When I was a kid, my dad was a salesman for a pharmaceutical company. My dad was a pretty solid sales rep and would always win awards for his efforts. One day, he brought one of these awards home and it caught my eye. The award was a framed photo of this beautiful ship with bellowing sails cruising on a blue ocean. It was entitled the “Salesman Ship” and in every sail there was a word identifying a characteristic that made up the qualities of a great salesman. Words like “perseverance”, “conviction”, “enthusiasm”, etc. were written in the white sails. The ship itself also had a word across it – “personality.”
My dad gave it to me to hang in my room – I was 12. As we were putting it up, he said to me, “Louis – All these traits are important to have, but if you don’t have great relationships in your life, none of this matters. You will be able to accomplish anything if you possess unbreakable relationships.”
I would see that ship everyday and thought it was pretty cool that my dad entrusted it to me. More importantly, it was a daily reminder of what my dad had said about relationships.
As time rolled on, I went to B.C. High and Boston College, where the significance of relationships was constantly reinforced. Throughout my education and career, I have relied on building relationships to succeed at achieving my goals. Most of the time, successfully building unbelievable win-win relationships, but unfortunately, at times, failing miserably due to self-imposed pitfalls including, lack of focus, pride, ego and a myriad of characteristics that erode the solid structure of a relationship.
As bad as failing can be, it allows folks to reexamine how they operate. I am constantly refining myself to become the best Relationship Architect possible. The tweaks over the years have really paid off, and I have been blessed with a remarkable network of varying relationships that have allowed me to flourish. I have had dream jobs along the way that many would have paid my employers to obtain. I do not take these opportunities for granted and know that I was only able to posses them because I built solid relationships.
For the past few years, I have been teaching at my alma mater, Boston College, and the concept that my dad instilled into me a very young age is interwoven throughout my lectures. The philosophy has been so well received by my students, that I feel the time is right to begin sharing it with a wider audience. Hopefully, little pieces of my blueprint will help you build remarkable relationships in your life.
I’d like to dedicate this blog to the Captain of the “Ship” himself – Big Lou (aka – Papa Louie). Thanks Dad, I love you.