I have been in the flooring industry a long time. It has given me a good life and the opportunity to provide well for my family. I have met many wonderful and incredible people on all sides of the business.

It’s because of my relationships with these people that I love this industry.

I have been in flooring stores in almost every state in the U.S., as well as stores in Canada, Russia, Mexico and South America. I have rubbed shoulders with executives, installers, sales people and support staff in retail, manufacturing, distribution and installation. These people have truly enriched my life, both professionally and personally.

It has been said that your success in life is determined by the books you read and the people with whom you associate. Any success I have had I credit to the many people who have influenced, mentored, coached and befriended me. There have been many heroes in my life, as I’m sure there have been in yours.

What drove me toward this topic this month were two things:  First, I was invited to the formal induction of the three new inductees for the World Floor Covering Association’s Hall of Fame: the late Sonna Calandrino, Sandy Mishkin and Paul Pumphrey. During the ceremony, I reflected on the influence and the good these three had contributed to the industry. I also looked around and noticed how many friends of mine were also in attendance; obviously, the impact Sonna, Sandy and Paul made on the industry and people in it went deep.

Then, in the beginning of May, my friend Michael Peters, owner of four Carpets Plus/ColorTile Stores in Wisconsin, held a luncheon to honor Wade Dorn, his most valuable employee of the past year. During that luncheon, though he was honoring his single “most valuable player,” the room was packed with people who had helped Michael be successful over the years, and every one of them had been student of mine at Mohawk University!

As I reflect and ponder my life, there have been many ups and downs. Whether you are rich or poor, you, like I, have had struggles. As Buddha said, “Life is difficult.” When we have experienced times of struggle, there have been many who, at the right moment, appeared and helped lighten our load. To paraphrase Confucius, “When comfort or encouragement is needed, a hero may appear.”

You and I may not receive the accolades of a Hall of Famer or most valuable player, but we can make a difference.  Isn’t that what the Hall of Famers do?  Contribute and make the flooring industry better? Isn’t that the purpose of life, to contribute?

It’s not hard; in fact, it is rather easy to acknowledge someone with a smile, a sincere compliment, words of appreciation, a hug, a touch, a gift, an act of service, a listening ear or words of encouragement and comfort. Sometimes it occurs as quickly as walking with or past someone in a corridor. As my friend Carla Daniels says, “What happens in the hallway, matters.”

Great leaders, managers, salespeople and everyday heroes are concerned about others, especially their customers and their constituents.  They are selfless in that they have sincere concern for the well being of others. It’s about love. It’s about kindness. It’s about making a difference in the world. Sure, you are only one, but you are one.

You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Smile and enjoy the fact that you have the ability to make a difference. Start today; be somebody’s hero; be the wind beneath somebody’s wings; it may be as simple as a smile.  As Truvy said in Steel Magnolias,“Smile! It increases your face value.”

You don’t need your name in a textbook, printed in a publication or engraved on a wall to be in someone’s Hall of Fame, just be their hero. Make their day!