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?
Carol Blair recently spoke at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute event that I attended.
She outlined 5 FANTASTIC leadership goals:
- Pursue purpose with passion
- Practice solid values
- Lead with your heart
- Establish lasting relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline
- What do you think of this list?
- Would you add anything to it?
If you are an up and coming leader, this is a great list to focus on. If you are a well established leader, hopefully this helps take your “leading-abilities” to the next level.
You can find Carol at:
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 never thought being an assistant coach for my son’s six-year-old hockey team would be easy, but there is more to it then I thought!
I have learned many leadership lessons from the experience, and here are my favourites:
- Patience – Many of these kids still sleep with teddy bears. They are very young and their development takes time
- Encouragement – “High-Fives, pats on the back, and a “great job” goes a long way for their confidence
- Focus On The Positive – We tend to focus on what is being done wrong, that we sometimes forget to reward what is being done right
- “Sandwich Method” – Put a suggestion for an area of improvement between two positive comments
- SMILE – Then laugh with them, and make them feel comfortable. It is truly about having fun, developing skills, and learning what it means to be part of a team
As I was writing this, I realized many of these points can be related to managing in the corporate world, or business in general. At least, I thought I could inspire other coaches who may need some new perspective!
If kids are not inspired by their coaches, there are many other activities that they can do these days. Each interaction with them is critical to building that connection.
Is it time to tweak your coaching, managing or general leading philosophies?
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!