Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is an incredibly successful guy. But on the sly, he secretly goes out of his way to help young entrepreneurs. I know. I was one of the people he helped.
In 2002, I was a 28-year-old running a small company called BridgePath, I got an unsolicited email from Benioff. I think we’d met once or twice briefly before that email … it was surprising he even remembered me.
I wish I still had the contents of the email because it was such a shock. It said something like – “hey Auren, I’ve been watching your career and have been impressed. Let’s grab breakfast in the next few weeks and catch up.” When we finally got breakfast scheduled (it was a couple of months later) Benioff listened to me and offered career and business advice.
It was so flattering that this guy was proactively taking an interest in me. Here was a successful CEO (who would become even more successful over the years) taking time out of his day to talk to someone that could not help him. It was purely altruistic (and it was extremely helpful). And he did not wait for someone to approach him – it was he who reached out.
When anyone looks back at their career, these random acts of kindness stand out. And on Thanksgiving today, I give thanks to all those people that have reached out and helped someone without being solicited. And while these acts do not happen often, they are not rare. Everyone has at least a few examples. I’ll never forget Marc Benioff’s generosity and help … and I aim to emulate him by copying his proactive approach to mentoring and frequently reaching out to young and talented individuals and offering any help I can do.