Make Time To Be Real

I had lunch yesterday with a parking attendant. It was a great visit, and it reminded me that each of us has the opportunity to affect the lives of those around us if we are intentional in our efforts. It also reminded me that we as leaders need to stop, make time to invest in people, and be real.

His name is Gegahege Gebre, he told me to call him “Gabray.” He has a thick accent and he struggled to find the right words to express his thoughts in English, but I’m learning to understand him more each time we meet. We had a great lunch together. This little man has a huge heart and he provides a “Raving Fan” level of care and encouragement to each person as they leave the parking structure of the Spectrum building on Beltline and Dallas Tollway.

I first met him about a year ago as I pulled up to pay for parking. We have our monthly Renaissance Executive Forums meeting at Access Business Centers, and Gabray sits in a small room taking tickets and giving parking receipts all day.

He asked me how my meeting went, I told him it was great, and he replied “Alright! GOD is good.” He smiled and gave me my receipt and said “GOD bless you” as I drove off. This continued each time for the last year. Except for the rare moment where we could talk without cars backing up, then we just exchange smiles, and I took off.

More Than Just A Parking Attendant

When I mention Gabray to our group members in the past, everyone of them said how nice and encouraging he was, and how they always drove away with a smile on their face from what he said to them. THIS IS THE PARKING ATTENDANT! 

I’m always in a hurry to get to a lunch meeting or another appointment when I pull up to pay, so last week I asked him if I could bring lunch next week for us to share and we could talk. He lit up like he had just won the lottery and explained: “that would be wonderful my friend.” By the way, all he wanted for lunch was some McDonald’s fries.

We sat and shared lunch together in the tiny ticket booth as he told me his thoughts about life, having joy and peace, and the opportunity we all have to care for each other. Gabray has seen some hard times in his life, and with tears in his eyes, he shared how GOD had cared for him in his darkest hours. He also told me why McDonald’s fries were better than anything else to eat.

This lunch cost me one hour of my life and a large fries, but what I gained was a reminder to keep humble, maintain a tender heart for others, and never doubt that I can make a difference in the lives of every person I meet. EVERY PERSON.

I love the work I do with our group members. I get to influence the lives and businesses of some of the best business leaders here in DFW. Our members have connected fast and have created a place to be encouraged, motivated, challenged and held accountable to their personal and professional goals. My challenge is to find great leaders and get them to stop long enough to think about what they really want in life and see how our group can help.

Take Time to Talk with Others

I used to feel bad about calling someone who did not know me and asking them to take time to talk about their business and goals and to share how our CEO Peer Advisory Groups bring real value to our members. However, after years of seeing how the lives and businesses of our members have improved because of these groups, I came to the realization that I need to push leaders to take a few minutes with me or they will miss the opportunity to be a part of this greatness!

The members of my groups are my friends, some closer than others, but all are my friends, and I am there for them when they need me. We did not start out as friends but as complete strangers. The friendships have developed because we spend time together each month, we listen and care about each other, and our lives are better because if it.

When we start to think we know it all, we stop being able to learn from others. Make time to listen and learn from others. Start with your family, add your friends, employees, business associates, and even the sales guy who calls to interrupt your day. WHY? Because you need them, and they need you.

It’s about human beings caring for other human beings.

The fact is you will never have enough time to do everything you THINK you need to do. So make time to connect to the world around you and let them pour into you, so you can turn around and pour into others. Life is richer, fuller, and more fun when you live it this way. 

“Thank you Gabray for being an example to us all.”

Robert Hunt

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