“Passion Is Our Fuel.”
Many of you that know me well know that one of my favorite stores is Home Depot. For those of you reading this email outside of the U.S.A., Home Depot is a home improvement store in the U.S.A. that sells almost anything you need to improve or repair your home.
The reason why I love that store and home improvement is because of my father. I was never passionate about fixing or building stuff around the house when I was a kid, but my father always taught me things that helped me develop a passion for it over the years.
Growing up as the son of Italian-American immigrants had its advantages: home-cooked fresh meals every day. Another great perk was that our family and extended family were very close. We always celebrated Sundays and holidays together, which I miss dearly as the families have grown and moved to different parts of the state and country.
Italians (at least my parents) were funny about money and spending it. I would figure out later in my teens that my parents were a middle-class family that had done pretty well in our country, but you would never know it because they always acted like we had no money. This meant no eating out at restaurants, no vacations, no movie theaters, no concerts, and nothing else that involved spending money.
This ALSO included not paying any professionals to do anything for us around the house. This was not happening in our place; after all, according to my parents, “We could not afford it.” Actually, according to them, we could barely afford the home and cars we had, and the only reason we could was because of the sacrifices we made as a family.
My father taught me a lesson about passion when I was a kid that I still remember and use to this day. Even here at TLC, when we hire people or look for someone to do something that we need to be done, I use my dad taught me. Of course, he had a dual motive for this lesson, one was saving money, but the second was the power of passion.
In my home, we NEVER paid anyone to fix or build anything; we always did it ourselves to save money. Many people do this today, but back then, there was no Google or YouTube to search for help, and with my parents not being able to speak English well, it was not easy for them to get advice from the hardware store either. So there was a lot of trial and error in our home projects!
As a young boy, I would listen to my dad and do as he said. This included me helping him around the house with any projects that were needed. For the most part, when I was young, I just did it to be obedient, so I could get permission to play with my friends afterward. I was 9 or 10 when I finally started asking my dad questions about why we had to do these things, and that’s when I began to learn about the passion and its power.
I one day had enough courage to ask my dad, “Dad, why can’t we just hire a plumber to install the new water heater?” He answered, “It’s too expensive, and we can’t afford it!” and I nodded. During the installation, I remember that things were not going smoothly, and I again questioned, “If you don’t know how to do it, maybe we should hire a professional dad?”
This was the question that made my dad stop doing what he was doing, put his tools down and look at me right in the eyes and tell me with all the passion in his heart something that I thought was not true at the time but that I have come to believe over the years.
My father, an immigrant from Italy and someone who stopped going to school after 3rd grade to help his family earn a living, taught me something I never learned in school or anywhere else that day.
After my dad dropped those tools and looked me in the eyes, he said, “Son, don’t ever forget what I am telling you. This is important.” He then continued, “It’s not just about the money. It’s also about doing the job right and doing it for the right reasons.” I was confused when he said this. I answered, “What do you mean doing it right? Don’t you think a professional can do it right?”
Dad very quickly and loudly answered, “No, they are doing it for money. They are trying to do it as fast as they can. It is a job for them, and most of them do it for the money, not because they love it. They don’t have as much passion as us. We can do just as good as them!”
I touched on something that got him fired up; he continued, “This is our house, we care about your mom, your brother, and your sister, and we will do this with patience. And we will do it better than the professionals because we have passion!” He continued, “Maybe we don’t have passion about installing a water heater or planting a tree or even cutting the grass, but nobody is more passionate about our family than us. Nobody is more passionate about our house than us, and we may be slower, but we can do just as good of a job as any professional because we have passion!”
The words were loud, and the emotion felt like it was coming right out of his soul. He indeed was passionate about this subject. Over the next several years, I continued to see my father fix and build everything in our house. I was always with him watching and learning, not just about home improvement and saving money but also about the power of passion.
I eventually developed my passion for building and fixing stuff over that time. It still exists within me to this day but what I learned most was that someone with passion could do just as good a job as a professional because passion is born from love. It’s not always a love of the actual task you are doing; sometimes, it’s a love of the people or the good it will do in the world we are passionate about.
If you pay attention and look at what we have built here at TLC and the great people we have here, I think you will find proof that what my father taught me when I was a young boy has happened all around us. We have hired some great professionals over the years, and they have helped us be great, but in the beginning, when we could not afford it or could not find the right professionals for the job, we looked for something else, PASSION.
We found terrific people. Some of which were single moms that have never worked before, people that had been terminated multiple times at other jobs, retired people that wanted to make some extra money, and people that did not speak English well, to name just a few.
What all these people had in common was one thing, PASSION. They would do anything and learn anything and try anything because of the passion they had for TLC, Jack Fallon, or maybe the family that depended on them, but they were not going to fail; their passion would not allow it.
At the foundation of this company, you see passionate people who just used that passion for figuring it out. They taught themselves graphic design, computer programming, legal compliance, customer service, shipping, logistics, and anything else we needed.
They did not know what the professionals knew, nor did they have the professionals’ training, but they had a passion. They helped build a professional company with credibility that helped us eventually attract those professionals that we needed to continue to grow, but guess what? Those professionals were attracted by the people who became professional over the years because their passion helped them become whatever they needed to become to make TLC a fantastic place.
Passionate people will continue to inspire us and help us help people make a TOTAL LIFE CHANGE. Thanks for being passionate, and thanks for being the best part of TLC; we appreciate you!
Thanks for the lesson about passion, dad; I learned so much about passion from you, and I love you, I hope you are proud of me and the rest of the people that I work with and the impact TLC is having on the world because you helped us understand that passionate people can change the world!
Thank you for reading, may your week be filled with passion!