96 and Counting

Blog Post 06.05.18

I’m in Iowa this weekend visiting family.

This is a yearly pilgrimage we take about this time every year.

You see, my Grandma’s birthday is June 6th and around that day we have a birthday party for her.

This year it’s her 96th birthday.

There will be over 40 people there ranging in age from 6 weeks old to 80 years old.

She is an amazing woman and the lessons she’s taught me and others in the family are invaluable.

When I look back and think about how the world has changed since she was born in 1922, what she has experienced and seen, I’m amazed at how well she has adapted and thrived.

She tells firsthand stories of moving from one farm to another with her family when she was a small girl and riding on the seat of the horse-drawn wagon with her dad.

She remembers the great depression, yes the one in the 1930’s, with firsthand stories of what life was like as young wife with young children when WWII was going on.

She has outlived two husbands and a boyfriend and nursed all of them through sickness at the end of their lives.

She is a gracious and welcoming woman, which means that her apartment is often filled with people stopping by to check in and say “Hi”. A few years ago, she moved from her home into an assisted living facility.

I want to highlight a couple lessons I’ve learned from her over the years.

First is that every morning you get to choose your attitude.

Your day can be good or bad, and you get to decide which when you get up.

Now I’ve heard this teaching in various forms from others, but I heard it first over 40 years ago from Grandma, and I saw it lived in “real life” by her over the years.

And this leads into why her house is always filled with people stopping by to say “Hi” and check in with her.

She always has a good attitude and is welcoming to everyone who stops by.

When you’re with her the conversation is about you, how your life is going, and what is happening in your world, even though much of it may be foreign to what she’s experienced.

You have to work to get her to talk about herself, what she’s up to, and what is happening in her world.

If she knows you’re coming, there will be a treat that you enjoy in the form of candy or another treat that you won’t permit yourself at your house, but it’s available at her house.

Grandma Joyce has been a positive influence on my life, all my life.

How have I applied these lessons?

First is the concept of having a positive role model to follow. I’ve been blessed to have Grandma Joyce and others in my family who showed me how to live a rich and full life, not only with their words of advice but with their actions.

Next is to choose my attitude every morning and in every situation. On some day’s when life doesn’t seem to be going the way I think it should, it would be easy to let myself fall into a bit of a down attitude, but then I think of Grandma and how I want to respond and be.

This has led to situations that seemed challenging in the beginning, turning around and working out better than expected.

And finally, is applying the concept of being gracious and welcoming to everyone who stops by. Stopping by may be at our house, or it may be at one of my businesses, or it may be a booth at a trade show.

I’ve had a living example of what it’s like to receive this hospitality and I work to replicate it in all situations.

We use these lessons as a basis for training our staff in all our businesses, and my wife and I try to be a good example for our children by modeling this hospitality in our home.

Take these lessons that have I’ve been taught over the last 50 years and use them in your business.

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Have a great day!