Donna Smaldone
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Wednesday / September 28 / 2011

[Guest Post] What question keeps YOU up at night?

Today’s guest post comes to us from world renowned speaker, New York Times bestselling author, and (best of all) personal friend, Tommy Spaulding. Tommy is a huge movie buff, can study world maps for hours, and loves all things Yankees. His book, “It’s Not Just Who You Know” challenges you to transform your life by building genuine relationships.
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I’m pleased to be a featured guest blogger on The You Evolution™. I first met Donna in early August 2011 in Los Angeles at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Convention, where I was the keynote speaker. She immediately made a real impression on me, which I suspect is true of anyone who meets her.

I am drawn to Donna’s fearlessness to share openly, deeply, and compassionately. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her unique take on life, love, and relationships. Donna is the real deal and her passion for life is contagious. — Tommy Spaulding

After two and a half weeks on the road, I’m finally on a return flight home to Denver (purposefully planned so as not to miss the 12th birthday celebration of my step-son Anthony).

My final speaking gig on this jam-packed tour was in Chicago, as keynote speaker for 1,500 commercial real estate brokers at Colliers International’s National Convention. I was honored to share my message of servant leadership at the request of my friend, Dylan Taylor (who also happens to be Colliers’ national CEO).

During the Q&A, I was asked a question I had never been asked before.

“Mr. Spaulding”, the young real estate broker asserted. “You just got a standing ovation and now have a room full of people hanging on your every word. How do you stay so grounded? How do you stay so humble?

Tommy-n-Jill Spaulding

Tommy-n-Jill Spaulding

I appreciated the polite laughter as I revealed I was heading home to a house full of kids – and it’s amazing what changing diapers will do to a man’s ego!

But this young man’s question echoed in my mind all night, demanding a deeper answer.

What really keeps me humble? …and why?

When I got into the business of book writing and speaking, I made a promise to myself I was going to be the most authentic and humble speaker on the circuit, delivering the sincerity of my message off stage as much as I did on stage.

It’s not an original concept, but it’s highly under-practiced.

In this imperfect world, there simply aren’t enough leaders demonstrating authenticity and genuine humility. Leaders lead from one of two positions: humble and serving or arrogant and self-serving. Both can become financially successful, but only authentic and humble leaders will create real, lasting change and move people to make an impact.

Leaders who lead from a place of humility have profoundly impacted my life. Leaders like Steve Farber, John O’Leary, Ken Blanchard – and the guy I went to the White Sox game with a couple nights ago, Tim Stojka.

Tim and I first met a year ago when I gave the keynote address at a Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) leadership conference. I was instantly drawn to Tim but it took me a year to figure out why.

The day following the Sox game, Tim and I played Butler National Golf Club, one of the most famous and exclusive private golf courses in the Midwest.

Our caddy, Connor, is a senior in high school, applying to be an Evans Scholar at the University of Illinois. He’s the kind of guy you want your only daughter to marry (just not my only daughter – ha!)

A few holes in to the round, I found myself alone with Connor and asked if he’d ever caddied for Tim before. His answer intrigued me, “No, I’m not usually that lucky.”

That lucky? Connor explained, “When Mr. Stojka comes to Butler, the senior caddies fight over who gets to caddy for him. Today, they threw me a bone and let me caddy.”

Tim Stojka, CEO, Agentis Energy

Tim Stojka, CEO, Agentis Energy

“He must be a great tipper,” I joked. And then Connor said something I’ll never forget…

“I don’t know if Mr. Stojka is a good tipper, but I do know that he is the nicest and most humble of all our members.”

In that moment, Connor confirmed why I had instantly been drawn to Tim. Genuine humility.

In that moment, I was able to articulate a deeper answer to the question that kept me up that night: my faith, my “fifth floor” friends, who hold me accountable, and my extremely down to earth wife, Jill.

If you want to measure someone’s true success, observe how he treats his caddy, his waitress, his children.

If you want to be successful in your own career. If you crave genuine, longlasting friendships. If you long to make a difference in this world. Embrace the Tim Stojka way. Humility.

I promise you, demonstrating authenticity and genuine humility will change your life. It will change your relationships. It will change your community. And it will make the world spin better.

 

 

10 responses to “[Guest Post] What question keeps YOU up at night?”

  1. Rick says:

    Wow! I’m loving this post, Donna. And what a treat to have Tommy Spaulding write a guest post for your blog. Nicely done. Great message. I really enjoyed reading and thinking about it. Something to remember, for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Rick. I, too, love this post and am humbled Tommy was willing to share this message with my readers. I’ve only known Tommy for a short time, but can assure you he’s the “real deal”. He truly cares about others, about building relationships, and about investing in humankind. What a great model.

      Thanks for your comments.
      Love, Donna

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you Donna for sharing Tommy’s post on your blog, and thank you Tommy for another inspiring message. Ever since you spoke to our ACCE conference in L.A., I’ve been devouring your book and starting on my journey to develop “fifth floor” friends!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thanks for your comments and enthusiasm, Michelle. There was a certain contagiousness about Tommy at ACCE and as I’ve gotten to know him better, I can assure you it’s an epidemic!

      His book is a-may-zing and I’m glad you’re devouring it and beginning to construct “fifth floor” relationships of your own. LOTS of good nuggets in there.

      Thank you so much for reading.
      Love, Donna

  3. Rainey says:

    Donna, this is wonderful, I just wish that more folks would understand this concept, it is so very simple to always treat others as you would want to be treated

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      It does “seem” so simple, doesn’t it, Rainey? And yet practicing (most anything) is often more difficult that talking or reading about it. Sometimes the most “obvious” of things are the things we need to be reminded of the most.

      I appreciate your comments. Thanks so much for reading and sharing.
      Love, Donna

  4. Jessica Bailey says:

    Tommy and Donna … thank you for the post. In a world where being superficial and having “more” seems to mean having a “better” life, it is good to read that not everyone feels that way and it sure isn’t percieved as having “more”. Who you are is far deeper then surface level. “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is my generations keeping up with the Jones family. The ones who try to keep up are usually always outside of who they really are and I believe that is where the struggle of being humble comes from .. I really appreciate and truly can recognize a person who has come to success and treats a person who can do nothing for them the same exact way as the person who can. It isn’t always about the WIFM, and in my opinion being humble has everything to do with knowing just that. I’m so glad you brought this into discussion !! WOOT WOOT !

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      You hit the nail on the head, Jessica, when you said, “Who you are is far deeper than surface level.” What people first see tends to be external and superficial, but when you engage with people, you realize what they REALLY “see” is inside… the stuff that matters… the stuff that makes a difference in this world.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.
      Love, Donna

  5. Pam Fisher says:

    I missed this original post, and I’m so glad you are sharing it again. This inspires me and makes me want to be a little nicer, more patient, and more appreciative of those I encounter. An important reminder about how much our actions can impact others. As always, thank you Donna!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you so much for your comments, Pam. Imagine if the whole world practiced authenticity and genuine humility… it certainly would make the world spin better!

      Love,
      Donna

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