by Ted Risdall
My grandmother gave me a rock as a birthday gift! On the rock was inscribed all two-letter words that said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
On my next birthday, I got a rock that said, “Believe in yourself.”
On yet another birthday, another rock that said, “Never give up.”
My grandmother was an incredibly accomplished woman for her generation. She could drive, she worked hard, saved money, and bought her own Baskin Robbins ice cream chain where she employed her four boys. She started book clubs, garden clubs, and formed the Rock Garden Society. She went back to school and became a master gardener.
My grandmother is someone I look up to for her incredible will power, can-do attitude, and ability to lead and inspire others.
We were best of friends.
These rocks have become part of my life and determination to make a difference every day. In life, moving any rock can be a challenge and sometimes the small ones are harder than the big ones.
My son came home and said he had a job interview at 3M in the R&D lab to work on artificial intelligence. I said, “Congratulations, that is exactly what you want to do.”
He said, “But I am petrified. What if I fail? What if I cannot do the job? What if I cannot solve the problems? Maybe I should wait and get more experience doing something else.”
I smiled and said, “Let me go get my box of rocks.”
He said, “I do not understand,” and I said, “Wait, you’ll see.”
I grabbed my box of rocks and said, “I have a great gift for you. Here are your rocks. Please, go accept the job, and bring these rocks with you each day.”
“Believe in yourself.”
“If it is to be, it is up to me.”
“Never give up.”
Go find some rocks and paint these words on them.
Carry them always.
Education: B.S., business administration, USIU, San Diego; M.B.A., Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University
Work: CEO Risdall Marketing Group, LLC, for the past 31 years.
Book: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Quote: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. —George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman