Inspired by the response to yesterday’s post about my grandfather, below are seven great lessons that I learned from him:
1) Stop making excuses. . . It costs too much money, it’s too risky, I don’t have time, I’m too old, I’m too young. . . . When he was 92, my grandfather decided he should be working out. He got a membership at a gym (thankfully, attached to a hospital) and went (walker and all) regularly. If there is something you want to do then do it.
2) Everyone is important. At his funeral, a trainer who worked at the gym came. The guys who owned a pizza shop where Popop used to eat lunch once a week showed up. Popop made friends everywhere. He treated everyone well, because everyone deserves to be treated well. Don’t be in so much of a rush that you can’t treat people well.
3) Send postal mail to someone you love. There’s something about a letter; it says you took the time because you care. I vividly remember getting a letter with my membership to the Smokey the Bear Club when I was in elementary school, because my grandfather thought I’d like it. When I started my business, my grandparents sent me Boston Market coupons, because “every little bit helps.” They also sent articles they thought would be interesting. Take two minutes to send something to someone you love. Even a handwritten note that says, “I was thinking of you,” will make a difference in their day.
4) Seek out opportunities to be helpful. My grandfather was always giving out my business cards, and trying to find me clients. When his dentist called about opening a franchise, it wasn’t the best use of my time, but I loved that my grandfather never went a day without looking for a chance to help.
5) You can be a hero every day, with the little things that help others – open a door for someone, help them with their packages, ask how they’re doing, introduce them to someone else. My grandfather was a hero to a lot of people. We can be heroes too. (For more examples of how you can be a hero, see my post: 83 Random Acts of Kindness that Will Make You an Everyday Hero).
6) Pay attention. For an old guy he had a great memory. Even into his 80s, if I told him I had a big meeting coming up, he’d ask me how it went the next day. Listen to what people say and care enough to follow up – even if you need to write down the follow-up date in your calendar.
7) Be interested. This goes beyond just being a good listener. When someone you love is interested in something, embrace it with zeal. How many 90 year olds are calling their grandkids to tell them “I just read an article about blogs and thought it would be important to your business. And, by the way, what’s a blog?”
The night before an early morning meeting to announce to our company that the business was being acquired, I told my grandfather about the deal. The next morning he purchased stock in the acquiring company, called the company’s headquarters in Seattle and left messages for the finance department that went something like this, “My name is Albert Krupnick. I’m a stockholder, and I need to see your financials immediately.” When I found out I called the CEO (my new boss) and the CFO to explain that my grandfather was very enthusiastic.
I knew it wouldn’t be Popop’s only financial questions, and that made me happy. Popop always read our financials so thoroughly that he underlined footnotes about which he had questions. This was classic Popop and one of his many amazing qualities. He was always very engaged and very interested in things related to his family. He didn’t care much about advertising until I had an ad agency; then it became quite important and interesting.
I’m so lucky that I have and have had many great influences on my life. People like Popop.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to check out this one: Grandma’s Great Advice on Sex, How to be a Better Person, the Perils of Tight Underwear — And other Life Lessons.
There’s also this post about my grandfather and my wife: How a Frosty Strengthened my Marriage.
Any lessons from your loved ones that you’d like to share?