Recently, I connected with a dear friend and my first business mentor over breakfast – former radio executive, Cynthia Morgan.
Cynthia was the first business leader I met that “took me seriously” and set a high standard for the type of leader that I wanted to be. We met in a Dale Carnegie class in the mid-90s. Always active in the community, Cynthia was as good of a human as she was successful in business.
I was a young man full of ideas and promise, and Cynthia advocated for me to join the prestigious Wilmington Rotary Club at the ripe age of 25. Other members would joke that I was younger than their kids and brought the average age of the club down to 52 years young. Jokes aside, I was welcomed with open arms and developed many key relationships that I count on today.
For the past 20 years, Cynthia and I have been reconnecting every so often for breakfast or lunch – we always meet at Friendly’s, a local diner, and Cynthia always orders a banana split – regardless of the time of day. Have you ever eaten ice cream for breakfast? I suggest that everyone try it.
As we were wrapping up our most recent meeting, someone came up to us and said: “I don’t mean to eavesdrop, I just want you to know that in a negative world, you two are a positive force.” Wow. Thanks for making my day, stranger.
What would prompt them to say this? The comment had me thinking about Cynthia and the positive force that she truly is – a force that I strive to be.
Here’s what we can all learn from Cynthia:
- Cynthia is a giver and she makes others want to do the same. It’s never about her, it’s about who she can help. How can someone benefit from her connections? Can she help someone land a job? Or help solve a challenge they’re faced with? Whatever it is, she’s always searching for opportunities to support others.
- Cynthia has never had a bad day in her life. Okay, that’s not true. We all have bad days, but Cynthia chooses not to dwell on the negative. She is grateful for every day and it shows.
- Cynthia knows that the way to happiness is through service – and this is something we have in common. We get joy from giving and caring for others. We both believe that the best leaders are servants first. You’re never too busy, too important, too rich, or too poor to be of service to someone else.
- And the last lesson for today – for goodness sake, just live your life. Do the things you want to do. Order that big bowl of ice cream for breakfast. It’s your story – you call the shots.
As much as I pride myself on wanting to be a teacher, when I’m around Cynthia and my other mentors – I am the student. She reminds me that if you live your life in servitude and love, you’ll always get it back in spades.
What lessons have you learned from your mentors? I’d love to hear them.
What is Outside Insights all about?
I’m a firm believer that everyone we come into contact with has lessons to share – from strategies for successful entrepreneurship, to how to live a balanced life – mind, body, and soul. Outside Insights is a platform for sharing those lessons and ideas so that we may all close our personal gap. At its core, it’s a community of individuals who know that there is always progress to be made – big or small. If something inspires you, let me know! If you want to discuss an epiphany you’ve had or a lesson you’ve learned, simply send me an email. It just might be our next featured topic!