The following is the fourth in a ten part series of “Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way… Love what you do…”
I have written many times before of a mentor of mine from my Jaycee days, Gene Martin, who long ago encouraged me to “Love what you do, do what you love, and deliver more than your promise.” It’s more than just a saying for me – it’s been my guiding principle for more than thirty years.
This past weekend I was attending the North Carolina Brewer’s and Music Festival at Rural Hill when one of the Chamber’s newer members, Kelly Franklin from Rely Local, asked how I decided I wanted to work at a chamber of commerce. I shared my early civic involvement and how after college, I started my career in sales at Harper Brothers in Rock Hill (SC), an office furniture and supply company headquartered in Greenville. However, my real passion seemed to be community service. Simply put, making my community a better place to live and work. That commitment to community was passed on to me by my parents who participated in a number of civic organizations themselves.
Long ago I asked dad why he worked so hard in the community and he quickly pointed to a verse from Matthew 5:16 which states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Kelly listened intently and then began speaking about how welcomed he felt when he first met our staff as a prospective member. The warm smile and open ear from members of our staff. How he felt that first day and succeeding visits to Chamber programs and events, not just by our staff, but Ambassadors representing our organization. I cannot convey how proud I was as he spoke about the important role we play in helping that business succeed. It’s a statement I hear often, but one in which I never grow tired of hearing again.
Minutes later I was off to a ribbon cutting for a new veterinarian business in Huntersville. Speaking to the crowd at the Open House for Carolinas Veterinary Care Clinic, I welcomed Alisha and Alycen to our growing “Chamber family.” As I was packing up the ceremonial scissors at my car, a young Huntersville couple commented on the remarks I made and agreed that much of what I said about our quality of life was why they chose to relocate to Huntersville and the Lake Norman region.
As we parted, the man looked back over his shoulder, and said, “Great remarks by the way – you looked like you were having fun!” A quick smile and he was on his way. Minutes later I was off to one last stop, “Brian’s Dog House Grill” and the grand opening of yet another new business – a family restaurant at Rosedale.
Walking up I was greeted by Brian, the owner, and Elizabeth Morgan, one of our Chamber Ambassadors who presented me with a check and application for Chamber membership she had picked up from another business… and all this on a Saturday!
That night, it occurred to me much of what had transpired that day – the community event, a ribbon cutting, and a grand opening all occurred on my day off – the weekend! But I’m not sure I could have spent it any better. Not every day is filled with fun and fellowship. There are days when our task is much more serious and intent. Our job is to grow business at the lake. Jack, Janet, and myself – we’re in the people business. We love what we do, do what we love, and we strive to deliver more than we promise. And if we look life we’re having fun… well, we are!