April 28, 2012

An Incredible Day of Life Mentoring that Being “Too Busy” Almost Prevented

This may be the longest gap between my blog posts in almost a year. Seems like everyone’s schedule is nuts right now. Clients, prospects, my clients’ prospects, family, friends. We are all crazed. In the Weinberg world, April and May have replaced December as the craziest calendar months. Two boys playing baseball, a daughter preparing for dance recitals, end of the school year events, concerts, graduations. All of that piled on to a full consulting load, kicking off two new clients and a decent amount of travel, and, like you, I am one constantly on-the-move hombre.

About six months back, I connected with a neat guy on twitter. Bob Terson was relatively new to social media and the blogosphere. He had a been a long-time business owner, sales pro and road warrior. Bob had recently “retired” and committed to spending a good deal of time turning online connections into real offline relationships. He has a ton of wisdom and experience to offer and sees a good part of his “retirement calling” (my words) as an opportunity to help others.

Bob and I had our first phone conversation over the winter, and by the conclusion of the call I had a new friend and an invitation to visit and join him at a Cardinals vs. Cubs game at Wrigley Field. How great is that?  This seasoned pro my dad’s age is offering to help me think about business issues and treat me to ballgame. We settled on April 25th, and for months, while I was looking forward to it, didn’t give it much thought.

April rolled around and I had yet to plan the trip. I felt sick when I looked at the calendar, saw the date with Bob in Chicago and realized how overloaded my calendar was. Honestly, I really couldn’t “afford” to take the day and a half I had committed to spend. Practically, it made no sense. I’d end up behind on client work; I’d be adding burden to my wife because of my personal trip, and I’d be missing my freshman son’s ballgame. Arghh. But I went ahead, booked the flight and worked out details with Bob.

And…what ensued was likely the most valuable 24 hours I’ve spent this year. A personal development day away from the daily grind in one of America’s greatest cities. A Chicago dog with onions and that unique bright green Chicago relish. The Cards beating the Cubs on a cold, wet day at Wrigley. Dinner at Bob Chinn’s in Wheeling – Holy Grilled Halibut Batman. While all of that  was truly wonderful, it was nothing compared to the wisdom and perspective I gleaned from Bob.

He asked question after question. He told stories. He made me tell stories. He wanted to know why certain aspects of my business were frustrating me. He offered out-of-the-box ideas. He brought an old-school, common sense, I’ve been around the block a hundred times perspective that challenged some of my assumptions. He talked about focus, commitment, determination and success. We discussed writing, publishing and book marketing. And even better, he bragged about his marriage, and challenged me about mine. Bob shared his experience from “the school of hard knocks” (his words), and offered some practical suggestions. It was awesome.

I came home with a renewed, fresh perspective and a ton of mental energy. I was reminded once again about the importance of mentors and intentionally taking time away from the daily grind for personal development. The day I couldn’t afford to take turned into the day I couldn’t afford to miss.

So, let me ask you…

  1. Who are you allowing to invest in you?
  2. In the midst of your hectic personal and professional life, where are you turning for outside perspective and counsel?
  3. Are you proactively carving out time for personal development? Is it on your calendar?