Ode to Zipper

I hate meaningless birthday gifts. I either want something 1) practical or 2) thoughtful. I’m really looking for the ‘thoughtful’ gift. One thing I haven’t seen on any of these blogs is a post written as a “birthday gift”, so I’m trying it out.

If you’re an ‘avid’ blog reader of mine – you’ve likely read and commented on many of the lessons I’ve learned; and in those posts, I frequently refer to “my mentors”. Todd Zipper was and is the mentor who not only helped me grow up professionally, but just as important – his personal values and his family life is one I’d like to emulate as well.

Over the past several years, I never know what to buy Todd for his birthday; and still don’t. He’s more of a minimalist than materialistic, he idolizes Ayn Rand; but already has all of the books, pictures, and even framed art; Capturing beauty comes naturally to him and his photography is professional, but he has a camera. He has figured out how to remain fulfilled as a C level business executive and an unbelievable husband, father, and son. Some would say, “he’s got it all figured out”. After reading Seth Godin’s blog post last week about heroes and mentors, Todd had such powerful comments about his theories and experiences surrounding mentors, I realized there was only one gift I could give him that would ever matter. That gift was to aid him in his journey the way he has guided me.

I always ‘thought’ of a mentor in the traditional sense; someone older, wiser, more experienced, someone who could help you navigate a certain path; or help you find the path that makes sense to you. Most people refer to mentors in this sense. After reading Godin’s blog post, Todd pointed out something I had never thought of; a different view on mentors – and certainly one I hadn’t read about. He said if we are ‘open’ to them, mentors are everywhere we look.

“The key is opening yourself up to all the gifts that we each have and tapping into this”

– He went on to speak about how in some instances I could be a mentor; his children could be mentors to him. Provided you choose to let someone play the role of bringing something new to your life.

So Todd, my gift to you is this blog post; in the hopes that it will motivate you to move from “mentor” to “hero” as Godin defines a ‘hero’ – “Heroes live their lives in public, broadcasting their model to anyone who cares to look.” The medium through which you choose to communicate your thoughts is immaterial, but to not share your brilliance on a larger scale would be a tragedy.

Happy Birthday Chief!

  1. Todd Zipper
    October 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This has to be one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. Thank you for this and thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson on how to express gratitude. See you in NY next week!


  2. October 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

    What a terrific testimonial. Sounds like a wonderful guy. And it’s a reminder that I’ve got a couple of thank you notes to write & send to the mentor/heroes in my life.

    • October 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Jake! Man, I subscribed to both of your blogs a long time ago and not getting the emails. I miss your “personal / entrepreneurial” one more than the ‘freelance’ (although I use both), but going back to try again. Will email you if it doesn’t work this time. Hope all is well!

  3. November 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Hmm, I have no idea what the problem with the subscription issue might be. I may have inadvertently messed up the feeds…thanks for the heads up. The emails should be automatic every time I update, right? Every time I think I know something about technology, reality bites me in the butt.

    I’ve been busy as heck, so Jake’s Take has been quiet recently. But thanks for the kind words and the reminder to get back on it!

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