Fellow (and far more famous columnist) Doug Larson said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”

 Listening is the key to being successful. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to a man who is considered a legend in his industry. The story he told was too good for me not to share.

 While meeting with a new, very important potential client, Mr. Legend (as I’ll refer to him) was taking notes as the client listed what they wanted. After a long list of wants, the client said, “Basically, we want the gold card.” Mr. Legend went back to his office and got to work on the proposal. When the proposal was done, he realized it was missing one thing: the gold card. A quick trip to the print shop and $10 later Mr. Legend had his card. The client was extremely happy with the proposal, making special mention of how it was clear that Mr. Legend had heard every request. Just as the client was about to sign on the dotted line, Mr. Legend secured the deal by presenting the gold card to the client.

 The world lost a different kind of legend recently when my grandma Pat Fitzgerald passed away, leaving behind a legacy that she and my grandfather (fellow and far more famous columnist) Jim Fitzgerald spent decades building — their family.

 In a tribute to my grandma, my sister Tricia said that she would (try to) remember to follow the Golden Rule. My grandma was the first to tell us about the Golden Rule — treat other people the way you would like to be treated. My grandma lived by this rule and did everything in her power to ensure her grandchildren did, too.

 The Golden Rule works in life and in business. My grandma was a talker, and I most certainly inherited her gift of gab. She loved to talk, but she was also a fabulous listener.

 While my grandma wasn’t a legend in business, she was a legend among her many friends, her community and most importantly, her family.

 If we don’t listen we’ll miss out on important lessons like the ones we gain from The Golden Rule and the story of the gold card. What important lesson have you listened to? Email me at ecaswell@mihomepaper.com.

Emily Caswell is the Brand Manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group, which acquired the Tri-County Times in January. A graduate of Michigan State University’s Journalism School, she lives in downtown Fenton with her husband Matt and their rescue pup, Yeti.

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