Just recently, I was invited to attend a function to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a business owned by a very good and special friend.
I first met him when he started his business and have had the opportunity to provide my services to his company over those twenty-five years, and in between, I have stayed in touch with him on a regular basis.
The day of the celebration arrived, however, due to a business appointment running over time I knew that I was going to be late, so I phoned to let my good friend know. I arrived 20 minutes after the function had started and my good friend came to the reception to welcome and greet me, acknowledging that he was delighted to see me and had held off starting the official part of the celebration, knowing that I was on my way. I am sure you would share the same feeling as I did at that time, that there is nothing better for your spirits than to be welcomed and acknowledged in such a way. As he had always done in all my dealing with him over those twenty five years, he made me feel a very special and important person.
As I joined the other guests, I could feel a wonderful sense of friendship, warmth and happiness in the room, as they mingled and chatted away. Sadly, I had very little time to speak to more than a couple of people before the official part of the celebration commenced.
In his speech, my good friend welcomed all the guests on behalf of his family and team members, and then individually thanked the majority of the people who were gathered in the room for their business support and friendship over the last twenty-five years. This in itself is something you rarely see or hear at events of this nature - normally what you do hear is all about what the company has achieved over the years, followed by acknowledgements to a few key people and then a blanket style thank you to everyone else who has attended.
During the course of his thank you speech, he referred to a quote, which reflected his overall approach towards both his business and personal life ... 'Always dance with the person you took to the dance'.
He then went on to talk about the importance of remaining loyal to those people who had supported him from the beginning of his business and through all the highs and lows of the last twenty-five years. He also mentioned that during this time many people had offered their services and even sometimes provided a very tempting and perhaps better business arrangement for his business. However, he had no issue in saying 'thank you, but no thank you', as what was and still is important to him is to always remember what people have done and continue to do, and this is always paramount in all of his business and personal considerations and decisions.
His warm and genuine acknowledgements were to those people who had offered more than just their services, support and loyalty, it was about a deeper level of professional and personal friendship which in the end makes our lives all that more enjoyable and rewarding.
As I drove away that afternoon, I reflected on how lucky we are to have people in our lives that stick by us through all the highs and lows and most importantly are good friends.
What a great honor it was for me to continue to go to the dance with such a good friend who possesses such a unique and high level of integrity and personal values.