A few years ago, I met a 9 year old who is part of our church family. His name is Sam. Sam’s parents at one time had been in financial trouble and were homeless for a short period of time. So Sam decided that each Christmas he would collect new tube socks for homeless people. At first I wondered… “why socks”… but Sam explained that when you are cold and on the street, that a good pair of socks to keep your feet warm goes a long way.
So what does Sam and the box of socks have to do with your business? Here are some thoughts:
- Sam saw a great need in the market and despite his young age, has a passion and a drive to fulfill this need. Most great entrepreneurs are successful as a result of their ability to see needs and to work passionately to find a way to serve those needs.
- Sam truly wants to help people. I believe that the reason a person is successful in life is not due to the number of hours that they work, or the number of people they step on as they climb the corporate ladder… but instead it is the people who have a true desire to help people; whether it be their customers, their employees or their families. Most people want to do business with people who are honest, have high integrity and are looking not only to their own best interest, but to the best interest of others.
- Sam realized that he needed other people to help. A few weeks ago, as he has done for the past three years, he got up in front of a large group of people and a microphone and very quietly explained his mission to collect socks for the homeless. After he collects the socks, he and his mom then drive to the various shelters and work with various rescue missions so that he can personally deliver the socks to each homeless person. A good business owner or entrepreneur with a mission, will also realize that he cannot do everything on his own. Some of the best CEO’s that I’ve known have built a team of experts around them and encouraged them to contribute to the effort according to their own skill levels and abilities.
- Sam took the initiative to get something done. I know that Sam is a believer in God. But with his dream and his belief, he did more than think up a great idea and believe that it would work. Sam took action. At 9 years old, it might have been a bit scary for him, but he let his passion and belief overcome any fear of failure. Now, at 12 years old, he still is very quiet when he tells others about what his mission is, but he gets the word out… he spends many hours packaging each pair of socks in zip lock bags. For business owners, if they don’t do anything other than to think up good ideas and to have faith the ideas will work…then they will fail. Why? Because you need to move into action, surrounding yourself with a competent team of professionals who can help you get it done. How many people do you know thought of a great invention, but then got so frustrated when someone else filed the patent and brought the product to market.
- Sam realizes that the cost of action and the risk of failure is worth the benefit of success. Sometimes we let our fear of failure or the cost of action prevent us from doing what is right, or what is best in an organization. However if you continue to look toward the goal and the benefits that will be brought to other people, then the failures just become stepping stones on your journey, rather than obstacles to your success. If you focus on helping an individual or a family in great need then the barriers to getting to that goal are easier to achieve. If you only look at the obstacles, they sometimes become giant mountains that appear impossible to move. I don’t know all the obstacles that Sam faces in getting his project done, because he never talks about them. But I know that this Christmas morning, when many are gathered around together opening Christmas presents, Sam and his mom will be driving the streets of Phoenix, looking for someone to brighten their day.
If you would like to help Sam with this project, let me know and I’ll setup a time to come by your office to pick up any new tube socks or zip lock bags that you collect and I’ll make sure that Sam gets them. Be thankful for young men and women like Sam, who are looking how to make this world a little brighter, one sock at a time.
P.S. Sam collected over 1600 pairs of socks for the homeless and distributed at Christmas time in December 2014.