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What I Miss Most About Home Depot

By Frank Blake

I'm often asked what I miss about working at Home Depot.

The answer may be best summed up by a wonderful quote from Jordan Kassalow's book, Dare To Matter.

(Before I offer the quote, and the explanation behind it, let me pause. I'd like to note that we did a giveaway of Dare to Matter earlier this year because the book is so profound. Kassalow was also a guest on our show.

Kassalow's writing is an amazing starting point for doing more good turns for others within your own life. If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas present, or a beginning-of-the-year 'book to read as a New Year's resolution', Dare to Matter is a terrific choice.)

But back to the quote. It comes from Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher who resided in Germany until 1938. He left in March of that year for a position at Hebrew University in Jerusalem — and in so doing, escaped Kristallnacht and the many atrocities that followed. In his book I and Thou, Buber wrote:

All real living is meeting.

We live in a privileged time now when it is possible to meet people virtually.

I believe this is one of the powerful elements of podcasts. They allow us to spend time with people from all walks of life — people we would never get to meet directly — and learn from them. We can hear their stories, listen to the inflection of their voices, and get some sense of their personalities.

That has certainly been one of the privileges for me in doing the Crazy Good Turns podcast. I hope some of the joy of that has passed on to you.

Which brings me back to that question about my time at Home Depot.

What do I miss most?

The number one thing is the opportunity to meet people.

During my time as CEO, I tried to have dinner with a group of associates from stores in the area I was traveling every week. I have several notebooks of reflections from these meals.

I'll share one story. I was eating with a group of associates that included a young man from Maine. I asked him what he enjoyed most about Home Depot. His answer surprised me, and stuck in my memory ever since.

"I love skating and hockey," he said. "The best thing about skating is when you step onto new ice and it is clean and fresh. When I put on my apron in the morning at the Home Depot, and go on the floor of the store, I just think: Fresh ice. Fresh ice."

All real living is meeting. All meeting is "fresh ice." Enjoy the newness. Learn, listen and have a wonderful holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Golden/The Golden Hour blog.

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