Invest in Growth

Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” Anthony Robbins

 I was seventeen when I got my first real job.  I had the prestigious title of “Lab Technician,” but I am sure that was just for funding purposes.  In reality, I just drove a truck all day.  Regardless, I was happy to have a job and years later, I am happy I had the best boss ever as my first boss.

 My first week on the loading dock, my boss—Jack—came up and said, “Every week, I take a fifteen minute walk with all of my employees and I’d like to set up your time for every Friday.” Being so young, I was not entirely sure if this was normal for a boss to take time out of his busy day, but I was not going to refuse his request.  Before walking away, Jack made direct eye contact and said, “Every week during our walk, I want to learn something from you about your job.  So as you work, think about what has helped you become more efficient and what has not. Then we will just talk about it.”

 As he walked away, I brushed off the chat as some new program that would soon fizzle, probably before Friday even came.  However, right on schedule, Jack walked up to me on Friday and asked, “Are you ready for our walk?”  We set off together and after some small talk about home, Jack proposed, “What has worked well for you this week?” As I started to explain everything I had learned about my new job, I could tell that Jack already knew most of what I had to say.  Suddenly though, Jack exclaimed, “Wow!  That is a great idea!  I want you to share that with the team.” 

 Fear suddenly engulfed me.  Everyone I knew at work had a PhD after their name, was a scientist, or triple my age–sometimes all three. I tried to back out, respectfully, but Jack insisted.  For the rest of our walk, Jack coached me on how to organize my ideas and present them to the group.  He even assured me that he would be by my side for the whole presentation, if I should need him. In just a short walk, Jack not only helped me respect my own opinion, he also taught me that I had ideas to share and that those ideas had value.

 By simply asking what had gone well for me that week, he changed the course of my entire life.  He helped me recognize the value of my ideas and I learned to see things from a different perspective. I now know that in every situation we are in, we need to continue to grow and learn. Despite your credentials behind your name, you can always learn more.  I respected Jack because he not only respected me, but he also respected my ideas, my opinions and he made me feel important, significant and even valuable. All while I was only seventeen.

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