Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Time Well Spent--Announcing Guest Writer Mark Kokocki

Mark Kokocki is a life & in business coach and personal trainer. Mark works (but not exclusively) with people living with a life threatening illness and/or life altering situation to be happier and healthier by taking control at home, at work and in life. Website: dropdeadhappy.com.

About a year ago Brian was asked, by lesbian friends adopting an 11 year-old-son, to play the role of “Big Brother”.

Naturally, his first reaction was to freak out.

His "yeah buts" began with already being way too busy in his 9 month-young-business AND, after 14 years of ups and downs, it had only been a year since he had gotten his health under control, PLUS let's not forget he is lousy at sports and "the kid" would have to teach him how to throw a ball. The girls reassured Brian that they knew what they were asking.

"Brian, you are a survivor and a damn fine influence on any child. Dean was in 7 different foster homes before he came to us. He needs someone to spend time with just him, someone he can feel safe going to for boy stuff. He needs someone like you." "We think it would be good for both of you", was also lobbed in his direction. Brian's commitment would be to spend a few hours during the week and the odd weekend "boys’ night out". He expressed thanks for their trust in him and that he "just needed to sit down for a bit to think things through."

Brian understood the value of giving time to others, AIDS had taught him that.

He wanted to do this; he was scared shitless, plain and simple.

Always one for covering his bases, Brian walked through his calendar and “to do” list then concluded that it was possible, if he decided this mattered enough.

His next step was a play date with Dean to see if this would really pan out.

After that visit, Brian glowed and couldn't shut up over how incredible Dean was and how silly he felt for his trepidation. He offered up photos (to anyone who would stand still) of Dean teaching him how to rollerblade and described how much fun he had had for the first time in “God knows how long”. He even proudly sported a mango sized bruise on his right hip. That little boy had empowered him in a new way and things were going to change.

The next couple of months flew by; what mattered shifted and what needed to be done got done to make room for Dean, and himself. Brian worked smarter and worried less about how well each "to do" would affect his bottom line. He implemented a 30-hour “no more unless it's a REAL emergency” work week, opted to hire a part time accountant and adjusted his workouts to support his new burst of energy and needs.

Brian's bottom line didn't suffer-it grew and his to do list didn't explode-it shrunk-then balanced out. Brian became a different man and this had attracted more business to him.

He and his business experienced what data has shown for years: people who are encouraged to volunteer contribute back more to their work environments, bring new skills to the table, make important networking contacts, gain work experience, build self-esteem and self-confidence, experience improved health, take less sick days and feel needed and valued-simply by making a difference in someone’s life.

“I would have never had the guts to try the things I’ve done without Dean to inspire me. Imagine an old guy like me skateboarding, enjoying cartoons, coaching little league. Next weekend, we are going camping and Dean promises to teach me how to build a fire, without matches.”

“Last night, he told me about this girl in his class. He didn’t say it but he likes her.”

"This was the best investment I made in my business, and my life."

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