Lessons From Life and Business.
As a father of 6 kids, it has been one of the standing jokes of the family over the years that I am always telling stories about random events and happenings in my life that should be a valuable lesson for them to learn from. Here are a couple examples. I told my daughters for years that I was the smartest guy they will ever know. After numerous boyfriends and one ex-husband, I can confidently say still to this day that I am the smartest guy they have ever known. There are a few challengers to my title at this time. My middle daughter's boyfriend of 10 years+ is very smart. My youngest daughter's fiance is getting his masters degree in education administration to be a school administrator. One of my son's has completed his masters degree in Biology and is an ecologist at the Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois. So I have to keep up my A-game in smartness and one way I can do this is by reading.
I have always been an avid reader. One of my favorite stories ever is the time I was in second grade in Champaign, Illinois. The school didn't have a bus service so children rode the city bus and paid 10 cents each direction to ride the bus to and from school every day. The school also didn't have a library, but there was a bookmobile that came every week to the school and we could check out books inside the bookmobile parked in the front of the school. I checked out a new book titled "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back". I couldn't wait to read the book so while riding home on the city bus I was so engrossed in the exciting adventures of the Cat, I didn't notice that I read right thorough my stop to get off the bus. Finishing the book, I looked up and saw that I was the only person on the bus. The driver sees me in the giant rearview mirror and asked what was my address. I told him and he said "That was 30 minutes ago, what were you doing?" Reading The Cat in The Hat Comes Back. He got on the radio and told dispatch he had to backtrack to drop off this dopey kid reading books and who missed his stop. Books have always been a part of my life and I made sure to pass that lesson to my kids. We have hundreds of books on our bookshelves and someday I will finish reading all of them. I even built the bookshelves in my family room out of a reclaimed Ash tree that had been killed by an Emerald Ash Borer. The top of the cabinet has a concrete countertop with imprints of local tree leaves. Know how I learned how to do this? From a book.
Business lessons are not often learned in the moment, but as I look back on my career in lumber sales and Home Inspection, I can clearly see there were some decisions I made and lessons learned that brought me to where I am today in my business. I worked with many managers and bosses over the years. Some were amazing and smart and truly cared about the employees. I learned great lessons from them about how to treat employees and instill a great work ethic in them so they wanted to come to work. I also worked for some real bad bosses and while I learned lessons from them, it was what NOT to do and how NOT to treat your valued employees.
I learned that stepping up and taking a challenge, even if I wasn't qualified 100% to take on the challenge, usually paid off by listening and watching and being involved. Challenge accepted and completed. Where I am today is directly traceable all the way back to one of those moments in 1998 when I raised my hand to accept a volunteer position as a shift safety contact for my team. I had been on the job for 3 months. I knew nothing about safety rules or violations or reporting, but since no one else wanted the position, I said yes. I won't go through all the twists and various moments, but I am enjoying the best career years of my life today, because I raised my that December day in 1998.
Final lesson in a long life of lessons..... Duct tape is worthless. It will fail as it always does and when it does, you'll have all that gluey crap to clean off when you try and remove the stupid tape.