What’s Your Story?

The following are excerpts from the introduction of the 2018 theme from the Awards Luncheon held on February 7, 2018.

The real purpose behind your story is to understand that every single day we write our story.  This year, we will all be individually challenged to not only write your own script but know that we impact the story of those around us. 

How you livin’?

Are you having a positive impact on the people around you, in your restaurant, in the office?

How about in your own personal life?  How do you live your dash?  You know, that time between when you were born and when you will leave this life.

Are the things that you’re doing every day going to leave a legacy that you and your family would be proud of?

Not all of us will have the opportunity to do great things that the world will remember us by.  But we all have the opportunity to influence at least 10 people, who will influence at least 10 people, who will influence at least 10 people, who will influence at least 10 people.  Right here in High 5 Hospitality, “What’s Your Story?”  What impact will you make to improve the success of our organization.  In other words, let me be bold and offer up a real challenging question.  When you quit, when you leave here, will it matter that you worked here?

I realize that there are people reading this that don’t even know my story, that you only know me as the owner, the leader of High 5 Hospitality.  “Don’t judge my story by the chapter you walked in on” ~ Pancakeism.  I’m not going to tell you my story today, but I will tell you this, if you knew my story, you would know that it was one very similar to yours.  That I once walked where you walk.

I was a team member who got promoted into management.  I was a manager who got transferred from store to store who moved from state to state.  I know what it’s like to run shifts.   I know what it’s like to be the opening manager when no one shows up to work in the kitchen or when  it’s snowing outside and no one can make it to work except for you and a couple of others but you open the restaurant anyway.   Or, on the personal side my story, it would be one of a teenager that put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.  I have purposed to put God first.  I have been directed, I have been protected and I have been corrected.  Or of a farmer, a young kid without direction, someone who married young and experienced divorce with a child that grew up hundreds and then thousands of miles away.  But I’m also someone now who knows what it’s like to start over and be happily married and raise a family.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a board meeting with the Delaware Restaurant Association, and Carrie Leishman told a story about her husband and son and how her husband used to take her son in the backyard to play baseball when he was a little boy and the question he would ask their son was who do you wanna to be? Do you wanna be Cal Ripken or Brooks Robinson?  Who do you wanna be?   Well, what’s your story falls right in line with who do you want to be.  Write your own script.

What’s your story?

Both my sisters and I started our working careers by working for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Our Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Middletown has done something similar.  Kristy Watson and Ashley Shemanski are sisters.  Both have worked for us in our Middletown restaurant.  Kristi now works in the office and Ashley continues to serve our guests right where she started. Coincidentally, their brothers Jordan and Justin have worked for us in the past also.   Middletown has also employed three Sisters: Sammy Joe, Alli & Joeylynn  Furtak.  We are a part of their story.  Today, families are continuing to trust us as leaders.

  • In Bear – Stacey Malin and her son Jacob work for us. Makayla and Maranda Moelane.  There’s Lilian and her sister Bernice.  Charlie and Breyon Holmes.  Brothers, Darell Willingham and James Denny.  We even have Keith Brown’s nephew Denzel
  • In Dover – Amber and Ashley Miller
  • In Middletown – Ashley and Katelyn Stecher and also siblings, Rich Bailey & Brooklyn Manley
  • In Bel Air – Kylie Couwan and her Aunt Terry Williams work for us
  • In Rehoboth – Makenzie and Morgan Edler
  • In Salisbury – Jessica and Rachel Lukas and Adam & Jake Cullen
  • At Christiana – Alys and Hillary Marinelli
  • At the Stone Balloon – Justin & Logan Faux-Dugan

And that’s not mentioning the couples we’ve introduced.  Former team members Meghan (formerly Gallagher) and her husband Brian Zeiglar and also Matt Kleckner and his wife Melissa.  Matt & Brian were bartenders when we opened our first location in Bear.  Katie Rullo met her husband while she was a server in one of our restaurants.

It’s amazing the trust that parents have placed in your hands by allowing you to be the first boss that some of these folks have ever had.  Our actions as leaders make an impact on lives in either a positive or negative way.  What we do every day, how we treat people and lead people matters.

What’s your story?

Throughout the last 5 weeks, we have shared in Monday Morning Messages the stories of the following:

  • A Colonel, Harland Sanders, who taught us that, in writing your story, age doesn’t matter and that you must believe that success is just around the corner.
  • I shared about the king, Martin Luther King, who taught us about perseverance and legacy.
  • Then there was the rock climber, Hugh Herr, who taught us to dream and to believe.
  • The entrepreneur, Chris Gardner, who showed us fortitude in the pursuit of happiness.
  • And, of course, the actor, Denzel Washington, who taught us about role modeling, failing, believing in yourself and mentorship.

For all of them it took hard work, determination, a never give up attitude and always choosing the harder right over the easier wrong.  Five weeks of stories, by design, to set us up for the theme of 2018.

  • Who do you want to be?
  • How you livin?
  • Write your own script.
  • Live your dash.
  • Leave a legacy.

What’s your Story?