Tag Archives: Love

Life Secret: Givers are Getters

I was visiting a friend in the hospital. I would love to tell you I was there because that’s just the kind of guy I am: one who visits others in the hospital, but that would be a lie. Truth be told, I had been having quite a pity party for myself. I had just lost my largest customer to a competitor, my retirement investments had taken a major hit in the market, I was worried about having to let some employees go in a bad economy, my car had logged 200,000 miles and was making funny noises, my son was developing a real attitude (and growing a Mohawk) – you get the idea.

While griping about all of this at a family gathering, my ever-wise mother-in-law looked me square in the eye and said, “David, sounds like you need to get your eyes off yourself.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Whenever I feel down, I just go and find somebody who is worse off than me, and I help them in some way,” she said. “You know what happens? My problems seem to shrink and I become very grateful for my blessings.”

Her words became the motivation to go to the hospital to visit a friend who was recovering from an illness. While I was there, a nurse came into the room and asked me to step out for a few minutes so she could take care of some tasks. I didn’t even want to know what that might entail – bedpans, bandages, and blood are all things I will gladly avoid.

So I began to roam the halls of the hospital. I wandered past the over-priced gift shop and meandered by the cafeteria. Eventually, I stumbled upon the interfaith chapel.

I pushed open the door, adorned with stained glass, and peeked inside. It was empty, so I stepped in. There was soft music playing, several rows of chairs, an altar with a kneeling pad, and a cross on the front wall with a table below it. On the table was a basket full of little cards upon which people had written their prayers.

Like a moth to light, I was drawn to the cards in the basket. I felt a little guilty as I picked one up, but I began to read it anyway: “If there is any way you can heal my baby, please, I beg you, do it.”

I picked up another: “Please take this away from my wife and give it to me.”

Card after card I read, my heart aching for people I would never know. Tears began to stream down my face as I continued to read. And then I came across a card I will never forget. Scrawled with a blue crayon were these words:

“Dear God, Please let Mommy live until Christmas. Love, Jenny”

My mother-in-law was right. Suddenly, I didn’t have any problems. I thought I had gone to the hospital to “help” someone else who was worse off than me, you know, to “give” of myself. And while my friend was touched that I had come to wish him well, I was the one who came away from the visit full. I received way more than I gave. That’s the secret that all givers know…in giving, you get.

First Impressions

I was running errands one Saturday afternoon and found myself at one of those “oil change in a box” places.  As a hardcore people watcher, establishments like this are a virtual buffet of humanity, and I always enjoy observing people from all walks of life drawn together for one purpose…getting their oil changed.

When I walked into the waiting area, I was not disappointed. Already parked in uncomfortable folding chairs placed way too close together was an eclectic group: a cute college coed in her University of Georgia sweatshirt, a granddad with his rambunctious grandson, a Mohawk sporting tattooed twenty-something guy, a thirty-something mom (complete with mini van), and me.

In our little slice of humanity we had different generations, genders, and races.  We had gray hair, colored hair, and spiky hair.  I love to watch how people interact with each other in environments like this (or pretend not to see anyone else in the room).

Now, in my line of work, I find myself interacting with all kinds of people and try very hard not to jump to false assumptions about them based on “surfacy” things like hair style, skin color, clothing choices, etc. and usually do a pretty good job.

But “Mr. Mohawk” left little room for misinterpretation…emblazoned across the front of his sleeveless t-shirt was the phrase “LOVE IS FOR LOSERS”.  Instantly, I had him pegged as a tough, shallow, one-night stand kind of guy who has a hard heart and a fear of commitment.

I wrote him off and studied the others.  But I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. He was quite anxious and agitated and kept getting up to check the status of his car. I found myself thinking, “What are you in such a hurry for, loser?” When the oil change guy said they were working as fast as they could, Mr. Tattoo said, “I’m sorry, I am cutting it close to making my tennis match.”  Then little Miss UGA told him to relax! This was getting good!

It was then that I noticed his muscular legs, his right arm was bigger than his left arm, their was a wedding ring on his finger, and that, oh yeah, little Miss UGA was actually his wife!!!

“Love is for losers” instantly made sense. This guy was a serious tennis player and, in tennis, the word love equals zero. If at the end of a game your score is love…you are the loser!

My first impression of him had been completely off base.  I had jumped to totally wrong conclusions. How easy it had been for me to misjudge him.

Be aware of first impressions and realize they may be made on inaccurate or incomplete information.

Got Passion?

My father taught me many great life principles. One of the best things about growing up in the home of a training consultant is that my Dad believed “if it will work at the kitchen table, it will work at the conference table” and he tried out many of his lessons on us before he introduced them to his corporate clients. Now, not everything he taught me was suitable for the workplace (belching at will comes to mind), but still many of the lessons I learned as a boy remain with me today.

Passion is one of those lessons. I can remember, like it was yesterday, my father telling me, “David, figure out what you love to do, and then figure out how to get paid to do it, and you will never work a day in your life.” I did not fully understand it as a boy, but I have seen it to be true the older I get.

I love being a speaker…I mean, I love it!!! I will never retire. People often ask me when I think I will come off the road and stop speaking … I tell them never! I mean why would I stop doing something I love only to try and fill my days doing things I don’t enjoy as much as speaking? That does not make sense to me. I am one of those in life who is truly doing what I was created to do…and, sadly, we are rare.

So, how ‘bout you? Do you love what you are doing? Do you wake up each day filled with anticipation of spending time doing that which you so enjoy? If not, why not?

This past week I met so many people who, in their 40s and 50s, have just now started doing that which “lights their fire”. These were mostly second or third career individuals who had left great jobs because they weren’t fulfilled. What did they move to…teaching! Not only are they happier, but their families are too. And get this, most of them took big paycuts as an added bonus!

Are their jobs perfect? No.
Is there a perfect job? No.

There are aspects of any job that don’t excite us. For me, I get tired of all the time I spend alone on the road, the frustrations of air travel, eating by myself in restaurants, and sleeping in strange beds just to name a few.

But the folks I have met recently seemed to be so fulfilled in their careers. I’ve met software engineers, military personnel, R & D scientists, and others who found themselves simply “going through the motions” of their daily life. It was refreshing to speak with them and see the excitement they now have for their work. One former high paid, big oil engineer said, “I enjoy trying to be a good teacher much more than not caring about being a good engineer.”

So, follow your passion and enjoy your work…you certainly spend a lot of time there. You deserve it!

To Some it’s Not “Just School”


This is the time of year when virtually every school system in the nation is gearing up for the start of a brand new year. I have the both the privilege and the opportunity to be the Convocation speaker at many of these events.

At one of those beginning of the year kickoffs this week I had a conversation with a lifelong educator who relayed this story to me.

She had been having a conversation with a student one day on the subject of year round school. The student had asked her if she was in favor of it. This teacher, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, jokingly replied, “Oh, no! I don’t think I could put up with you all summer long!” They both shared a laugh but then the student said, “I’m for it.”

This teacher was surprised and asked him, “Are you serious?”

“Yep. I’d come every day if I could.” he said.

“Oh come on…even Christmas?” she asked.

“Sure would. Even Christmas.”

She pressed him, “But why?”

His answer is one that she has not forgotten in years, “Because here, I can eat. I am warm. And somebody cares about me.”

I submit that this little guy is probably speaking for thousands of young people who feel the same way. So to all you teachers and administrators out there, remember school might be the very best part of your students’ life. Take good care of them.