From time to time, I’ve shared biblical principles that include sound advice. Whether you’re a believer in the world's all-time best selling book or not, there is some great wisdom in there. I’d like to talk about one principle that has helped me immensely throughout my career.
Always have a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy in your professional life.
Paul the mentor, Barnabas the encourager, and Timothy the student.
I have had several Pauls in my life, or as I like to refer to them, as the industry’s “Tiger Woods.” These individuals have taken the time to talk to me and share their wisdom. I would not be where I am today without those mentors. Mike Anderson and John Beckworth have taught me countless lessons that allowed my knowledge to outpace my experience.
Currently, Kevin Rains plays that role in my professional career. Kevin has taken a very different path than I have. Being able to listen to him share the successes and failures he’s had along the way has been instrumental in some of the key decisions I’ve made over the past few years. I’ve written at length about the Pauls in my life.
There are a couple guys who fill the role of Barnabas in my life—this is someone who is at a similar point in their career as me. Your 20 Group is a great place to meet a Barnabas. I have a regular, standing conference call with a few other shop owners where we discuss the pressing issues we each have in our shops. Sometimes we’re all battling the same thing, other times we are there to listen and offer suggestions to each other. There’s been no other year like 2020, and the value of these relationships over the last 12 months is immeasurable.
We discussed PPP loans, COVID policies, where to find new work sources, and so much more this past year. The speed at which we were able to get educated on PPP was amazing. Each of us had read different articles and we were able to pass that knowledge on. We saved each other hours of research while strengthening ourselves. I am extremely grateful for the guys on those calls.
The Timothy relationship is probably my favorite. If I were only to have one of these three in my life, I’d pick Timothy.
I discovered the value of a “Timothy” my sophomore year in college. I played soccer during my freshman year and then transferred to a new school. While I loved playing soccer, I knew it wasn’t going to become my career—I was planning on being a professional coach. When I arrived at my new school, I learned they were starting a women’s soccer program and looking for a coach.
Even though I was just a sophomore, I interviewed and was hired as the assistant coach. I spent a year teaching the basics of the game, as some of our players were new to the sport. After a year away from playing, I had the itch to get back on the field. I tried out for the men's team my junior year and was shocked at how well I played. I played the best soccer of my life after taking a year off. It took me a long time to figure out why: After teaching the basics for a season to the women’s team, it became second nature to me. I was able to play without thinking.
I look back on that period of my life often, having learned the value of teaching people skills that I was also going to put into play myself. It’s why I’ve always made a point to have someone in my professional life who fits that role. The more time I spend talking with small business owners about the basic principles that make us successful, the easier it is for me to stick to those principles.
Passing on information seems to always pay big dividends. Whether it’s someone new to the industry or a local startup outside the industry, it’s pretty easy to find someone looking to learn. Years ago, I started a local small business owners group. We would meet for dinner and discuss challenges we were all having. We always made a point to bring in someone who was new in business.
While they may not have had the most to offer, they often benefited the group the most just by being there. We got the opportunity to remember what helped us to get to where we were and it reminded us to never leave those sound principles in the past.
Take a minute to think about the people in your professional life. Do you have someone who meets the role of Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy? If not, seek out people to fill those roles. Having one or two of those roles filled is valuable, but having all three in your life, at the same time, is a sure way to stay on a successful path.