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Ross is a hydraulics consultant whom I have know for years having worked on retail design projects together. Ross is a DOER, not a GUNNER. He just wants to know the facts, not the story, so he can get things moving quickly and efficiently. In fact, was so good at doing his job, that even though we have known each other for 12 years I didn’t really get to know him till we sat down over a coffee waiting to discuss a project.
It’s funny how you can know someone for years. You can interact with them on a regular basis but when all is said and done you don’t really know them. Ross is the quintessential professional. He doesn’t mix business with pleasure and so kept his private life separate to his working life. If you want to get a job done, Ross is your man. Never over 12 years did I ever feel that he would not do what he said he would. No matter what problems out of his control would crop up, he would get the job done, no questions asked.
Yet over this one coffee, after so long, I realised I had missed out on seeing the gem right in front of me. In the relaxed atmosphere of the cafe we began to discuss for the first time what was happening in each other’s lives. What I discovered what Ross had been through in the past few years left me feeling moved and different for the coming week. Ross had experienced such tragedy over the past few years with many close family members dying, including his wife who took her own life due to depression. It had left him with a deep sense of emptiness.
What I learned was it is often difficult for men to open up. Society expects them to be stoic and have a stiff upper lip. What I discovered that day was a life, a story and a person I never knew existed. Ross has been a regular buyer of our gift books. He told us the story of how he gave one of our Little Books to his Mum and how she set aside a whole afternoon to sit in the garden and make it a special occasion to read the gift she was given…anyway, that’s another story.
I was so moved by Ross and his story and the way he opened up that for a whole week I felt this deep sense of sadness. I sent him a gift of Life’s Little Gems Book of Hope, and after a week he called saying that he was deeply touched by the gesture. I said to him that it was I that was deeply touched by him trusting me enough to open up. I felt honoured. It is very difficult for men to open up, and even more to other men. It’s just not done. I told him that people do care and do want to listen, if it means they get to know you. Are there people in your life that you don’t really know?
Ross’ energy is every book, as being an engineer, he has generously given us his feedback. His eyesight, as many people’s eyesight is as they get older, isn’t the best, so his suggestions mean that we are constantly improving the quality and the experience that you get from our products.
Books and people have stories that run deeper than their covers and far more deeper than the words they contain within the pages. When you give a book, just remember that you are creating new stories and new beginnings. Every book contains many more stories than one can imagine, and many of these stories are yet to come.