If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Today’s story is from Brian Hague about his dad, Greg Hague.
Winter of ’92. I was 14. Denver bound. A father-son ski trip. Dad had a conference for his company there, too. I would finally get to see him “perform” for a big audience.
The first day was incredibly fun! Bombing the slopes, racing to the bottom on every run. A battle against each other. Against ourselves. Against the mountain. We capped the day with an incredible spaghetti dinner.
The next morning — the conference was HUGE! Five hundred people looked like five thousand! I was terrified. What if he choked? Froze up?
I sat in the back corner, holding my breath as Dad took the stage. What happened next remains one of my most vivid memories, and a valuable lesson on life. No outlines. No cue cards. No charts or graphs. He spoke to that crowd like he was speaking to us at the dinner table. Totally relaxed. Poised and assertive. Funny and engaging.
My dad was “in the zone.” Like a skilled fly fisherman, he developed a rhythm with the crowd, working one side, then the other. It was beautiful. Everyone was transfixed. So was I.
Until… “This is a fraud! You can’t do this!” a heavy voice boomed from the back. A man in suspenders shot up… “Not in Denver! We’re going to run you out of town! You will not get away with this here!”
Utter shock. I looked at Dad. He stood there calmly. Not a word. Again the man stammered, “Your company is ruining our industry. It’s got to stop somewhere… that somewhere is here.”
Dad’s right hand man and unofficial bodyguard, Dan, was now on the move. Dad raised his hand quickly, “No, Dan…please. Let him go on.” Dan stopped in his tracks. Dad refocused on the man in the back. “Please sir, continue.”
The man flushed beet red. He expected an argument, not an invite to speak. He started to shake. A few more deprecating remarks, then he stormed out.
The room was absolutely still… all eyes now focused on Dad. What now? Clearly no recovering from that. I looked at dad. I felt kind of sick. What would he do?
But what was this? Dad was… smiling?! He shook his head, chuckled a bit, and slowly took a sip of water. “Well folks, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him at the luncheon. Was it something I said?” An eruption of laughter. Within 10 seconds the room was relaxed again.
Then dad took a minute to address the situation… “I’m glad this just happened. It’s something you needed to see,” he announced.
“I believe my firm is changing the real estate industry for the better, but not everyone agrees. Change is scary to some people… as evidenced by the gentleman who just left,” he said, gesturing toward the back door.
It was true. I saw it growing up. Dad started a revolutionary company to help homeowners save money in the sale of their homes. The model also allowed Realtors to earn more. Many Realtors just didn’t understand. It was a big change… a different way of doing business. They were scared.
That afternoon, we hit the slopes once again. Took our time though. On the chairlift, I asked him about what happened at the conference.
“Bri, you can’t argue with anger, you can’t reason with fear, and that man had one in each eye.”
We went back to the same restaurant that night. Spaghetti was even better the second time.
Love you Dad.