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!
A short time ago, I received a special gift from somebody that I admire greatly. It was totally unexpected, but I was very grateful for the gesture. Some people just think “give first”, and those people have it figured out. In this case I am certain that it is not a business strategy, rather it is just who he is.
The gentlemen’s name is Bob Burg. I did not ask him for anything; we had just been having dialog about an online purchase I had recently made of one of his audio cds. In return, I got a very unexpected gift. And I LOVE telling the story now.
A couple of weeks back, I spoke to another “giver”, Mr. Paul Castain. Of course, I told the story about what Bob had done for me. Paul’s response,
“Tim, I have heard one thousand of those stories about Bob”.
My only response was “WOW”.
I need to be clear about something. When I use the phrase “give-first mentality”, I don’t mean to give everything away for free. Last time I looked, businesses are developed to drive revenue, but hopefully change lives for the better as well.
The “extract value from people as soon as possible so you can ride off in to the sunset” strategy does not sit well with me. I truly believe if you “give-first”, good things will happen for you.
Don’t kid yourself, those who are paying attention know who the “value extractors” and the “value givers” are. Everyone claims to understand this concept, but do they really?
Here is one of my favourite quotes from Bob Burg:
“All the great fortunes in the world have been created by men and women who had a greater passion for what they were giving – their product, service or idea – than for what they were getting. And many of those great fortunes have been squandered by others who had a greater passion for what they were getting than what they were giving.”
You can check out Bob’s fantastic content (especially his new book “Adversaries Into Allies”) over at: