I very recently read Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. This was recommended by educational leader, Justin Tarte in his must reads for those in the field of education. At the beginning of his book, Sanborn describes is postman, Fred and how Fred went above and beyond all expectations as a US Postal Carrier. Not only did he introduce himself when Sanborn first moved into the neighbourhood, he also took personal care and gave personal attention to Sanborn, and others on his mail delivery route.
Sanborn asserts that each one of makes the decision each day what kind of day it is going to be. More than that, he persists that we determine our work situation, satisfaction, and ultimate success regardless of the position we hold. Sanborn goes on to say,
“Anyone can be a Fred! That includes you! The result will not just be extraordinary effort and success in your work. You will find yourself living an extraordinary life as well.” (pg. 7)
Mark Sanborn goes on to discuss the four principles that he learned from Fred that he asserts that everyone can apply to their personal life, their professional life, and life in general. While I will just list them here, Sanborn describes each principle in-depth in his book.
Principle 1: Everyone Makes a Difference – “There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs.” (pg. 10)
Principle 2: Success Is Built on Relationships – “relationship building is the most important objective because the quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product or service.” (pg. 11)
Principle 3: You Must Continually Create Value For Others, and it Doesn’t Have to Cost a Penny – “the faster you try to solve a problem with money, the less likely it will be the best solution.” (pg. 13)
Principle 4: You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly – “I believe that no matter what job you hold, what industry you work in, or where you live, every morning you wake up with a clean slate. You can make your own business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be. That’s what I call the Fred Factor.” (pg. 15)
He goes on the describe many other “Fred’s” he, and others, have come across – those people who go above and beyond what is expected, not because they expect something in return, but because it is the right thing to do.
In Fred Factor, Sanborn discusses how to become a “Fred”, ways to encourage “Fred’s” in your work environment and why it all matters. Throughout the book, Sanborn focusses on the importance and power of relationships and discusses how relationships are the basis for all we do, in life and work. He even talks to us about 7 principles of how to build relationships.
At the end of the book, Sanborn challenges us all to “Go Spread Fred” (pg 95). He suggests we can do this in 3 ways:
“1. Recognize the Freds in your life.
2. Acknowledge the Freds for their contribution.
3. Pay Freds Back” pg. 95
On our recent holiday, a roadtrip from Surrey, BC to Anaheim, California, we came to meet such a Fred. His name is Jesus (pronounced “Hey-Zeus”). He worked in the engineering department of the hotel we were staying near Disneyland (who knew hotels even had an engineering department?). It was Wednesday morning. We had just had our breakfast and headed out to the truck to start our journey home.
The problem, our truck wouldn’t start.
My husband was sure the battery was dead.
We made sure to renew our BCAA membership before we left, so we were about to call them for assistance, when the person at the front desk mentioned Jesus from their Engineering Department. Perfect! Jesus made it out to our truck with the handy-dandy machine they use to jump-starting cars. Well, our big truck was too much for it to handle. It didn’t work. Rather than sending on our way to call AAA, he got his own truck and his own jumper cables. He was determined to get our truck started! And that he did. Jesus was our Fred that day and we truly appreciated him for it! Now, I will be writing a letter to the hotel explaining how Jesus was our Fred and how much he helped us that morning. I am paying it forward right now, by sharing this Fred story with you. I hope you do the same.
You can learn more about the Fred Factor by visiting the FredFactor website.
You can watch a video by the author about the Fred Factor here:
I enjoyed this quick read. It was uplifting and inspiring!
Do you have any Freds in your life? I’d love to hear about them!