Ed Kirsch and I both were in sales. Specifically we were both in the financial services industry albeit for different companies. Neither one of us like networking and neither one of us loved that career. It probably wouldn't surprise anyone to see two guys like us sitting down and having coffee. I've had a lot of these interactions in my life, they shouldn't actually surprise you, and they wouldn't if you spent your time thinking about the morning commute, the report that's due or the time you need to leave work in order to beat afternoon traffic. If I have learned anything in 39 days, it's that being present in a moment will always surprise you.
Ed is from Chicago originally, having only been in the Charleston area for about a year. His wife is a saint. Seriously, Ed told me so. She is a nurse in a chemotherapy unit at MUSC, that's a saint in my book. They have a 3 year old son, love the outdoors and are heading off for some outdoor time over the holiday weekend. In fact, during our time together, Ed has to step away to get a child carrier from someone for this trip. I have seen men smile for a million purchases, but few have smiled as big as he did when hopping out to buy a child carrier.
I didn't have a great childhood, or even a mediocre one, so I have always been fascinated by what makes a good family. Those friends of mine who dreamed of their family are incredible to me. Ed is the same way. He wasn't always that way, at least not in his own mind. He, like all of us, went through a number of iterations of his plan, going to college, meeting his wife, trying a few jobs, and along the path, the one he was always on and never quite realized, he found his dream, his family.
I asked him what he was most excited about in the upcoming year and he told me it was the house he is building and that they will be trying for their second child. I imagine the look on his face is the look on mine when I talk about this project, about the stories I get to hear and the life, the dream, I am now living. His family is his dream. His job is the thing he does to make money, to provide, and if he happens to like it that's awesome. It's awe inspiring. It truly is.
He had good parents, so he just tries to do what they did, he tells me. How can he go wrong? From what i have seen, I don't think he can.
Ed and I share stories of hating networking, of pretending to have phones in our hands and make practice sales calls across the room. He tells me about knocking on pretend doors of every variety, only to be confronted with a new challenge to overcome. We laugh because it all seems so silly, all of this preparation to talk to another human being. You see, we both love people and building relationships. His dream is his family. Can you be any more into relationships than that? For guys like Ed and myself, the falsity of quick sales, the folks who are just trying to get you a business card or make a sale, that's just not what we like. We both did it. We'd do it again if we had to, but the networking meetings are a chore for us, the brussel sprouts we eat before the dessert of getting to know someone, of building a relationship.
This is Ed Kirsch, a guy with a million dollar smile who talks to everyone like they were the most important person in the room. That's a rare gift. He's a father and a husband, it's his dream and probably what he is best in the world at if his joy in talking about it is any indication. He's a Christian and a good friend, a son and an outdoorsman. Ed is the kind of guy who talks less about himself than he does his brother-in-law, a Marine; his wife, a saint; his son, the joy of his life, and the amazing family who raised him.
Ed Kirsch is a guy who loves people, getting to know them and helping them. If you saw us in passing, this may not seem like an extraordinary meeting, but you didn't see this guy light up when he talked about his family. You didn't see the face of someone really living his dream. One different from mine, but just as strong.
Favorite Dinosaur: Velociraptor
Why: He relates them to people, to life, you cannot go it alone. It takes a team. A single raptor may be somewhat dangerous, but a team of them can take on a T-Rex. It's the same with family and with work, it takes a team.