My driveway seemed quite a bit bigger that morning back in 1995. I remember stopping dead in my tracks when it hit me that both my cars had been repossessed. My world fell apart that day and left me without my cars, my business, $60,000 in debt and without any degree of self esteem.
With one small child and another on the way, I was lost, scared and not used to being poor.
I took on a night job working from 8pm to 8am as a Laser Operator making $8.50 per hour plus incentive pay. I remember working through my breaks and being within a few thousand impressions of hitting bonus and then the machine would break down. I would leave there feeling like a bigger loser than when I arrived . I’d get home, exhausted and many times would fall asleep while trying to catch up with my wife.
I remember ransacking my ashtray to find 40 cents so we could each have a roll with our coffee. Those were great mornings! It was like we were eating a million dollar meal!
I took on jobs delivering pizza’s and as a bus boy at a local Italian restaurant. I know first hand what it feels like to get screwed out of a tip, have people treat you like crap and have lots of time to reflect on your sins, all the while wondering . . .
What the hell did I do to deserve this?
But it wasn’t all bad!
I learned to bust my ass again . . . I lost that somewhere prior to losing everything else.
I started to appreciate things I had taken for granted.
I became closer with God and my family.
I started to dedicate myself to continual learning and speaking of learning;
I learned what it’s like to feel like you’re at the end of your rope and then have someone come along and offer a random act of kindness. That one stands out most!
You know, this thing called life is a very delicate thing. I think we need to be respectful of the things we have been given and find a way to give something back.
Please allow me to say that again but in a different way . . .
When we give to others we pay tribute and respect for that which we are fortunate enough to have.
That brings us to the Thanksgiving portion . . .
As we quickly approach one of my favorite holidays, I would invite you to think beyond the turkey (I know you would have lost me right there too), think beyond the travel or perhaps if you’re like me, think beyond the juggling of visiting more than one relative and the whole “I’ve got to see both sides of the family today” thing.
When we break up the word Thanksgiving . . . it obviously gives us two words.
The first word is “Thanks”
What are you thankful for?
When was the last time you counted your blessings or instead of taking a “What Pisses Me Off Inventory” you actually made a list of what you actually have?
Have you thanked your clients . . . just for being your clients? Not the order they just gave you; just for being your client. There’s a difference!
How about everyone on your team who work behind the scenes to help you shine?
Do you have some people in your life who have supported you, encouraged you, guided you, listened to you? When was the last time you thanked them? And if you’ve lost them, you can still honor them. Don’t ever forget that!
The second word is “Giving”. Many years ago, I heard Tony Robbins give a tip on being wealthy. He said that if we truly want to feel wealthy then we should make giving a habit. He went on to explain that when we give, we are subconsciously telling ourselves we have enough to give to others. In that moment we feel wealth and abundance. The giving doesn’t have to be some enormous amount either.
How about that free turkey you are about to win at the supermarket. Consider donating it.
Buy an extra can or two of food and donate it to a local food bank. Sales Managers: How about having a “Canned Sales Meeting”? The food banks deplete supplies big time during the holiday season!
That spare change in the coffee can in your room
Frequent flyer miles
A kind or encouraging word to someone who needs a little pep talk.
Please don’t take that encouragement lightly . . . everyone deserves another round! Encouragement keeps them in the fight!
I’m here today, because of the encouragement of others, when my life had taken a very bad turn!
I’d like to ask you for a favor this week:
Find a way to own “Thanks” and “Giving”.
And do it with action!
Thanks and Giving . . . now that’s how you embrace Thanksgiving!
Finally, I hope you will slow down on Thanksgiving and enjoy your family. This is why we work as hard as we do and quite frankly conquering the world at home is a must!
Oh, and I am very grateful for that day back in 1995, when my world fell apart, because it set in motion a series of events that brought me here today . . .
To show respect and appreciation for a second chance!
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
With respect and appreciation,
PS Sorry for the warm fuzzy moment but you need to know something. I’ve shared this post every year on my blog since 2009 and it still gets me a bit chocked up. It makes me feel sort of like George Bailey at the end of Its A Wonderful Life . . . when he realizes just how rich he truly is. Please find a way to give yourself this gift too!