Those who've been in one of my workshops may remember me saying that three qualities make for a very effective seller: focus, impact and generosity. Focus helps you understand where your time and efforts are best spent - where you really can make a difference. Impact is something you lay out as a challenge to yourself - I want to do enough to really make a difference. And generosity is one of those counterintuitive notions that turns out to be truly liberating; the best sellers (along with the best executives and, for that matter, the best people) don't tally the score after every action - they know that doing good for those you serve always comes back. These three are the major components of a great career...and a very good life.
Today on a golf course up in Westchester County, Upstream Group and a dozen other companies from the digital media and technology worlds are gathering to raise funds for the TD Foundation, and I'm thinking a lot about focus, impact and generosity. For those unfamiliar with the cause, TD was founded by good friend and fellow industry veteran Tom Deierlein, who was recalled to service as a Captain in the Army Rangers in 2005 after more than a dozen years of civilian life. For the first several months of his deployment as a civil affairs officer in the slums of Sadr City, Tom saw need and brought focus, impact and generosity to the situation. It started with the e-mails: These Iraqi kids could really use school supplies, soccer balls, vitamins.... Instantly Tom was the personal link between our high-flying industry and the realities of service and horrors of war. He was to become so much more.
In September 2007 Tom and his unit came under sniper fire and he was seriously wounded. When I visited him at Walter Reed Medical Center a few weeks later, one of the first things he said was "Doug, we've got to keep this thing going." After weeks of being totally immobilized and many months of painful and difficult therapy, Tom never stopped thinking about the school children and families in Iraq who still needed help getting through the day. The TD Foundation was created with a mission to provide medical transportation and family support to wounded and critically ill children in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and to continue providing the day to day necessities - school supplies, soccer balls and vitamins! - that make life better in an immediate and measurable way.
The generosity part of this story is self-evident. But what I really love about being involved with Tom and the TD Foundation is the focus and impact they bring to so many life-changing situations. Recently Tom got a call on his cell phone from a relief organization desperate to get medical transportation to the United States for a badly burned Iraqi child. "Great...no problem. Where should I send the check?" No layers, no committees, just help right now. This is a good thing. A very good thing.
So I'm using today's Drift to raise both money and awareness for Tom and the TD Foundation. There are several thousand people who receive content notification of this blog every week, and at least half again as many who are getting it through syndication or referral. Take $10, $20 - the amount doesn't matter - and put it in an envelope to TD Foundation, 38 Hamilton Place, Garden City, New York, 11530. (Be sure to write "Drift" on the notation line.) Or donate online. Or send me a personal e-mail and I'll make sure you get connected.
I'm handing Tom a check today and I'm going to feel really great about that. I hope you'll enjoy the same feeling. Thank you.