This is my final segment on encounters/relationships that have impacted me. I hope you have enjoyed these and have been challenged by them.
Elbert Shaw—I have written about Elbert before. If I ever had a mentor, it is he. Elbert was the person responsible for hiring me at Shaw, where I spent 25 years of my professional career. Though his last name was intimidating, that is not the reason I remember my first encounter with him. I was an immature kid, two years removed from college, having worked in ministry for a couple of years after graduating. I was scheduled to have an interview with him, and I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that he had the same last name as the owner of the company and that landing the interview had been difficult.
I will never forget Elbert’s graciousness and concern for my feelings at our first meeting. I later worked for Elbert as a recruiter and heard him say more times than I can count, “Hi. My name is Elbert G. Shaw. You can call me Elbert. May I take your coat? Would you like something to drink?” It was disarming to say the least. At a time when companies were known for using intimidation tactics to screen potential candidates, Elbert had done something radical. He had simply been himself. This man, who wore his heart on his sleeve, simply treated others the way he would have wanted to be treated.
Elbert passed away several years ago, but lived his life with no regrets. He lived a life of integrity. He left us knowing that his legacy would live on long after he was gone. The challenge is for those of us who remain to replace the void of love and caring that emanated from him. I could write a book about the lessons I have learned from this amazing man, but here are a few.
1. Nothing is more important than the people you are blessed to encounter throughout your life.
2. Live a life of integrity, and you will never live a life of regret.
3. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is still the best rule to live your life and run your business by.
I would challenge you all to look back at the people who have influenced your life. What was it about those positive encounters that made their memories last? As you answer that question, you will discover a list of principles by which you can and should live your life. After all, we should all strive to daily create encounters that will be remembered positively for years to come.