I write everything down – ideas, lines of bad poetry, Target lists, bits of wisdom, what time to take a shower, the name of a book to read – I mean everything. I am a copious note-taker in classes, in meetings, and in my car. I just don’t feel right if I don’t have a notebook and pen at my fingertips.
When I worked as a real estate developer, I traveled and met interesting people from all walks of life. I took to writing down their bits of wisdom and humor. I had the honor of working for years with a very accomplished and wise gentleman from Memphis, who became my professional mentor and personal Yoda. One day, we had just finished lunch, when he said, “You don’t build relationships when you need something. You build relationships when you don’t need something.” Back in my office several days later, I was still thinking about this pearl of wisdom. I wrote it down and pinned it to the bulletin board I kept over my desk.
After another trip to Memphis, I started recording his Southern-isms, like this one: “He jumped on that faster than a duck on a June bug.” Here’s one of my favorites: “Alison, you got to work on your spittin’ and whittlin’. When you see someone, you can’t just jump into things. You got to ask how’s your Mama, and he’s got to ask how’s your Mama.” You just can’t find better material than that, can you? I still have that list of Southern-isms pinned to my bulletin board.
If you pay attention, people will offer up the most incredible insights. Another gentleman, one of my most respected mentors and favorite human beings, for years has said to me, “The truth will set you free.” That little gem was scribbled on a Post-It and pinned to my bulletin board, but there was no need. It floats through my head every day. I’ll bet it’s etched somewhere on my frontal cortex. In business and in life, the truth will set you free. How can you argue with that?
I’d like to thank all you mentors and Yodas out there. We young souls need all the help we can get. Thanks for dropping a few breadcrumbs on our paths. I’ll just keep picking them up with my pen and notepad. I hope I don’t miss too many.