Friday, October 22, 2010


Dear Reed,

I almost decided to not write this letter to you. This letter almost was written to my current doctor (Dr. Julie Dahl-Smith), because this is a letter to someone who changed your life. It didn't specify who changed it the most; it just said someone who changed your life. Dr. Dahl-Smith probably saved my life, which would definitely mean she changed my life. She stuck with me until we got to the root of my migraines. The fact that we haven't been able to knock them out really isn't her fault. I kinda have to look in the mirror and suck that one up myself. She said no stress and I kept the stress, so there you have it. Moving on...

I bet you are now wondering why you are getting this letter. Clearly it is because you changed my life. The weird part about this whole thing is that I didn't even know that you had changed my life until YEARS after the fact. That summer selling books door-to-door in Colorado was hard. In lots of ways it was brutal. That first week I really thought I might die. I hated it. The work schedule was grueling. Knocking on a stranger's door at 8am is just stupid. I thought it was stupid then and I still think it is stupid. No one is in a good mood at 8am. And if they are, it is broken by someone knocking on their door trying to sell them something. It also rained steadily that first week. It was actually cold. Cold and wet. Working a 12 hour day with a brief respite for a sandwich brought from home is not my kind of day. 8am-8pm rain or shine. Come on. I will never forget when the diarrhea hit me after about eight days and I was HAPPY. I was THRILLED. Never been so happy to have diarrhea in my life. I could go HOME. No one can work with that. Ann, my actual manager, called for numbers and I told her the sad truth. I was struck out of the game by a bad case of diarrhea. Her response was, "Why didn't you take Immodium?" Well that was met with silence. The obvious answer was that it would take my precious diarrhea away. I was happy to be on the bench. I was exhausted. I needed a time out. Ann and I never really got along after that. In fact, she stopped calling for end of day numbers when Karen quit and Diana moved to Colorado Springs.

After that, I heard a lot more from you. You were a manager, but you weren't mine. However, you would call me several mornings a week just to see if I was awake. I got really good at sounding like I was awake when I was actually sound asleep, and you had woken me up with your call. However, you never believed me. You always thought I was sleeping. That was irksome when I actually was awake. So, I guess I wasn't as good at sounding awake as I thought. Hmmmm. Sometimes, out of the blue, you would tell me to jump in the car and drive down to your territory. I was going to follow you that day. That was fine. It was nice to have company. Sales is lonely, and you were funny. The thing was this: I never got why you took an interest. You never got paid for helping me. I wasn't one of the people on your team. Calling me didn't financially boost you at all. Making sure that I succeeded didn't help you. I know that you didn't "like" me because you had a girlfriend who was there, and it was very obvious that the two of you were very into each other. But, you continued to kick me in the butt to try and make me better at every opportunity.

I know that I irked you because I got to the point that I pretty much told you the truth. Lying gets tiresome when someone continues to invest himself in you. So, on one those days when I would follow you around and you asked me how I ran my day, I finally told you. I started at about 10am. That is about the time I would be okay with my door being knocked on. I kept at it until I sold something. I had figured out if someone was going to buy the books I was selling, they would buy big. I sold them everything. Why go for the small sale when you can get the large one? Once I made that large sale I could go home and watch my soaps or go to the cheap movies. After dinner, I could work until 8pm and pick up the couple business. Sometimes I accidentally sold stuff. I made friends with my customers and would hang out with the people my age. I was going to a movie with one of them and I hadn't sold the neighbor across the street, but she recognized my car. While I was waiting, the doorbell rang. Turns out the mom talked it over with her husband and she wanted to buy the whole package. I left and made my sale and then I went to the movies with my new friend. Yeah, I am just good like that. I remember you just looking at me and shaking your head.

You said, "Can you imagine how much money you would make if you actually tried?"

I said, "Yeah, but then it would feel like work. I did that for a week when I got here and it gave me the runs. Too stressful. This way, I am making more money than most of the people who are working all day long, and I go to the dollar theatre three or four times a week. Plus I stay caught up on my soap. If you would stop calling me at the buttcrack of dawn, I might could get a decent amount of sleep."

That just earned earned me an evil eye and you didn't stop calling. In fact, I think you called more. You were determined to make me pick up my pace. Looking at it from this perspective, I think that you saw all of this sales potential going to waste and it drove you a little nuts. If it makes you feel at all better, you drove me a little nuts by calling me all the time when I was trying to sleep in. I wasn't going to knock on a door before 10am no matter when you called. You just ruined my extra sleep.

When the summer was over, we had this big party, and we all wrote our names on our Styrofoam cup, so that they didn't get mixed up. You wrote on mine, "Made more $/HR than anyone else." We had all been drinking a bit by then. I am not sure if you meant it as a compliment or if you were still ticked by my lack of incentive, but I decided to take it as a compliment. Anyway, I never forgot it. That was the summer of 1988. Ten years later, my life was going to hit a fork, and I was going to have make the Big Decision: What do I want to be when I grow up? I was an English major who no longer lived in New York, couldn't finish a novel, and didn't want to go back to school to teach. In fact, I didn't want to be a teacher. At that point, it came down to, "What am I good at?" I thought about that cup a lot, and I knew that it was sales. I was good at sales.

It took a couple of different sales jobs to figure out what kind of sales job I liked, but it was sales. I am not sure that I would have known that if it hadn't been for you. You and your constant phone calling when you weren't my manager. When you weren't making any money off of my performance. When you called and said, "You are following me today. Get out of bed, get showered, and get in the car. Hustle." I would hang up and mutter that you had no business telling me what to do, but I still did it. And I always learned something following you. The thing was that you didn't have to take an interest in me and my potential. You gained nothing from it, but you still did it. So, thank you. I admire you more than words can say. I will never forget the words you wrote on that cup; those words changed my life. They gave me a career. When I get well, I am going to have the biggest selling job of my life to do. I am going to have to sell the world on hope. On me. On believing that we can give people the tools to assist them in their journey from illness to wellness. It is going to take millions of dollars. I am going to have to sell the people of this country on an idea. You believed in me. It made me believe in me.

Because of you I know it can happen. All it takes is a few committed people and you can change the world. And that is how you changed my life.

You Are Better Than The Best,

image snatched from Miss Angie at My So-Called Chaos


  1. So I don't know if I understood about following the last time I stopped by your blog, or what--but I thought I was already following you. Turns out, not so much. But I am now!

    Anyway, I was making the blog rounds, and I read this and loved it. First, I love this sort of thing--thanking someone years after the fact--and I love how you do it. I think I learned more about you in this post than I've learned since you first commented on my blog!

    Anyway, I'm going to scroll down and read some more, but I had to check in.

    (Side note: I've been trying to read blogs of people who post on my site, and seriously, the first post in almost every case was enough to make me want to comment. Either I'm very easy, or people are good at catching my interest!)

  2. Robin: You are interesting. Have a great weekend!

  3. Wow. What an incredible story you have shared with us. This definitely put some things into perspective about you for me. I'm so glad she never gave up on you. What an inspiration.

  4. Reed was a he and not a she, but it doesn't change the important parts of the story...

  5. What a great letter Robin. I could feel the respect and the gratitude in your writing and that's not always an easy thing to pull off. Everyone should have a Reed in their lives. Who in this world takes the time or makes the effort to go that extra step (or steps) for somebody when nobody is telling them they have to?

    There really aren't lot of Reed's in this world, and of the short list of people who've been the lucky recipients of their attention, there aren't a lot of Robin's either. I mean that in a good way. A very good way, actually. Most people don't take the time to reach back and reflect on the non-catastrophic events that helped to shape them; let alone have the generosity of spirit to acknowledge the event or person who was responsible for them. You gave Reed his due. And that's pretty cool.

    I'll be totally honest and tell you that I haven't had an opportunity to go back through every post prior to my following you here, so I may very well have missed it entirely, BUT I'd love to know more about the non-profit you've mentioned. (unless it's something that you're deliberately keeping close to the vest for the time being) Just curious.....

    So, it's getting close. If you don't mind my asking yet another personal and I'm sure totally prying question, how are you feeling about the end of the "30 days of letters" ?? I, for one will miss them, primarily because they've helped me to learn a lot more about who you are.

    I've even thought about doing something similar, but it never fails that when I find an idea that I really seem to like, it's already "taken" (of course) and I don't want to run around the blogosphere stealing other people's ideas. Hopefully these off the wall hormones of mine haven't killed all of my creative gray matter, but it sure feels like it most days. This is why I call it mentalpause!!

    Well... Dang! I've written a small novel, so I will stop now. Sorry about that. It's been a looooong week around here. Guess I needed to have a major purge.

    Take care and once again... great letter!

  6. Hi Robin, thanks for coming by my blog ... welcome. There is much to catch up, surfing through your other posts to know you better. We are on this earth somehow to serve others. Be it our own parents, children or even complete strangers. There are God's messengers everywhere. Btw saw your Youtube dedications, truth is, my life unfolds strangely like the 'Gilmore Girls'and I talk quite like her too. Fast and Loud. haha Blessings.

  7. @EyeRytStuf ~ You have had lot happening. Not surprising that a few things have buzzed by you. Glad you are getting everything under control:-)

    @JJ ~ You keep saying that. Hmmmm.

    @ Coffee Junkie @ Not sure what perspective. You might have to send me an email on that one!

    @ Martha ~ I started blogging about my idea for the non-profit a couple of months ago. I knuckled down and bought my domain name about a week ago. Since I know zip about computer programming (aka creating a web site), I am still torn about which web hosting service I should use. Yeah, this is driving me nuts. I will look for your email on your page and try to find the best blog that explains my non-profit idea. Or blogs. As for the letters, I got the idea from someone I follow. The curriculum can be found by clicking on the blogs from last month. It is called 30 Day Letters and it gives you the list. I found the whole thing to be very therapeutic. I cried through a lot of them. So, it was a good thing.

    @Gaia ~ So glad you came by and I do agree. I have been doing so much reading about getting a non-profit organization off the ground. It really takes commitment to the mission. Unlike a regular business (whose goal is to sell a product), the goal is to help people become better in some way. It can be difficult to place "value" on that which is "trackable" in terms of dollars and cents. However, in terms of quality of life and the changes you make to this world... well, that is something else entirely. Thanks again for stopping in. Oh, and I do love my Gilmore Girls:-)

  8. thats so awesome too bad there aren't alot more Mr Reeds out there...


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