Archive for November, 2012

Don’t Give Up, Give Back

November 6, 2012
Lunching with two very successful businessmen last week was not just enjoyable but a valuable lesson for living a life that matters.

As a professional speaker in Houston, one of the key points I talk about in my presentations on outstanding  job performance is the importance of perseverance. Too many people give up too soon on their goals and dreams. At the first sign of obstacles they quit. End result? A life of regrets and mediocrity.

The three of us talked about what we would like written on our epitaph. Far from being macabre it was food for thought particularly as I had just attended a funeral that morning. Reading the deceased’s bio, it struck me that she didn’t leave a legacy of anything. Do you know what you would like to be remembered for when you’re pushing up daises?

John Carloss

John Carloss is the CEO of Venetian Blind & Floor & Carpet One in Houston. He’s also a Vietnam vet and a passionate advocate for our troops past and present. When he read my blog about Jeff Weiss and how he overcame adversity, he arranged this lunch specifically to meet him.

Part of John’s story began when he left an Ivy League education at Vanderbilt to join the army because he felt guilty that the only kids being drafted were poor. At age 20 he buried four of his platoon in Vietnam, was severely wounded during two tours there and spent seven years in the army ending as a captain in the Green Berets. It was in the military that he learned about the servant leadership style he practices in business today.
His passion for this country is equaled only by his sense of fairness – he wants everyone to get what they deserve. Fast forward forty something years of hard work, four daughters with college educations and a costly divorce that left him with nothing but his business – and a determination to come back and give back.
And come back he did. Despite the recession his company recently celebrated 60 years in business and received the 2012 Pinnacle Award of Excellence from the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston. 5% of all sales at VBFC go to charities of the customer’s choice.
Greatly disturbed by the young people coming back from Iraq traumatized and wounded, and all the suicides, divorces, homelessness and unemployment, John founded Operation American Heroes in 2008 to help returning military with emotional, financial and physical support. Check it out: 
John’s life is one of passion, perseverance and compassion. Read his whole story HERE  On his epitaph he wants it to read: “He gave a damn!” My epitaph? “She spread joy”.
What’s YOUR legacy? Are you making a difference? Are you doing vs just thinking?
Living on purpose can change our world one life at a time.
Give back, don’t give up.