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Why I Wasnít Completely Honest about My Birthday


by Glenn Shepard
October 14, 2014

Category:  Personal Growth



Des Moines, IA Oct 30

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Sheer terror just before jumping from the top of the Stratosphere on my birthday last year. Click here for the video.

Dear Glenn,


There is a fine line between micromanaging and being detail oriented in management.  

      Other than clearly communicating expectations in advance (using even your "back brief" concept), what are some other keys to success for a boss (who is self admittedly a control freak) so that employees feel they are being respected and have some autonomy, but still ensuring the job is done right?


Jennifer in Houston


Dear Jennifer,


One word - RESULTS. When people prove to you they can consistently do what you ask them to do, the way you ask them to do it, over and over again, you can let up a little.

     But until they prove themselves, you have to pay attention to every detail because your job is on the line if they screw up.

     Look closely and you'll notice the ones who complain the most about you not trusting them are usually the ones who drop the ball the most and need to be monitored more closely than others.

      Thanks for your question.


Glenn in Nashville, TN

Click here to submit a question.

I havenít been completely honest with you about something, and want to come clean.


As a Christian, I believe the purpose of my life is to serve God. I believe He wants us to do that by serving others, so I make a concerted effort to serve others in some way, 364 days a year.


But the one day of the year I believe everyone is entitled to be completely self-centered is on their birthday.


This is why I give my employees their birthdays off as a paid holiday, and encourage other companies to do the same. Itís a great way for employers to honor their employees on their special day, and give them permission to be selfish for one day without feeling guilt.


I rented a red Ferrari for my 40th birthday, and have celebrated others in places like Gatlinburg, New Orleans, Cancun, The Bahamas, and so on.


Last year I celebrated my 50th in Las Vegas by jumping off of the top of the Stratosphere, renting a yellow Lamborghini, meeting Chum Lee at the pawn shop where ďPawn StarsĒ is filmed, and having an Elvis impersonator renew our wedding vows at Graceland Wedding Chapel.


And I received birthday cards from Motley Crue, Heart, Toto, The Marshall Tucker Band, Huey Lewis,  Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), K.C. and the Sunshine Band, and John Kay (Steppenwolf).



The "Secret"


Although I shared the photos, thereís one thing I didn't share.


And that is that Iím not really completely self-centered on birthdays.


My favorite birthday tradition is to give away my birthday number in cash to strangers. Usually, I give an envelope of money to the manager of a McDonaldís and ask them to apply it to the tabs of as many people as it will cover.


The first thing I did on my fiftieth birthday was give fifty bucks to a housekeeper at the Bellagio. Itís not as interesting as death defying feats or exotic sports cars, but it's just as special.



The Big Surprise


The odd part is that it's also not exactly "unselfish". In fact, Iíve discovered five distinct benefits:



1. No one has ever felt bad about themselves while doing something good for others. This small gesture makes me feel even better on my special day.


2. With age, people often dread their birthday because it reminds them of their mortality. But when part of the tradition is to give instead of just get, thereís more to anticipate. This is even truer for those who have everything they could ever want and really donít need more stuff.


3. Being reminded that Iíve been given the gift of life for one more year makes my special day even better because happiness cannot exist without gratitude. By seeing the modest amount I give away increase by one each year, I find myself being more grateful because I firmly believe the only thing more tragic than a life cut short is wasting the gift of a long lived life.


4. Studies have consistently found that we get more happiness from activities than from stuff, partly because the memory lasts long after stuff is gone. This adds one extra memory to each birthday.


5. My two biggest pet peeves are people who take freely but give nothing, and people who are ungrateful. Iím not delusional enough to think Iíll change the world by doing this. But leading by example does bring a certain sense of satisfaction, and hopefully inspires a few others to do the same.



The New Game Plan


For years, Iíve asked readers to send M&Ms on my birthday. But Iím changing the plan this year.


Iíll turn 51 on Monday, October 20th, and will begin the celebration by giving away 51 one dollar bills.


If my lifeís work has touched your life in any way and youíd like to recognize me on my special day, do something kind for a total stranger on Monday and tell us about it.


Email the details of what and where you did it to and weíll post it on a new website weíre setting up for The Birthday Challenge. Pictures are even better.


And BTW, my office will be closed on Monday, October 20th, because I also give my employees my birthday off as a paid holiday :-).





To Your Success,


Glenn Shepard aka Birthday Boy




P.S. This is not to imply that Iím being completely selfless on my birthday this year. I canít share the details, but it does involve a semi-private party with one of my favorite bands, .38 Special.




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