Wednesday, June 27, 2007
We Really Do Need Each Other
Since I wrote about a former boss on my last post, I think it would be appropriate to write about the next boss. You cannot tell by this photo that David Gligor is on crutches with a broken leg and has been recuperating from a broken shoulder, broken collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung. His smile in this photo means more than you may think. He is very much aware that he is very fortunate to be alive.
Continuing from my previous post, soon after taking the new overwhelming position I just wrote about, the boss who was so impressed with my interview (kidding) was promoted to another position within the company. All of a sudden a man I had never met was my boss. I could not help but wonder how a very smart young up and comer corporate guy who grew up in Ohio would mesh with a gray haired southern drawl talking guy from Georgia. When I found out he was of the Orthodox Greek faith I also wondered how my Southern Baptist and United Methodist background would fit.
Just to keep you from being in suspense I will go ahead and answer that question. It was a perfect fit. After over four years of working together, I would consider David on the short list of one of the best friends I have on earth. Just so you will know I am not trying to get brownie points with my boss, David is no longer my boss. After working for him for 3 years or so, David transferred to another area of responsibility and I was fortunate enough to take his position. So for the past couple of years we have been peers.
When I began working for David, I quickly realized I had never met a man who worked harder. He was absolutely wide open. Most nights we would get to a hotel after midnight and we would leave again at 6AM. I also quickly realized that he was very smart and I had sense enough to make it my business to learn all I could from him. He was a very tough businessman and did not hesitate to make the tough decisions. He took me to a completely different level in my profession. And he made me very tired trying to keep up with him.
But I think I helped him out a little as well. David did not have a funeral background and since I have been doing that since before I was old enough to drive, I was able to help him understand the importance of our people who sit across the desk from families day after day who have had their hearts ripped out. And what it takes to look after all the intricate and very important details from the time a death call is received until the disposition takes place.
We realized we were in a very good situation. We learned from each other and we both had great respect for each other. Since we spent so much time together traveling throughout the United States we talked about everything under the sun. We had many serious discussions about life but we also laughed a lot. It didn’t take me long to realize that this very tough businessman had a huge heart. During our time of working together his very beautiful and young wife found out she had cancer. In what seemed like a blink of an eye she was gone and David’s world was rocked. I visited Debbie at a Houston hospital just a couple of days before she passed away. It was a moment and a visit I will never forget. In just a few days I was serving as a pallbearer at her funeral. And I watched my completely devastated friend trying to get his breath. And at the same time I saw a very smart tough businessman go to a completely different level in understanding what our profession is all about.
David made it through the darkest days of his life as everybody eventually does. He was very determined to keep living life to the fullest. The recuperating he is doing that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog is a perfect example. He was racing his dirt bike a few months ago one Saturday afternoon and took a major spill. It is a miracle he made it out alive.
A few months ago David paid me the greatest compliment he could possibly pay me. He told me that when his future son in law asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage, he had one request before he agreed. He wanted his future son in law to watch a video of one of my talks.
The relationship I have with David Gligor taught me a very valuable lesson. It doesn’t matter where we come from or what our background happens to be, there really are no differences. And we all need to continually work to build relationships with those God puts in our path. Those relationships can be the catalyst to help us live out what we were put on earth to do. We make each other better.
We really do need each other.