HOT READS FOR THE PRACTITIONER
Title: Karen and Me
Competencies: managing self, self-development,
Who benefits: each of us individually, poor children in Mexico
Consultant Usage: self-use or sharing with a client
What’s it about? I suspect that after working on this Blog for four years I was due for a mistake. Well, if you are going to make one, might as well make it BIG!
A few weeks ago I recommended a book to you. It was not even out but I suggested you pre-order it. I gave you several sites to review in helping you to make up your mind.
The only problem was … I never did get around to mentioning the book title and giving you the link. Great, a book review without a book! Let’s hope I can go another 4 years without a similar error. Well it is available now and it is as great as advertised!
However it does give me an excellent excuse for today’s post. But before that let me give you the book title, link, and a short summary. The previously invisible book is Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. “If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right. By the end of this book, readers will ask themselves one simple question whenever they reach for their wallets: Am I getting the biggest happiness bang for my buck? Happy Money explains why you can get more happiness for your money by … choosing experiences over stuff, to spending money on others.”
Let me give you a personal story to reinforce why I am such a believer in this book.
As you read this I am on a seven week journey. It is a physical journey that is taking me from New Orleans through San Antonio through parks in New Mexico and Utah, through the adult Disneyland of Las Vegas to the less adult Disneyland of southern California, along the California coast and a prolonged stay involving many friends in the greater Los Angeles area.
But the real journey is spiritual. I am escorting a young lady named Karen on her first exposure to the United States. I first met over 5 years ago when she was working her way through high school in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. While in Mexico I met children who were in even greater poverty, but by any measure Karen was poor. She had a powerful blend of internal motivation, IQ and EQ that suggested a successful future ahead for her.
She had been accepted into the prestigious University of Guadalajara, in the even more prestigious international business and finance department. She did have a scholarship that would help, but was also clear that she was going to have to work her way through school – 60 – 80 hours a week just to make ends meet.
So instead, I “hired” her. Her job was to write me each week telling what she was learning. I, in turn, provided her with a monthly stipend that would allow her to devote fulltime to studies.
The results have paid off in many ways. She became an “A” student and will graduate with honors in December. She just finished a 5 month study program at USC (the one in Puerto Rico) and as a result has her US student visa. Today she travels to New Orleans where her US adventure begins.
Before moving to the present day, I want to share one more part of this story. I began my relationship with Karen as a sponsor. Over the years it evolved into a more mentoring process. And somewhere during that mentoring process it evolved even further. We “adopted” each other. She lost her dad when she was young. Now I am her DAD and she is my HIJA (daughter). It is a very, very special relationship.
Which brings us to now. She is here as part of the accelerated learning process that will soon allow her to be a leading businesswoman and role model back in Mexico. In addition to seeing the sights and sites of the US, which will allow her to see the world in a whole different light, she will have a couple more important exposures.
She wants to work in an international environment. That means she needs to master English. She still has a way to go, so during this 7 week period I have set up a personal tutoring program for her. She is taking a 5-week Coursera course in English (with me nearby) and I will have her reading Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life? in English, taking notes in Spanish, and then discussing what she learned with me. (This works great during our long drives.)
And when we reach Los Angeles she will have an opportunity to meet and talk with some of my longtime friends and colleagues from the business world. She will talk to them about their business lives and interview them for her senior thesis, tentatively entitled “The Role of the Business Consultant – A US Perspective”.
I want to thank Jeanne, Sue, Lee, Terry, Guillermo, Ken, Sandra and poor Andy who doesn’t know it yet, but we will be in his office bugging him. There are four more I am hoping will find time for her also. With these folks she will receive an unofficial Master’s Degree.
Now let me conclude by going back to the book Happy Money. Do you think my spending money on Karen makes me happy? I vote yes! Do you think the time Jeanne, Sue, Lee, Terry, Guillermo, Ken, Sandra and poor Andy will invest in Karen will make them happier? I think yes!
And one more tidbit about Karen. Does this process affect her in a positive way? Again, I think yes. I sponsor three more middle school children in Zihuatanejo through a wonderful organization called Niños Adelante. One of them is parentless and poor beyond comprehension. He has no real support system. Do you remember the movie “Pay It Forward”? That is what Karen is doing. She has “adopted” the young man in the same way I did with her. They are now “sister” and “brother”.
Should you feel so moved as to sponsor an intelligent child who might not be able to go to school without some help, check out Friends of Niños Adelante to see how you can help. (An all-volunteer organization with all proceeds going directly to the children.)
And finally, please don’t forget to read Happy Money. You will be, err, happy that you did!
Catch you later.