Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Collect Good People"

First of all, we are smack in the middle of JUCO week here in GJ and I want to thank you for making last week's blog on the legacy of that event my most read blog, by far! My goal is to keep sharing knowledge, successes, and more importantly, failures, from which I hope we can all learn.
Memorial Day at JUCO. Courtesy Jessica Sidener
Yesterday I had the extreme privilege to join three experienced, rock-star, female, non-profit leaders in our community for lunch.

This lunch was not your average lunch. It was set-up by one of them, who wanted to help me connect and receive mentorship from her and the other two. I did not ask for this lunch, she willingly set it up on her own. The other two obliged, we sat around a conference table, chatted, I asked questions and they willingly bestowed advice and lessons learned upon me. We laughed, got to know one another, and enjoyed the time together. Make no mistake, however, the point of the lunch was to focus on me. I was humbled.

I probably looked like Sponge Bob Square Pants trying to soak up every piece of wisdom flying across the table.
I've honestly never seen an episode of Sponge Bob, but a living sponge seemed like a natural analogy.
Back to my lunch yesterday, and one of the women gave me the most profound piece of advice. I thought about it all evening. She simply said "Collect good people."


That sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Go around, find the good ones, and tuck them away on your shelf like trinkets or Precious Moments or something. (Remember those things with the puppy-dog eyes? I think my mom had a few, that are now probably in my garage somewhere....I digress.)
They do still exist. Who knew?
Collect good people. What a gem of advice!

Indeed, there is more to it than what's on the surface. In my humble estimation, you have to be willing to BE a good person for others - a person worth collecting, before you can collect good people for yourself.

You see, the self-sacrifice of these three women to meet with and candidly help a quasi-millennial like me, just showing up each day trying to make a difference for my community, is more the exception than the rule these days.

How many times have you asked someone what they're up to for them to respond by saying, "Oh, not much, just been trying to pass the time"? The answer to that is NEVER! That person does not exist. Everyone is running warp-speed bouncing around like life is a pin-ball in a machine, trying to milk the most out of another day.
The cutest kid you've ever seen playing pinball with a Santa hat on. I'm bias.
It's the fact that some people will take the time to have lunch with you - or help you on your dissertation, or whatever else it is you need - that makes the difference. And those are the ones, the special ones, the good people worth collecting.

Conveniently, that's also the type of person worth being.

Let's back track to a couple weeks ago when I was asked by a friend to meet with a young professional in our community and give her some advice. I obliged. Turns out, this particular individual is an absolute delight, a rising star in her own right. As usual when we pour into other people, we receive just as much out of the conversation, as I did with her!

I can rattle off at least a dozen "good people" I have "collected", personally, professionally, spiritually, academically. And I am grateful for the unique attributes of each one of them.

More importantly, I wonder if I am on the "good person to collect" list of others? Maybe. Maybe not. But, this is where my focus needs to be. And I hope yours, too.

I'm grateful for those who have helped me and those whom I can help. I'm grateful for the new friendships, the mentorship, and the timely advice to "collect good people". After all, what the individual who gave me that advice may not have realized is by giving of her time, she was sacrificially positioning herself as another "good person" for me to "collect". Now it's my responsibility to pay that forward.

Robert Ingersoll simply stated, "We rise by lifting others." Another dear "collected" individual in my professional life refers to this as the Rise and Lift principle of leadership. I couldn't agree more.

So for the three ladies who joined me for lunch yesterday, thank you, from the bottom of my heart! This has been Stoll on Sports.

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