From the publisher: New meaning in routine tasks – Tom is mentioned by Phoenix Business Journal


Given the tone of the news lately, it would be easy to assume the world has been overrun by angry people, acting out in ways that often turn tragic. They sure have dominated the headlines over the past few weeks.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that the simple everyday actions so many of us take as routine parts of our lives provide sources of inspiration that can carry us through. It’s the little things we take for granted that impact the people around us.

With that in mind, I offer two examples that have provided inspiration to me in the past few days with hopes they may do the same for you.

Example No. 1: I hope Tom Egan, CEO of Esperanca, doesn’t mind me sharing an email he sent to me, but here goes:

“Don: I was at a meeting last night where I had volunteered to be a mentor for a young nonprofit leader, and as I was telling my story to the candidates about my own mentors and career journey, your name came up. I don’t know if you would remember this but many years ago I took you out for coffee to pick your brain about my desire to be a nonprofit leader. The advice you gave me was to seek out three for-profit CEOs and three nonprofit CEOs and ask them what it takes to do that job.

“Well I did listen to you and followed up with multiple people who have helped me along the way. Some were one-time meetings, and others become ongoing mentors to me. Now as I am in my current position, I decided it was time to give back so I volunteered to become someone’s mentor, and you deserve some credit for that. P.S. I send you this brief note in the hopes that it brightens your Friday.”

I don’t offer Tom’s email as an example of a good deed done by me. I never thought of it that way. But it was a reminder that if you take the time to help others, it will pay off down the road in ways you may never know.

Example No. 2: This is about a phone call from a reader. He reached my voicemail after hours by mistake as he was fumbling around with our automated answering system and couldn’t reach a live body.

He said he was a 20-year subscriber and had not received his Book of Lists. It was nearly 6 o’clock at the end of a long day for me when I retrieved his message. Even though I was more than ready to exit the office, I called him back anyway, frankly thinking I’d get his voicemail. Got him live instead. Long story short, I set him up with two copies of the book (an extra for being patient with us) and invited him as my guest to our Book of Lists party.

I’m pretty sure he felt better after the call, but that’s not the point. The point is that I felt better after the call. There’s something about making a customer happy that should fuel the passion for all of us in business. Isn’t that why we’re here?

These are just two small points that kept me going in the past few days. Why don’t you stop to examine the things you are routinely doing to make a difference in people’s lives? You might be surprised.

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