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A Salesman’s Advice

As personal and professional lives continue to converge, these lessons can be applied in all areas of life.

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My grandfather, Boyce, known to us as “Pop”, was always a practical and resourceful man – the MacGyver of our family. He knew how to put together the pieces of a problem and make things work. He also had a core, unwavering quality – the desire to serve other people, with nothing expected in return. These traits came in handy, as he and my grandmother, Nonnie, lived with us growing up. Two grandparents, two parents, and two sets of twins. Life was always all hands on deck (more on that here).

One day in March of 2018, my father called. His voice had a low, somber tone that I’ve only heard when something is wrong. I appreciated that my father didn’t dance around the difficult news. Pop had pancreatic cancer. Only four months later, on July 9, 2018, Pop passed peacefully at our family home.

Pop was a veteran, but by trade, he was a paper salesman. Who he was in his personal life carried over into his professional life, too. He was beloved in the field for his kindness and willingness to go the extra mile for his clients.

When you get a chance to put the world on hold for a second to enjoy the view, to stop and share a laugh, or to show respect and appreciation for someone, do it.

Pop succumbed to the horrible symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

As personal and professional lives continue to converge, these lessons from him can be applied in all areas of life:

Be kind to others and lend a helping hand – Pop’s greatest quality was his willingness to serve without expectations. Whether it was fixing, teaching, or sharing experiences, he did it with the sole intention of improving the other person’s life.

A classic look never goes out of style – Trends in style, attitudes, and expectations change daily – staying true to the style that is “you” is the only way to maintain a North Star.

Take time to stop and admire the world around you – Recent studies show that team members who take vacations are among the most efficient and productive. Pop loved to sit on our deck for hours admiring the flowers and listening to the birds.

Share a smile and a laugh – Life is hard, both personally and professionally. Sharing a moment by practicing EQ makes it a little easier.

Appreciate People – Appreciate and love your family, your friends, and your team members. This one was evident in everything Pop did, from calling my sisters and me “his girls” to caring for his clients in the field.

Be polite – It’s easy in today’s political environment to feel that it’s ok to dismiss someone or act out against them if their views oppose our own. In moments like that, it’s important to be polite. It’s beyond a “please” or “thank you.” Pop and I certainly didn’t agree on everything, but we did treat each other with respect when it came to topics we didn’t see eye-to-eye on.

Never forget to say thank you – Show gratitude to your family, friends, colleagues, and clients. If you can take them out, take them out. In Pop’s words, “You can never go wrong with a great restaurant or baseball game.”

Be accountable – Do what you say you’re going to do. Accountability is what will win you trust, friendship, a promotion, or the deal.

Always make room for dessert – This one is as simple as it gets. Pop loved a delicious Tastykake or blueberry pie with coffee.

So to everyone reading this: when you get a chance to put the world on hold for a second to enjoy the view, to stop and share a laugh, or to show respect and appreciation for someone, do it.

Pop would tell you that’s what we’re here for, after all.

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