Last Thursday I had the distinct pleasure to interview a legend in the speaking industry, a successful businessman, and the President of High Point University, Dr Nido R. Qubein. What I learned in less than an hour will keep me moving forward for years to come. This is part of the speaker interview series I’ve been working on as chapter historian for NSA Carolinas. I am very fortunate to serve on the Board and be able to do things like this.

I gave myself plenty of time because I wanted to arrive early at the University. When it comes to appointments, if you are not early, you’re late! Midway through the trip, I was seriously cut off by an 18-wheeler. No turn signal and it was that fast. If I didn’t hit the brakes, I would have been part of his delivery load. 

I was still a bit jittery when I arrived at the University gate. The attendant and security officer cheerfully greeted me. I told them I was here to meet Jermaine, the Sergeant at Arms. After a quick call, they pointed to the building I’d be going to and the parking area was on the other side of the street. Both ladies said have a great day and I thanked them for their help.

Each parking space had its own sign. It said  “High Point University – Reserved Parking for Special Guest”. Underneath was a lighted digital sign which read, “Mr. Peter Agiovlassitis” (to top it all off, my name was spelled correctly, which usually never happens)! Wow. I went to the back of my car to unload. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another security officer walking towards me. When he approached, I asked “are you Jermaine?” 

He said yes and we greeted each other. In my email exchange, I was asked if I needed help unloading equipment and I said no, I travel light, bookbag and a tripod. Yet Jermaine was there to assist. In fact he said he needed to carry something or it wouldn’t look good for him walking back empty handed. So I obliged him with my tripod and water bottle.

Jermaine dropped me off in a conference room. Help yourself to coffee, water and snacks, Jeannie (Dr. Qubein’s assistant) will greet you soon. A few minutes later, I greeted Jeannie and I thanked her for making all the arrangements. We talked for some time and said Dr. Qubein was on Zoom call and would be in shortly.

I will stop here because I want to get to the point. Before I even met Dr. Qubein, I already had four points of contact. Each one of them made me feel welcomed and checked to make sure I had everything I needed. They all were genuinely concerned for my well-being and made sure I was taken care of.

Back to the parking space, when was the last time you pulled into a parking spot specifically designated for you with your name in lights? Probably never. There were other signs throughout campus that said “Choose to be Extraordinary.” I believe that the students and folks who work at the University really live that motto. I hadn’t met Dr. Qubein yet and I already felt like a VIP. So much so, that I had forgotten all about that big rig cutting me off. My state of mind, which was in a negative place, was quickly transformed to a very positive one. 

All this comes as a function of leadership. Something like that doesn’t trickle up, it starts from the top. Change your mindset, change your life! Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like a VIP? At work? At home? Even better yet, when was the last time you made someone else feel like a VIP? A colleague? An employee? A spouse? A child?

My wife, Jeanann, listens to the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show in the car. Dr. Laura says that you should do something for your spouse every day to make them feel happy they’re alive and married to you! I can tell you right now, I don’t live up to that one. I’ve got to do better. We all got to do better. 

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