Throughout civilizations history great humans have sourced inspiration from many sources, one of the most influential is other humans. Our peers, parents, icons, historical figures and mentors serve as a wealth of knowledge, provide us sustained motivation and invaluable guidance. Finding the right mentors to emulate is an imperative when it comes to expediting your accomplishments and increasing your overall odds of success. We idolize people for many different reasons, for their moral high ground, intelligence, accolades, ideologies, conquests, etc. Whatever the reason is, we want something they have, we want to be like them, or do something they do. From your older brother to Napoleon Bonaparte, the Richard Bransons, Michael Jordans and Warren Buffets of the world; we all looked up to someone at some point in our life. It is one thing to learn the theory behind what makes a hero great, to mimic their strategies and deeds. But it is an entirely deeper experience to work directly with your mentor.
One of the most influential and powerful mentee mentor relationships possible is the one found between a son and a father. When it is healthy, attentive and fully functional, it is a force to be reckoned with. The father establishes the foundation, passes down the knowledge necessary for the son to be greater than his predecessor. On that note allow me to introduce you to the Strong family, Justin Strong began his entrepreneurial path by starting his own driveway sealing company, he took over his father's business eight years ago. Mr. Strong Senior operated his own heating and cooling company, the business is still family owned 50 years later. That singular trade evolved into Justin’s current portfolio consisting of: JP Strong Enterprises Inc, J Strong Real Estate Holdings, Strong Bros General Contracting, Seaway Construction & Management and more recently branched into the entirely digital Social Giveaways. Creating generational wealth is admirable, it takes careful planning and time. Justin’s father instilled the values, work ethic and imparted. The Strong family is looking to leave a legacy they can be proud of.
No one does it alone, we all glean some knowledge, gain various insights and find little gems of information that we pick up from others our entire life. Watching how others interact with the world cuts our learning curve drastically, we begin this process as toddlers and continue it our entire life. Justin attests much of his success to his father, but he also learned a great many things from a number of accomplished figures, including Sir Richard Branson, Ray Dalio and Tony Robbins. Justin explained that It is on the onus of the company to attract and to retain the pieces of the puzzle required to coalesce the grander vision. People must be treated as a valued asset with needs and emotions, as opposed to interchangeable parts of an assembly line. There is a new way, a right way of doing things, the entire corporate ecosystem is shifting towards employee-centric corporate cultures. This idea that if you take care of your people they will take care of you is one of the primary idealities that has led to the rise of the Strong empire.
Currently Justin is in the process of moving his staff into a state-of-the-art flagship head office that will cover 16,000-square-feet with numerous workspaces and document safeguarding designed rooms for his construction business Strong Bros. General, Contracting Ltd. “We believe that if we create the space that fosters a healthy environment we will attract and retain top talent, our people are our competitive advantage.” There are many things done differently in Justin’s companies, from applying thoughtful disagreement, open forum discussions, to turning down business when it isn’t in the best interest of both the client and employees. “We know what we do best, and as much as we wish it’s the best fit, it’s not always the case. We have to look out for the longevity of our reputation.” It is common practice for honesty to not always be chosen over profit, but long term Justin is a firm believer that full transparency always brings a positive return. With success comes responsibility, positions of affluence and power come with a level of accountability. This includes being active in the community, working with various charities, mentoring, acting on employee concerns and as a general rule of thumb to use empathy wherever it can be applied.
When you look back at your life and you see all that you have done, will you be proud? Will you leave the generations that come after you a thing or two they can learn from? Can you pass down generational wealth that sets up your lineage to focus on thriving and not surviving? Can you impart some knowledge that will save them from a potential pitfall? Can you live such a grand life that you inspire the next generation to go out and take on even more daunting tasks than you ever dreamed of? In my opinion this is the pinnacle of human achievement, it is improving the human condition over time and in some small way that ripple effect contributes to the advancement of human civilization. We’re all in this together.