My father, in the last months of his life, donned the Paradise RV hat that he was so proud to wear. He had helped me at every offsite show I did.
One day, he said “hey kid, turn down the TV” and so I did. He went on to tell me how proud he was of me and proud of the accomplishments in my life. I said “Dad, thanks! That’s really nice of you to say”. He then went on to say, “You know kid, I was always proud of you and always knew how hard on yourself that you were. You always tried to beat your brother at everything and anything but never could.” I replied that I wasn’t sure that was really a compliment. He said, “I know when you got pretty good at billiards that you finally thought you had him and I always remembering you constantly razzing him to play you until he finally obliged. I also remember you coming upstairs with that look of disappointment when he would kick your rear end even though he hardly ever played. He said it made you tough and trust me you needed to be tough, because it was never going to be easy for you. I just wanted you to know that you are a true winner, and your mother and I are incredibly proud of everything you have accomplished and achieved in your life.” He continued “I also want you to know you turned out to be the toughest little kid I have ever known, and I love you.”
It was an interesting compliment, but whether or not I really like the storyline, it was true. I had a doctor tell me a couple of weeks ago that in her spiritual life she believed that we choose our parents. If that is true? I definitely did one thing right in my life that has led me down the path I have followed. My father’s sister passed last week and the funeral was Friday. Life is short, but the memories are incredible to reflect upon and those small moments are what make it pretty exciting to get up every day and go out and get your fanny kicked.
As I write my very first blog, I also realize that I’m beginning my 41st year in my sales career. (I started in 1979 at a car dealership on Centennial Boulevard called Godfrey Pontiac and Honda.)
As I work with all of you and I see the plaques and the awards we hand out for those of you who have worked here 25 and 30 years, I realize that’s a plaque that I will never get, and truly something that I wish I could. My life in my record will probably be more like the person that work for the most amount of companies over the longest period of time. Trust me, I never planned on working 41 years of my life let alone living to be 59 years old!
My true love of people comes from my father, who committed his life to criminal rehabilitation and wanting to help those less fortunate find a way out of the penal system; to get a restart in life and a second chance. Those of you that know me know that I lack no stories, and sometimes I’m sure I might just wear a few of you out. But I also know my love of people comes from my father and my desire to see people rise up is a gift that I got from him. When I came to Guaranty I shared a vision that I’ve had for probably almost 30 years.
That vision was to be part of something that was world class. Although I’ve always said I don’t know what it looks like or feels like, I do know that when I get there I’ll know what it is. I also wanted to share that it may seem easy for me to get excited and appear motivated – many times that’s based on my responsibilities to take on a project and simply forge ahead; make those above and around me proud of the job I do in my ability to adapt.
Today there’s a different feeling. It’s a feeling of being surrounded by the most incredible people I’ve ever worked around, having access to the most incredible tools I’ve ever had access to, and to have the support from my supervisors, my boss, and the owner of my dealership that I truly know that this goal is attainable.
Simply said, if any of you could’ve seen how my life – my adolescence and my teenage years – began, I can assure you none of you would’ve ever expected any success or accomplishments coming my way. My life is truly been a byproduct of some incredible opportunities – but more importantly, second chances.
Today if I had one opportunity or thing that I would like to tell all of you is, we all have that chance to do something world class. And although selfishly it might be or it might sound like my goal, I do believe that when we accomplish this all together it will provide a level of pride like none of us have ever felt before. We are all already part of something special and incredible – while it has been left in our hands, it was built by our founder, Herb Nill. This is an incredible opportunity we’ve been entrusted with.
I challenge all of us to take this opportunity with seriousness, devotion, honesty, and with the highest degree of true professional integrity. We can join together and see how far, with a little pushing and nudging from each and every one of us, how far we can all really go. If in the end that equals what we/I consider to be “world-class” so be it; but more importantly, let’s have some fun.
See you at the top,