In 1999, I celebrated Father’s Day in a London pub near Kensington Palace, guest of my sister Liesl who was living in the shadow of the Queen Mum. We attended Wimbledon and toured castles on the weekend. I spent the weekdays huddled in her South Kensington flat, working on my first book: Inspire, Persuade, Lead (Beaver’s Pond Press).
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The person who gave me the courage to write the first book died last week. I met Milt “Beaver” Adams at a National Speakers Association meeting. He heard me speak about how Public Relations techniques are powerful in helping leaders embrace their obligation to effectively influence. At 70 years old, he energetically radiated goodness. So much so, he wrestled me down after the speech and said: “I can help you write a book about your expertise. You can’t fully be an ‘authority’ on a subject unless you are also an ‘author.'”
Writing has always been one of my strengths. I started my professional career crafting press releases and advertising copy. But billable hour writing seemed trivial compared with the Herculean task of book-writing. Milt believed in me. He showed me a few works he published, written by people far less qualified. I remembered thinking: “I can do this!” I promised Beaver Adams I would use my transcontinental plane rides to England and back to write a sample chapter. And so the journey began.
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In reading Milt’s obituary last week, I learned I was one of the early authors of Beaver’s Pond Press and that Milt started his publishing business just six months before he wrestled me down. That’s right, he started a publishing company when he was 70 years old! My grandfather, Willis Kenneth Hunter, was also a publisher…and he was still working into his 70s. Milt Adams and Willis Kenneth Hunter are definitely two of my heroes. I believe they would be proud of this blog and the four books I co-authored since that transcontinental flight.
Milt attended several of my Good Leadership Breakfasts, but after a series of strokes he simply couldn’t continue. The last time I saw him, he beamed with his beaver-like grin: “I remember when I first met you…I convinced you to write your first book!”
Beaver Adams lifted me up by showing me how one of my strengths was actually a gift.
Good leaders make a habit of reflecting on the people who lifted them up to new levels of leadership. And they demonstrate their appreciation by telling their stories, lifting others, and behaving with gratitude every day.
Please send me a note about the people who have lifted you to where you are today. Beaver Adams would be honored to hear your story.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]