 2009 I met someone who took the time to hear my story and to tell me what he honestly thought about it. Trey took the time to tell me numbers mean nothing in the world of marketing.

As we were parting ways that night he said to me “Justin take the time to ask about every person you meet.

Why am I glad this person is on the planet?

Take the time to answer their questions: take it from your mind, put it into words, and give those words to that person.”

That person was Trey Pennington.

A few months later my friend Gary and I put on a Social Media class for local businesses. To say that I was excited would be a understatement of grand proportions. I nearly backed out a few days later when I found out that Trey would also be speaking.

I don’t remember much about that night. But I do remember siting at the table in the back of the room talking to Trey about life, kids and social media. Like always he encouraged me to shine my spotlight on those around me and to help them tell their story. I’ll never forget him saying to me Justin:

“Use whatever gifts you have to help other people accomplish their dreams. If you help other people get what they want, you’ll have all the influence you’ll need.”

On Saturday Trey and I had another quick chat about life and our children. Trey asked me more than once if my kids knew that I loved them. I thought it was odd, but I always responded: “Yeah but I could do a better job showing them!”

What I would do to go back and have that chat again. The things I would ask. The things I would say… Since I can’t I’m committed more than ever to put what he taught me to work. I’m commented to see more people around me see their dreams come true and to help them live the life they want.

Trey, I’m thankful that I was one of the people who can say that they truly knew you. I’m deeply sorry that your life was so full of pain and hurt that you felt you needed to end it. Though you must have felt no one cared, you have have forever changed my life.