It’s interesting how life works sometimes. Unexpected events or people come together to change the direction of your life. Think back to the crossroads you have encountered, the decisions you made, and how they shaped your life. Let me share a personal example.


I needed to find a job to pay for my next semester in college. If I didn't, I would lose my school deferment, get drafted, and sent to Viet Nam. To motivate me, my mother told me she would call the draft board herself if I didn't find a job soon. That got my attention. I skipped my first class the next morning and walked to the business office just as the secretary put up a help wanted notice on the bulletin board. I took it down and had the shipping job at the music store two hours later. I had no idea how much this sequence of events would impact my life.


Band Instrument sales slow down in the summer when kids are out of school. The owner was kind enough to move me from shipping to the instrument repair shop so I could work all year long. When school started again, we needed a new person to take over shipping. The shop manager asked me if I knew one of the applicants. I didn't know him but said I wouldn’t hire him because I thought he hung around with some rough kids. My boss laughed at my comment and hired him. I couldn't have been more wrong about Stan, and we quickly became close friends.  


Every fall, the music store set up instrument rental programs for parents of new kids joining band class. The owner asked me to help him present the rental information at a large school. Most of the parents signed up with me, and the owner told me I was a natural salesman. A salesman was the last thing I wanted to be, but I did enjoy it. The owner believed in me enough to let me sell full time for a semester when I needed extra money. It was a great experience. Still, if I eventually went into sales, I had decided to sell something that made a difference in people’s lives.


The music store owner was an avid fisherman and goose hunter and often invited us to join him. In the spring, we learned how to fish using chest waders, homemade rods, and bucktail jigs. In the fall, we focused on pass shooting geese. If the fun wasn’t enough, he also paid us for the day’s work. He understood the importance of finding balance in life and knew we needed the money for college. He also created very loyal employees.


When I skipped class that fall morning, it set off a series of life-changing events. That part-time job led to a successful sales career in pharmaceuticals, developing a passion for fishing and goose hunting, and finding my best friend of the last fifty years. In time Stan became the owner of the music store. So many things had to fall in place for these things to happen. All of it began with Mom’s tough love.


Think about the circumstances that came together to create your relationships, experiences, and your life’s direction. As we approach Thanksgiving, remember the people in your life that helped along the way.


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