Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the contractors that I worked with while at my previous employer. I worked with this company for over 22 years. During that time, I spent a huge amount of time working with contractors and many of them became personal friends.
I had lost touch with this particular contractor and so was very surprised when he asked me if I had heard that his father had passed away several months ago. Clayton was a real interesting character. He was your typical gruff, northern Wisconsin contractor who had been in the industry his entire life. He was old school and could spot someone trying to give him a line from a mile away.
When I first met Clayton, I was still a “wet behind the ears” kid just out of tech college. My associates degree meant nothing to him. He was hard on me but always gave me the benefit of the doubt. Even when he was telling me I was nuts, he always did it in a way that allowed me to go back and save face. He always gave me the chance to redeem myself. He was the only person other than my grandfather who called me “Billy” and didn’t really care when I corrected him and pointed this out…and for some reason, that was always OK with me.We had an incredible level of respect for each other.
Who Allowed You To Grow? – Chances are, you have had someone in your life who gave you a break and allowed you to grow in spite of yourself. Have you gone back and thanked them for that? If not, take this month and make it happen. Time goes by fast and you never know when you will never have that opportunity again.
Pay it Forward – You have the ability to help someone else grow. Make it a point to help someone else grow. Find a good young prospect that you can take under wing and mentor. Take the time to shape a life. You have a lot to offer someone who is looking to improve themselves. Too often today, we complain about the younger generations and their lack of wanting to work, but there are a lot of good, hard working up and comers that would love to benefit from your skills and knowledge. You have already learned from the school of hard knocks. Be willing to be a “Clayton” for someone else.
Let me know who has benefited you in the way Clayton has me.