“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”  Helen Keller

River, our Australian Labradoodle and a real member of the Hackbarth family, is traveling with us on a road trip to Jackson, Mississippi. Less than four hours from Mobile, the Capital of Mississippi is home to one of the terminal branches of Hackbarth Delivery Service (HDS). My wife Carol and I have planned this journey to personally say goodbye to Robert Moody, who has been with our company for over 12 years.  The evening plans include dinner at a fine local restaurant with his wife Kay and Darin Crabb, a regional director of HDS.

Great food is enhanced by lively conversation. Past memorable stories are told by Robert and by me.  Carol and I stay overnight at a local hotel. A going away luncheon is planned the next day at our terminal facility.

On the way to Jackson and after the special dinner, I mentally rehearse what I will say the next day. What can you say to someone who has helped your company to be successful? Someone who worked many tireless hours after Hurricane Katrina devasted our business; who witnessed the growth of our Jackson terminal from its early beginnings to one of the largest operations within our company. What do you say to someone who attended multiple funerals in Mobile in the passing of my parents and Carol’s parents? Along the way, Robert achieved some financial milestones in the running of his operation. So, what do you say?

Actually, you say all of those things. You reflect on the memories. The powerful stories of his journey. You say that what Robert did mattered to our company, and to me personally. I say all of these things. I remind our team that long-term employees make the most difference in companies. This is true also in our personal lives. Long-term friends make an unmeasurable difference.

What kind of friends?  Centerfielders. The friends you can call for help at two o’clock in the morning and, in response, they come to your home – because you need them.Folks that look for no benefit or reward from you in return. They want your success as much as you do. They applaud your victories as if they belonged to them. At the funeral of your loved one, there they are, present in consoling support. At moments of victory and in times of sadness, centerfielders are the special people who are nearby.  You feel  their support.

These are the kinds of individuals who make the most difference in our personal lives. Their contribution to our businesses and careers is invaluable and measureless. They help in adding value to our marriages and to all of our important relationships. They change everything.  Everything.  For the good.

What do you say to these individuals?

Thank you!

I could not have done it without you!

I appreciate all you have done!

You are one of the best!

I am glad you were in our company.

I am glad you were in my life.

I am glad you are my friend.

I am here for you just as you have been here for me!


And with a select few, you might say . . .

I love you!

I believe in you!

I care for you!

This is not complicated. Relationships are the key to everything in our lives. They are vital to successful businesses. They add dimension to fruitful families. They are key to our marriages. This is simple to state, but challenging to implement. It requires all that you have to give. If you want relationships that will mean everything to your life, then you must be willing to give everything.

Relationships are the key to a successful life.  

If you want a simple formula on how to have a successful life, requiring a full commitment on your part, being and becoming the best that you are meant to be, then great relationships are the answer.  Invest more time in making long-term alliances. And, when you find one, always say ‘thank you.’  Say ‘thank you’ now.  Say ‘thank you’ often.

Today, I recognize that my lifetime success is dependent on centerfielders.

I will choose one of them to whom I will say ‘thank you’ before this week is over.

I will make gratitude a central part of my successful journey.


One more thing.

To all my centerfielders in life ~

Thank You! I could not have done any of it without you!

I am eternally grateful!

Want to learn more about the centerfielder principle and how to make it part of your successful journey, contact Rob at rob@mondaysaregreat.com. Let me show you how I can help you to embark on this special journey

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