This I Believe

Ken - Decatur, Illinois
Entered on October 25, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in helping other people succeed.

I spent the first 25 years of my career focused on my own success. I don’t think I was being selfish, I think I told myself that inward focus was needed and justified in order to achieve my goals. Or maybe I just didn’t think about it at all.

I spent the last five years changing that focus from inward to outward. I took some walls down around me. I started to understand that my education and experience gave me insight that could be valuable to other people. I started believing that offering help and advice wasn’t being nosy or intrusive when offered in the right spirit.

I met a manufacturing executive from Toronto when I took a leadership course a couple of years ago. We hit it off and have talked once a month or so ever since. I’m not really sure what I have to offer him, time, a sympathetic ear, a different way of thinking about things perhaps.

I believe he finds value in talking to me.

I made friends with a football coach who was going through some tough times. I learned that big time football coaches encounter a lot of people who want things from them. I didn’t want anything. I had season tickets, I had a job, I wasn’t selling anything, and I wasn’t a reporter. I was just another person, a fan, who thought maybe he had some insight into some things that a coach might find helpful. I had the right intent and he believed me.

I believe that even big time football coaches can use a kind word every now and then.

I sought a deeper relationship with a nephew, the youngest child and only son of my brother who drowned in 1977.

I made a conscious effort to identify ways in which I could help him in his life and his career. We talk all the time now too, a regular conversation about once a month. He was doing fine in his life before, but I think I have helped him.

I believe I am having conversations with him that my brother would have had if he lived.

A lot of people have told me that I seem to be pretty good at this stuff, and maybe I could even make a second career of it.

I thought about it for a while but I believe that if I started letting someone pay me for talking to them then it would lose all value to me.

See I never did it for what I could get. I did it for what I could give. So don’t offer me any money. In fact don’t offer me anything except the opportunity to help if you think I can.

I believe in helping other people succeed, or at least trying to the very best of my ability. I believe you can too.