At the age of 20, I had exhausted my opportunities in the administrative field. Apparently, not being able to fax was a show stopper, so I moved onward and upward in search of a career, something that would take me places, where I would meet people, maybe help some people and pay my bills.
My dad, Willard Larson, offered to teach me the ropes in sales. He said I would never be without a job if I could sell something to someone.
At the time, my dad was selling Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans (RESPs), and that seemed a lot better than mastering the fax machine or spending my days withering away from loneliness at a reception desk.
We went out on the road and there across the kitchen tables, in the darkest rural corners of our little province, I watched and learned from this master.
My dad is anything but slick. He's what you might describe as a "good old boy". He will talk to anyone about anything. He loves football and bleeds green every time the Saskatchewan Roughriders play. He worked long days and nights, and at times looked a little worse for wear.
But none of that mattered across the kitchen table out there in the middle of the dark prairie. What mattered was that he listened to what mattered to his customers and found ways to help them make it happen.
When my dad did it, it seemed so easy. I sold scholarships myself for many years, using the "Willard Larson" methodology of listen, learn and help.
After I retired from the scholarship sales business and went back to school to study Journalism, I learned the same lessons applied - to listen, learn and help. As my career took off successfully in the corporate world as a strategic planner and communicator, I found myself again sitting across the table from business leaders as they described what kept them up at night, what they wanted to accomplish, and finding ways to help them make it happen with strategies and plans.
Through the course of my career, I learned a few things that I take with me as publisher of SKY Magazine.
1. When you do good things, good things happen.
2. If you treat people well, they will invite you back.
3. Do business and look after business.
4. Help people get somewhere.
My dad retired last year at 72 from a successful career of sales. His last gig was with Century 21 where he helped people find homes.
Now, here I am, carrying on the family legacy at yet another table listening to what matters to my clients, and finding ways to help them with words on the pages of SKY magazine.