Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four Questions to Improve Your Life

Jim Poland is posting today...

Great-granddaughter of the seaman's haberdasher
It was the third of June, a grey and damp day as a tweed-clad gentleman with a fedora pulled low on his balding head glided his black bicycle to a stop at the base of the gang plank walkway to a Canadian-flagged freighter. He pulled the clips from his trouser cuffs, tucked them into the leather satchel slung over his shoulder and pulled a cloth bag filled with fabric swatches from the bicycle's basket. Turning up the gang plank he announced himself to the seaman on watch and said that the Captain and First Mate were expecting him.

This was the first day after the great Blitz of Liverpool, in early May, that Will Gates, my grandfather and a haberdasher had called upon his customers in the Port. The barrage balloons bobbed and swayed overhead in the strong wind as thick, swollen clouds low in the sky raced across the Mersey.

Will Gates had created a unique business to feed his family during the war. He called aboard ships to provide high quality, English tweed custom-made mens' suits and accessories to the captains and first mates of the merchantmen that docked in the Port of Liverpool. He CAME TO HIS CUSTOMERS who had very little time while in port and rarely left their ships during the war while their cargoes were off-loaded and supplies re-stocked.

Every night brought German bombs meant to cripple the freight shipping capabilities of Liverpool and before the war's end would cause the second greatest loss of civilian life during the reign of the Air Battle of Britain, after London itself. Will had given up on maintaining his Gates' Fine Gentlemen's Tailor Shop since each night meant that any building in the port city was liable to be rubble and ashes by dawn.

Mr. Gates had run off as a young boy and sailed the seas from the Port of Liverpool. So he had many friends and contacts at the docks. After being swindled twice by unscrupulous partners, Will vowed to never have a profit-sharing partner in his clothing business again.

Will Gates embraced "outsourcing" in 1940! He was a direct-call salesman and sourced his tailoring to two Jewish tailors that he had worked closely with before the war. His customers knew him as a fun-loving seaman who got his land legs, opened a haberdashery and came directly to them to provide personalized service and top-notch hand-delivered British clothing.

Perhaps as a legacy to the ingenuity and hard-work of Will Gates, during a time when 70,000 Liverpudlians were made homeless, fifty years later his grandson began providing personalized service to business owners and leaders; the "Captains of Industry".

That grandson is me, and the business is SummitHRD.com; a 21 year "young" firm that provides individual and team coaching, structure and process, for men and women to achieve their goals and improve the world.

The stories or “legend” I learned from my mother about her father shaped my inner thoughts of what was possible or achievable in a lifetime, and what was not. I cope with those deeply engrained images and habits of thought every day.

If we could be more self-aware and more intentional about the legacy of possibilities that we leave behind for future generations, we might be able to elevate the quality of life for generations to come.

Consider these questions today and tomorrow . . . take time to allow your thoughts to evolve:
  1. What positive, inspiring story will the next generation tell about you?
  2. What will be the guiding lessons of the “legend of you” that will be passed down for several generations?
  3. What is your definition of “success” for your lifetime?
  4. What will you do tomorrow to positively impact the future generations of your family, your community?


Lonnie said...

Nicely done. Reads like a Jeffrey Archer Tale.

Julie Poland, certified business coach said...

Thank you very much, Lonnie. Your words mean so much given your profession and life's experiences.