I want you to be the first to have access to my upcoming book, “Uniquely You,” available for pre-order now. Here’s your look at the second chapter…
Part I: A Priceless Gift
Crack, crack, crack, came a knock on the door of my childhood house. No one would have guessed its impact on that Christmas morning.
As usual, nobody answered the door. Unexpected knocks never meant anything good in our house. Usually, it indicated bill collectors, like the man who repossessed an accordion that my mom had bought for my brother and me. This day, however, I snuck to the window and watched as three strange men left a banana box on our porch. These men didn’t know us. They came from a church we did not attend.
After they left, we hauled the box inside. I can still remember, with a clarity that has not diminished with time, looking at each item as we unpacked the box with a sense of awe and wonder. One item captured my attention and held it: a can of mandarin oranges. It probably cost less than a quarter at that time, but in the Missouri Ozarks in the 1970s, tropical fruit (canned or not) was rare and special, to be saved for an occasion equally as special. Even as a child, I was amazed that these people took it upon themselves to reach out to help a family they had never met.
Part II: The Responsibility to Serve
Because of how special that can of oranges was, my mom placed in the kitchen cabinet to be saved for a special occasion. For months, it sat there just staring at me. When I would retrieve cereal, that can would catch my eye. When I would reach for a can of soup, I would see those oranges. Whenever the cabinet opened, I saw that can and remembered that someone cared for me. On the nights I felt scared or lonely, that can gave me peace, hope, and the determination to find a better life. It reminded me that I was not alone and never forgotten, that for some reason, someone out there loved me.
Since that day, I have founded multiple companies, served hundreds of communities, been elected to office, and sat on the corporate boards of more than twenty organizations. Throughout those years, that can of oranges has been with me as an emblem of my responsibility to grow new leaders and has catapulted me to new heights. To this day, I always keep a similar can of oranges in my desk. When I grow discouraged and am tempted to give up, that can calls to me from inside my desk drawer. It remains my daily reminder of the responsibility I have to serve others. To pay forward the gift I received as a child. If I could commit to a tattoo, it would be of a can of mandarin oranges.
Many professionals grow exhausted and disenchanted from chasing business gurus and quick-fix formulas. Rather than becoming knock-offs, we must learn to listen to the leadership lessons our lives have been trying to teach us. In “Uniquely You,” coming in 2019, I will share my personal journey, and how it led me to lead uniquely, with you. Preorder your copy today!