Category Archives: Mentor
When you are a teenager, working for the first time, it is truly all about the money. Finally, you have some independence from your parents, and can start to buy things for yourself! As you make a little more money and get different jobs through high school, earning money gets even more exciting. The thought of providing any value to others as a teenager does not even register for most. I was part of that group. Then there was a real shift for me when I was 19 years old, thanks to my dad.
I was making $5.25 per hour working at a buffet restaurant in the summer of 1992. I was working a lot because I was off from university for a few months, and the “money was rolling in” (or so I thought). My dad was teaching an adult education class in the evenings, and connected with a man who needed some math upgrading. He was involved in an accident, and had to pursue a new career due to his injuries. The kicker was he needed his high school diploma to qualify for most jobs.
My dad could not commit to doing all the tutoring himself, so he asked if I would help at a rate of $30 per hour.
“$30 PER HOUR?” I said.
“You bet”, said my dad back.
“WHEN DO I START?” I hastily replied.
I was excited because I was going to make more money working with him in two hours a day, then I would make in eight hours per day at the restaurant!
As I started to work with the man, it soon became very clear that it would not be as easy as I thought. Just because I understood math very well, did not mean that my knowledge was going to “rub off on him” as quickly. There were some difficult days at the beginning of the process, but by the end, we were working well together. We gained a mutual respect for each other as time passed. I often caught myself thinking that this guy must have thought that I was a “know-it-all young punk”, but realistically that was not the case. He was in a jam, and I was there to help.
This was a life changing experience for a 19-year-old kid, to realize the value that I provided was much more important than the money I was receiving. It did take a while to get to that place, because all I could think about was the $60 that I made each time I saw him!
In retrospect I would have done it for free, because I changed a life. As I look back now, that is what I remember the most. The memory of the money is only for story telling purposes. I helped him get back on his feet when something terrible had happened. As a 19 years old kid, $30 per hour to me then was like $200 per hour today!
In the end, my “compensation” was that he got to start over again, and I played a small part in that.
You are not going to get paid for everything that you do in your life, that is a fact. When you realize that helping others, providing value and not always expecting something in return is a great way to live your life, it will be a real game changer. It was for me!
- When have you provided value for someone, and not even realized it at the time?
- Do you have the mindset of “what is in it for me?” before deciding if you should help somebody?
- Is it time to start giving unconditionally?
Three months ago my wife came to me with a 70th birthday gift idea for my dad. A friend of ours solicited email and written letter memories/greetings for her mom’s 70th birthday celebration, and it was a huge success. The goal was to get 70 submissions for 70 years. She suggested that concept for my dad as well, and my sister and I jumped all over it!
It has been an incredible journey, and a lot of hard work pulling everything together, but I would do it again in a second! The response was overwhelming! The last count of submissions was well in excess of 80! We were blown away. This was not surprising because of my dad’s vast network. But people lead busy lives, and don’t drop everything for just anyone. Many of the letters were between one and two pages long. A lot of time was put in to this by many people who dad has affected in very positive ways over the years.
Friends, family, colleagues, students, neighbors and babies (yes my six month old son Rowan even contributed) all took the time to write emails, mail letters, cards and even old pictures.
There are many take aways from reading the submissions, but I want to focus on the most important one that I identified over and over again.
He has mattered in so many ways to people for the little things that he did; he may not have even known the positive effect that he had when he was doing those things. People appreciated those things more than he could ever know, and wanted to say thanks again. His support for students in the classroom, or in the gym during phys ed class (and in competition) have inspired generations of great professionals, and more importantly great people. His love and support for family and friends was discussed in great lengths by many too.
I know for a fact that he did not lend an ear when people just needed somebody to talk to, or picked kids up for volleyball practice because it was too early for buses to run, or voiced an opinion for a son or daughter who may have needed a little guidance because he expected something in return. He just did all of those things to be there for them, and never thought twice because he just loves to help others.
And you can too! So often we undervalue what we can do for friends, family or colleagues, but those little things truly do matter. We tend to get so self-absorbed getting through the day, we tend to forget the positive effect that we can have on others.
A smile, a helping hand, or a bit of advice can mean the world to someone when they feel like they are all alone.
The best thing that dad gives us every day is laughter. There has been a magnet on my parents fridge forever that says “Laughter Is The Best Medicine”.
So take that for what it is worth. Enjoy every day and help out when possible!
My dad continues to do so, and that is why he is so loved by all those who know him!
I was working at my first job out of university and was having a blast. But it was tough – long hours, cold weather and demanding work. I was on an awesome team and learned a lot every day.
I don’t remember if I received an annual performance review, but I remember being at the office one day thinking,
“I wonder if my boss thinks I am doing a good job?”
Within a few days a co-worker came up to me and said that the manager had mentioned to him that I was doing a great job.
To this day, I still remember the incredible feeling of satisfaction. It was instant validation for all the hard work that I had put in. The funny thing was that it was not even said directly to me!
You can make a difference with your team or coworkers.
- A simple thank you
- A pat on the back
- A special mention at a meeting
- Treat them to lunch or a refreshment after work
- You could even get wild and crazy and let them leave early on a hot summer’s day!
None of this is reinventing the wheel. People just want to be recognized for their efforts. Making them feel appreciate will go along way for them sticking around and having long prosperous careers with your organization.
Broc Edward book “What Thinks You” has been sitting on my nightstand for some time. I have enjoyed it for the past few weeks.
I keep gravitating back to one particular post, and I finally wanted to share with my audience.
We love ice cream at our house, so it is easy to compare life to ice cream flavours.
What flavours do you like? Better yet what flavours best describe your life, personally and professionally?
Enjoy the post! I would love to hear what you think.
Happy 4th of July to all of my American friends!
Today marks the 70th birthday for the original “Moosh” and I wanted to share with my network how awesome he is.
Dad taught elementary and high school for well over 30 years, then finished his career running a co-operative education program at a local university. He also helped fine tune an “intro to university” course that all students had to take in their first year, and did an outstanding job preparing them for the real world of post secondary education.
But beyond that he has been a tremendous father/grandpa (Gigi)/brother/uncle, friend to many and has lit up every room that he has walked in to throughout his life.
Although we have lived in different cities for 13 years, we make the most of the time our families have together.
We laugh, joke and have fun as often as we can. Life can throw us curve balls, but dad always keeps things in perspective and sees the positive in every situation.
He loves his four grandchildren, my mom, and the rest of our family to pieces, and has been a very popular figure in his community for more than 45 years now!
We tend to put things off sometimes in life for whatever our reasons are. But I recently said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (thanks to my sister’s idea)!
Myself, Dad, my brother-in-law and his Dad are off to a boys weekend in Minneapolis over the 4th of July week. We will be seeing two Minnesota Twins baseball games against the New York Yankees.
What a thrill that will be to finally get away with him!
All the best dad for reaching this noteworthy milestone.
You are truly one of a kind!
Everyone develops leadership qualities personally and professionally in different ways. Many people may not even aspire to be leaders, but “accidentally” end up being role models for others.
You can become a leader very early in your career. It does not necessarily mean that you are a loud “rah rah” person. You don’t have to run around the office “high fiving” everyone, or be super enthusiastic every minute of the day!
I have been very interested in sports leadership for years, and the one who set the bar the highest in hockey since the early 1980’s was Mark Messier. Not only was he known for winning 5 championships, his fierce competitiveness, and leadership qualities, but he was confident. Those who follow hockey closely will remember when he guaranteed victory in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs while playing for the New York Rangers. Not only did they win that game, but they won it all for the first time in 54 years!
For every Mark Messier, there are many others who quietly lead by example in sports, business, and every day life. I always love the comment,
“They don’t speak up very often, but when they do everyone stops in their tracks to listen.”
Those quiet people are also leading and providing great value.
When I first got in to business, my perception of leadership was very one-sided. I thought that managers and executive management were the only ones who were leaders. Many of them did motivate and inspire their teams, but others unfortunately did not understand the importance of being a positive influence on others.
You can start showing leadership qualities from the moment you start a new role. Focus on things like:
- Care about the job that you are doing, your customers, and everyone around you
- Having a strong work ethic, and becoming a “go to employee”
- Being the type of person that others want to be around
- Doing the “little things”, and being attentive to details
- Doing more than is expected of you
- “That is not my job” is not in your vocabulary
- Taking advice and criticism as a professional
- Being open to learning
- Supporting team mates and encouraging them
- Celebrating their wins, and supporting their losses
- Being enthusiastic & positive
- Having lots of energy
Before you know it, people will start to look up to you and aspire to be like you. They notice that you have taken steps forward and have become promotable sooner than most.
Everyone has leadership qualities in some way, shape or form. The million dollar questions are:
- Are you using them? And better yet…
- Do you want to use them?
Take stock of how you are leading now, and how you may want to lead in the future.
Shhhh… I will tell you a little secret.
You might actually like it if you don’t already!
I love lists. I love countdowns. It started with me listening to the “Top 10 at 10” songs on a local AM radio station as a kid, and eventually a variation was born called the “Top 6 at 6”. From there, countdowns seemed to be all over the place. There were tv shows in the 1980’s that counted down the top music videos of the week, and eventually sports shows counted down the best plays of the day, week and eventually year.
When I started to get involved with social media and conducted research on the internet, I realized that lists were prominent there too. I saw one problem. Many of the lists were 10, 25, 50 or even 100 items long! I had no issue with that until I realized that I always got distracted and never finished the lists.
So I felt the need to chime in on the “list phenomenon”, but with my own twist. It will be called,
“The Five Star 5”
I will include my favourites from a specific category, but each list will only be 5 entries long. The difficult part of course is narrowing down some decisions to 5, but that is the beauty of the short, concise list. I want each list to be impactful, short and sweet.
These were the first five people that I followed in the sales space, and I am sure glad that I did. If you are following them already, fantastic! If not, consider this a solid recommendation and follow them at once!
I will note their Twitter names and websites as points of reference:
Paul Castain – Your Sales Playbook; @PaulCastain
Dan Waldschmidt – Edgy Conversations; @DanWaldo
S. Anthony Iannarino – The Sales Blog; @Iannarino
Kelley Robertson – Fearless Selling; @FearlessSelling
Mark Hunter – The Sales Hunter; @TheSalesHunter
Enjoy this list. These guys are awesome!