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Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Thanksgiving Tale



My driveway seemed quite a bit bigger that morning back in 1995. I remember stopping dead in my tracks when it hit me that both my cars had been repossessed. My world fell apart that day and left me without my cars, my business, $60,000 in debt and without any degree of self esteem.

With one small child and another on the way, I was lost, scared and not used to being poor.

I took on a night job working from 8pm to 8am as a Laser Operator making $8.50 per hour plus incentive pay. I remember working through my breaks and being within a few thousand impressions of hitting bonus and then the machine would break down. I would leave there feeling like a bigger loser than when I arrived . I'd get home, exhausted and many times would fall asleep while catching up with my wife. I remember ransacking my ashtray to find 40 cents so we could each have a roll with our coffee. Those were great mornings!

I took on jobs delivering pizza's and as a bus boy at a local Italian restaurant. I know first hand what it feels like to get screwed out of tip, have people treat you like crap and have lots of time to reflect on your sins, all the while wondering what you did to deserve this?

But it wasn't all bad.

I learned to bust my ass again
I started to appreciate things I had taken for granted
I became closer with God and my family
I started to dedicate myself to continual learning

I learned what its like to feel like you're at the end of your rope and then have someone come along and offer a random act of kindness. That one stands out most!

You know, this thing called life is a very delicate thing. I think we need to be respectful of the things we have been given and find a way to give something back.

That brings us to the Thanksgiving portion:

As we quickly approach one of my favorite holidays, I would invite you to think beyond the turkey (I know you would have lost me right there too), think beyond the travel or perhaps if you are like me, think beyond the juggling of visiting more than one relative and the whole “I’ve got to see both sides of the family today” thing.

When we break up the word Thanksgiving it obviously gives us two words.

The first word is "Thanks"
Do you express your gratitude to your clients regularly? Do you do so in new, exciting and unique ways? Do they feel appreciated?How about your support team at your company? When was the last time, you thanked them for coming through for you, going the extra mile or just being a good support team?

Do you have some people in your life who have supported you, encouraged you, guided you, listened to you? When was the last time you thanked them?

And now, the million dollar question . . . Do you have an overall attitude of gratitude? Are you grateful for what you have?

The second word is "Giving". Many years ago, I heard Tony Robbins give a tip on being wealthy. He said that if we truly want to feel wealthy then we should make giving a habit. He went on to explain that when we give, we are subconsciously telling ourselves we have enough to give to others. In that moment we feel wealth and abundance. The giving doesn’t have to be some enormous amount either.

How about that free turkey you are about to win at the supermarket. Consider donating it.
Buy an extra can or two of food and donate it to a local food bank. With the economy the way it is our local food banks are really hurting right now!
That spare change in the coffee can in your room
Frequent flyer miles
Give blood


A kind or encouraging word to someone who needs a little pep talk. Please don't take that encouragement lightly . . . everyone deserves another round! Encouragement keeps them in the fight!

This week, your focus is on “Thanks” and “Giving”.
What can you do, starting right now to really own those two concepts?


Finally, I hope you will slow down on Thanksgiving and enjoy your family. This is why we work as hard as we do and quite frankly conquering the world at home is a must!

Oh, and I am very grateful for that day back in 1995, when my world fell apart, because it set in motion a series of events that brought me here today . . . For me to show respect and appreciation for a second chance!


Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

With respect and appreciation,
Paul Castain


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15 comments:

  1. I am not even through my first cup of coffee and you made me cry! You are a true motivator on a daily basis so keep up the good work! Oh yeah...Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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  2. THANK YOU Paul for such an inspiring reflection of how well off we really are.
    -Jack Derderian

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  3. Thanks Paul!

    What an appropriate and motivating story. You have awoken in me the need to share a few of my own; I will do so in the spirit of "paying it forward".

    My thanks to you: The breakdown of the word "Thanksgiving" was so simple yet so very on the mark.

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  4. Wow! Thanks for sharing that story..I have personally been there myself! I lost everything in 2008 due to the real estate crash and yet I thank God every day for what I have and the opportunities that are available to me today.

    I truly believe that our greatest lessons in life come from our most challenging moments and hopefully learn from them. It sounds like you did. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  5. Paul,
    Very nice post. I have been close to that several times in my career. Once when I mortgaged my house 3 times to build the business of my dreams to have to sell it at a huge loss for growing it too fast.
    Thanks for the reminder what this season is about.

    Bill Morgan
    The Job Swami Career Site
    www.thejobswami.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Paul--

    thanks for a knock-out blog posting-- And to everyone-- make it a point this week to pour "a big glass of encouragement" (or maybe a few) for someone you know that really needs it. Pick up the phone and call someone who could really use it--maybe someone you haven't spoken to in a very long time. do it with absolutely no other motivation that you know it's "the right thing to do". Thank them for something they've done for you, or what they've meant to you, whatever...

    Trust me, you will get far more out of it than you ever thought possible, and more importantly, they will get a lift just when they needed it.


    Jeff

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  7. Thanks for this timely reminder. I am blessed, and if I focus on the blessings, not what I think I "need", the blessings will continue!

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  8. I wish I worked for you.

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  9. Paul, I find your story so inspiring!
    Most of the most successful people in America faced great struggles at least once (but often many more) in their career. Thank you for sharing and I'm so glad you are doing better!

    Persevere!!

    Neil Wood - Hingham, Mass

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  10. Paul, in the last month it seems that you have been reading my mind and posting topics magically selected just for me. What a great post. How easy it is for us to take for granted all that we have been given & achieved. Taking time out to give back helps me appreciate what I have and pay it forward it someone else. I highly recommend giving back as a great way to give your own attitude a injection of enthusiasm!

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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  11. Another winner! Thank YOU for being open and sharing with us once again....I might just have to start referring to you as "Sage Castain." A friend recently told me he had seen "s.a.g.e." referred to as standing for "Savor All Good Energy." : )
    Sher Conner

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  12. Thank you all for the kind words!

    Sorry I fell behind in responding. I am battling a bad cold today and bit under the weather!

    Thanks again!

    Paul

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  13. Thank you so much for this article - such an important reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You spoke from the heart.

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us what life is all about.

    Katharina

    ReplyDelete

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul ctstrainer@yahoo.com. This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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