My first paying job was when I was five years old, and I asked my mom if I could sell her old magazines door-to-door. Even though they were tattered and cut up, I returned two hours later with five dollars. I was not surprised, but my mother was.
So, as I reflect on the three things I’m most thankful for in business today, I realize they were all present even then:
1. Support from friends and family. Despite doubting or not understanding some of my plans, they supported me with their attention, constructive criticism, and ideas. My mother tried to tell me that “People don’t want used and cut-up magazines, Chuck.” But she still stitched a makeshift, over-the-shoulder satchel for me to drag them around the neighborhood. The support extended into the community—neighbors opened up their doors and wallets to a little kid selling junk.
2. Wonder can be squelched in a moment by something as small as an odd look from a parent. When parents allow their children to embrace that wonder wholeheartedly, they give the next generation a lot more autonomy and fuel to imagine and create the things that will change our world.
3. Confidence is a tricky thing. It’s never awarded but rather achieved through a balance of successes and failures. And despite the number and magnitude of each, as long as they are fairly balanced, we remain confident. So, when we are in the depths of failure, looking up out of the hole we just dug ourselves into, it’s important to remember the victories we accomplished and the holes we were able to climb out of in the past.
So, this Thanksgiving season, when a precocious kid knocks on your door selling something, resist the urge to send them away. Because, even if you don’t need used magazines, they may need your help with support, wonder, and confidence!
Happy Thanksgiving! Save me a drumstick!