TPE Post Publisher
“The World has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going,” Napoleon Hill. I read that and immediately called to mind a picture of Adam Zientarski.
I have spent the last year rebuilding my personal and professional life. Many folks can relate to this. Blame it on the times, economy, or the constant need to learn new skills and master a new technology. Some of us might call it a midlife crisis.
Last, May, as I struggled to get a new education foundation up and running, I came across a very unique and special individual. Most of my meetings are at Panera Bread restaurants, and as I pulled up on a Sunday afternoon, and juggled my two Iphones and Ipad, this very tall, young man came up to me. I knew I was meeting a graduating high school senior, so I was looking for a youthful face. There he stood, all 6-feet six inches, (he’s actually 6’4″) with a big smile on his face. He reached out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Adam.”
I talked to him that day for two hours, and at a speed even an auctioneer would not be able to keep pace with. I invited him to join the cause. I invite everyone to join the cause, and he did. I think. I told him to do this that and the other with the site, and as I got up to leave, he stood up and said, “Give me a hug.” I looked up …way up and then gave the giant a hug!
I didn’t fire him, and whether he knew it or not, I recruited him to be a real member of the team, and we gave him a new title, and many, many more responsibilities. His title with www.TippingPointEducation.com is VP Student Relations, but I call him my friend.
He fixed the website. He listened to my ideas to have fundraisers, student events, and possibly create our own newspaper. I even gave him work from one of my other companies. He never asked about pay, and he would often counter my idea, or flat-out tell me to slow down, work on one thing at a time. During one meeting last month, after about two hours, I looked up from my computer and asked, “Why do you look so sad today.”
He replied, “Trish, I am working. This is my work face. ”
Prior to launching the newspaper, we actually arm wrestled to decide if we go with a magazine or newspaper look. Guess who won? I actually wondered at times, who the boss was, and who was older, or who had more experience, not just in work, but in life.
I found a friend that day in May, and this week he leaves his parent’s home to start a major chapter in his life, as he moves into a dorm at the University of Michigan. Adam has taught me patience, and also made me a better person. With the sudden passing of a friend last July, and the loss of another friend through other circumstances, I learned that Adam would become much more than the website guy.
He would become much more than the kid helping me with fundraisers at colleges. He became a trusted friend, and one who offered me hope and demonstrated it through his actions. He picked me up, when I thought I couldn’t continue, and he always put a smile in my heart. He restored my faith in mankind, and at a time when I thought there weren’t people you could trust, Adam over and over proved that idea to be wrong.
Even more so, he is a wonderful human being. Most of all, he has taught me more than I could ever teach him. We are a society too engaged in measuring success and wealth by the size of a house, bank account or even the kind of car you drive. True wealth is measured in the things money can’t buy. Most of us know this, but we have to be reminded. Adam reminds me, with his consistent actions, almost daily.
A couple weeks ago, we did an interview with Brad Kadrich the education reporter with the Observer Newspapers. When Brad asked Adam why he was involved in TPE, Adam quickly answered he believed in the philosophy, but that by no means do he and I agree as to the path that will make the philosophy a reality. Some people might have thought badly of anyone who doesn’t agree with them, but I find it refreshing. Many times, I’ve found out that Adam’s ideas, were better than mine. He never backed down, but instead he exercised patience.
I know why he is so beloved by his friends and family…he gives love and friendship unconditionally…you know that means not having expectations of a return on his investment of kindness. He is accountable and most of all he is a man of his word. Because Adam is so different, I have asked myself, what he will be like at my age. I actually have tried to assess would I be more like him without life’s ups and downs that were customized for me? I don’t think it is what happens to us, as much as how we choose to react to what happens to us. Once again, a lesson in patience.
On our front page of the TPEPost.com you will see a quote that reads, “We believe in the everyday man, woman and child. We believe there are everyday people with the greatest thoughts and ideas that are never read about or heard of. We plan to change that.” Adam is the biggest inspiration for that quote. Still it is a good lesson and principle we all should practice. And, it became clear in a short time period that I could let go, and trust. We launched the TPEPost.com last week, and Adam is the general manager. In meetings, I look to him for leadership, because he has demonstrated more than skill. He has proven to me, a middle-aged and somewhat jaded woman, that there are those who live up to the standard of being much more than decent.
Next time you are in a position of hiring someone or deciding to join forces in a cause with someone, don’t discount anyone by age, race, education, physical appearance, handicap, wealth, or any worldly possessions, or any other trait that might lead to a split-second decision that would discount someone who has potential beyond a first glance or two-hour meeting…a person who has the potential to do great things, and more importantly teach you great things.