In the wisdom of Monty Python . . . "But I'm not dead yet!"
Why did I lead with that? Because this month's blogging contest is about life lessons. We are to write about life lessons as well as work lessons.
We all started as babies, so I guess I will take that lead and start with my life lesson first. I am very blessed in that I have experienced so many places and had the ability to do more than most will ever do. My father worked at a Fortune 500 international construction company so I was bounced around the world since I was an embryo. I guess I am one of those "privileged" individuals since I even started Kindergarten in a private school. Mine just happened to be in Saigon, Viet Nam during the war. Then we moved to Seoul Korea, North Dakota, Hawaii, California, Idaho, and then I graduated from high school in Iran as the very last graduating class of that school since it was shut down during the overthrow of the Shah in December 1978.
I started college at Boise State University at the age of 18. It was a challenge getting past their admitting department since I didn't have formal transcripts. The Admin Office told me to just contact my school superintendent and he could get me a copy. When I told them that wasn't possible because he was a hostage, they didn't know how to reply! They ultimately said to bring my SAT or ACT test results. I informed them that wasn't possible either since those are done in the spring and I was fortunate to have graduated a semester early. I went home and got a copy of my PSAT scores and informed them that this exam was to help show what I needed to study to do well on the SAT. I was a bit arrogant when I told them "with these grades, I really don't need to study for the SAT". Fortunately, they let me in.
A few years later, I was offered a great job in Kuwait. However, the Iraqi's decided that was the time they should invade, so the job was cancelled. Wait a semester and go back to BSU.
The next year, I was offered a job in Saudi Arabia. The day before I was supposed to leave Boise, I get notified of a complication. The Saudi's decided that since most of the problems with foreign nationals in their country were caused by men between the ages of 15 and 25, they quit giving visa's to that age bracket! Crap, wait another semester and go back to BSU again!
All of this translated to a very important life lesson: Be Flexible and Adapt.
In my senior year at Boise State, I also took a part time job working for the same company as my father. That ended up taking me to Fort Drum, New York and then to the Washington DC area where I headed up the marketing for the Industrial Buildings Division of the eastern regional office. It was a great job until a new CEO came in and bankrupted the company. Fortunately, I was able to get transferred back to the home office in Boise, Idaho before that happened.
I was starting to acquire rental properties and decided to take night classes to learn more about the industry. Next thing I know, I have a new career in real estate as a Realtor.
I was all in. I became a workaholic, working nights and weekends too. I quickly became the top agent in the office. I went to a larger brokerage and over the next five years became one of the top agents by volume Nationwide for Coldwell Banker doing 74 transactions in one year. Lennox Scott of John L. Scott wanted me to help him open up future states as they were growing so I went to work for them. More long hours. Then I switched to RE/MAX and became the Regional Director for the 14th fasted growing real estate brokerage in the nation (according to Real Trends Magazine). Even longer hours and less time at home!
Skid marks . . .
My wife was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. While she was battling cancer, I was cured of being a workaholic! Immediately, my life, my job, was irrelevant. I had a new focus point in my life.
Good news / Bad News: my wife was cured of Stage IV cancer! However, six months later she was diagnosed with two simultaneous Stage IV uterine cancers.
Life (work) lesson: You can't take it with you! You can in fact work remotely, but even though I had my wife "share her location" with me, evidently it doesn't work in Heaven. Maybe that is because I didn't send her off with her cell phone? Our theme song was "Live Like You Are Dying". We made the best of each day!
That was a very hard lesson for me. However, I am still working on it today. You can see by our memorial stone, I still have yet to finish inscribing my final expiration date. In the meantime, I am doing my best to give back to my community. I am teaching others what I have learned. I am trying to be a good father and grandfather. I am doing things that make me smile and enjoy: travel, rafting, skiing, fishing, camping, and spending time with my friends and family.
We typically don't know when we will die, so live with no regrets. If you make a mistake . . . own it and apologize. If you have unfinished business - take care of it. If you aren't enjoying yourself - do it while you have time.
I can honestly say that if I died immediately after typing this, that is OK. I have already been able to see and do more than most ever will. I am still planning lots of trips and experiences so hopefully I am not done yet. I am very fortunate that I have mastered the art of delegating and working remotely, so I can work from anywhere as long as I have access to the internet.
Maybe I should have them inscribe the following on the back of my memorial stone: "I hope I successfully backed up to the cloud!"