Dec 24, 2005


This great story was passed on to me today.


The Most Unforgettable Cleaning Lady I've Ever Known
by Jack Carroll

Twenty years ago—in what seems now like a previous lifetime—I had a cleaning lady by the name of Carrie Ford. Carrie was one of the most inspiring people I've ever known. She taught me something that I have treasured all of my life that I am moved to share with you here today.

Carrie was the daughter of sharecroppers, born and raised in the great state of Mississippi during the bleak Depression years. She had experienced about as many deeply painful events in her life as anyone I have ever met, including the death of three of her children in Vietnam and assorted street wars in Gary, Indiana.

In spite of these wounds she remained unflaggingly positive, optimistic, and of good cheer. A person who made you feel good because she obviously felt good, herself. I needed to know her secret so one day I asked her over lunch why she was so happy.

"My minister taught me and it's true," she said. "You must be happy with what you have. 'Cause you'll never have anything, except what you have."

The wisdom of her words deepens every year of my life. Every time I see or hear of another "successful" technology entrepreneur or six-figure-a-year salesperson complaining about their circumstances or the difficulties in their lives, a big piece of me remembers Carrie Ford. And the ear-to-ear smile that broke out on her face as she shared her simple wisdom with me, and then hummed a sweet song for the rest of the afternoon as she went about her work.

I thought you might like to know about Carrie as you go about your work this month.