It’s Back to School Season here in the Great United States.
Having had a near death experience last year, I have come to appreciate the little things life has to offer, but most importantly, the people who impacted me the most in my journey.
Teachers, of course, are among the people I have come to appreciate the most.
I think of Mrs. Ermelinda Carrillo, who raised me and our entire class from first to sixth grade.
You see, when I was just a kid, that’s the way education was imparted in
Juigalpa, Nicaragua. Central America.
One teacher would teach a group of kids all subjects from first to sixth grade.
I can sincerely say that the bond all of us formed with Ms. Carillo, and with each other
was and is as close as “being family” as it gets.
It goes without saying that Mrs. Carrillo impacted my life and the lives of so many people by simply teaching us manners.
I think of all the teachers that left an indelible mark in my soul…
Professor Edwin Romero.
I recall Mr. Romero’s encouragement when he said…
“Teran, you have what it takes to speak English.
Tell your mom to send you to the capital to study English”.
Just those few words from Mr. Romero motivated me to learn
the basics of the English language.
And here I am now, having made a life in the United States,
paying homage to this great mentor by writing this post.
(May he rest in peace).
Mrs. Graham, my algebra teacher at South Division High School,
in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Mrs Graham didn’t have to go out of her way to make me feel welcome
when I arrived with an “immigrant” look.
Mrs. Graham, however, took the time to take me under her wing
and guide me onto a path, which quickly resulted in a job internship
with the Wisconsin Gas Company.
(Sort of a big deal back in the day, and a great memory to this day because of the relationships I built there.)
Mrs. Ruiz, a Psychology teacher at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
She was kind enough to nominate me for a scholarship to a Business college in New York,
an offer I unfortunately had to decline because of my immigration status, in those days,
limited my options.
If you are into athletics, back to school also means back to sports.
I reminisce of high school sports, the teachers (coaches) my son had,
so many men who acted as fathers to my boy while I chased success in faraway lands.
Those men taught my son and so many other kids how to think of team, no of self.
They taught discipline, hard work.
They taught that if you Love the game, the game will Love you back.
The kids learned that in sports and in life, when you truly Love what you do,
when you Love the people around you, the people in your team, when you win together…
there is great joy, and when you and your team loses…
well the pain felt as a family can be at times unbearable.
This lesson, I have learned, also applies in life.
As a sideline, I remember a tag line of a show called the World of Sports.
The announcer would say…
“The World of Sports.
Bringing viewers around the world, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.”
How true this statement is when you have played a game you truly Love,
and when regardless of how much you Love,
life takes you to the sunlit hills of success,
only to land you in a dark valley of failure.
Life like any school will test you.
Back to the topic of Teachers, back to school, life, back to work focused on career.
I sit here thinking about mentors and coaches, all of them teachers.
In my professional life, I had the privilege of having learned from amazing people
who proudly wore these titles.
Mr, Carl Peterson and Scott Haugen at the Wisconsin Gas Company.
They taught me that bosses can be kind.
Scott Rzentkoski, my first sales manager and later on general sales manager.
Out of all the great closers in the auto industry from whom have I ever had the pleasure to learn my craft.
Scott was one of the best.
What made him the best?
His notepad and his pen.
He was magical at making sense of the numbers,
engaging people on a journey of common sense through just simple math.
Gordy Anderson, a tough but fair sales manager at Hub Chrysler Plymouth South,
in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Another king kong closer, not because he was a trickster, but because he was a master
at finding the “hot button” for the buyers, and he would gently press on it
until everyone shook hands, happily.
Harry Walsh, a dealer principal, who taught me the art of “marketing campaigns”.
I am writing these words 30 years later after I was under his tutelage,
and I can still hear his voice on the radio saying with a smile…
“$4 dollars over invoice, $4dollars over invoice…
You keep the rebate, period!
Other dealers don’t like it, but you certainly will.”
Enter Grant Cardone into my life.
I met Grant when he was just starting to build his dream.
Back in the day, Grant revolutionized the automotive sales industry with his word tracks,
which I learned to a tee.
I found his approach to selling automobiles fresh, empowering, and certainly
very different from anything I had been taught previously.
I embraced his teachings, and the results proved it.
Later in life, Brett Hopkins, taught me that a multi million dollar business
can be well managed through “carefully thought out” systems,
and easy to use technology made for managers to interpret financial data
at a click of their fingers.
Another great teacher (sales coach) deserving of great credit is Jennifer Suzuky,
founder of e Dealer Solutions, the first Internet Sales Training company in the Auto Industry.
Jennifer taught me and my team how to sell automobiles on the Internet,
and how to embrace prospecting, following up and securing appointments
via the same method of communication.
Her teachings came on the heels of the great recession of 2008, and thanks to what she delivered, our team went on to set sales records year over year over year.
Keep her name in mind.
Incidentally, as more and more people crave a hassle free purchasing experience
In all industries, I have a feeling you will hear more about Jennifer’s teachings in years to come.
Of course there are teachers, and there are great mentors.
There are those special people who have made it to my wall of gratitude, and who will stay there until I breathe my last.
Among them and at the top of the list, Mr. Zig Ziglar.
I firmly believe I would not be here without him.
He will be forever missed.
He taught me that in life College Degrees are good to have,
but the payoff pitch is always hit by life long learners.
Mr. Robert Myers, former CEO of Casey’s Convenience Gas and Convenience stores.
He taught me that great success does not have to be earned by sacrificing humility.
Mr. John Sutterfield, a gentleman and a scholar.
One of the last Mohicans in the auto industry.
He taught me to lend my energy to the people I lead.
Both my grandmothers.
Powerful women who did not have the privilege of high levels of education,
but who taught many people the meaning of hard work.
My mother who was a teacher, a dentist and later on a Theologian,
who taught me to be of service to humanity, and by her daily example to never give up.
My son, who taught me the healing of Radical Forgiveness.
And my wife, who taught me the healing transformative power of Unconditional Love.
And the Man of men, the Teacher of all teachers, my Spiritual Leader,
my rock, my North..
Christ Jesus, who taught me that if you call someone a friend,
you must be willing to lay down your life for her or him,
for there is no bigger measure of friendship,
and certainly no greater measure of Love.
Well friend, that’s my mind today.
“Long live teachers.
Long live learning from every situation in life.”
I hope something in these words resonates with you.
I hope we meet someday.
And I pray that on that day,
Both of us can be of service to God.
To the spirit of the ALL mighty in you,
I incline myself to say…
T A mO