Living The Life Of A Filler

I can’t get enough of the human-interest stories that news programs produce. I think they are fascinating. These stories provide a glimpse into real lives, and they demonstrate the truth that every person has a story worth telling.

Thanks to the Today Show, I got to learn a little about Mr. Tyrone Curry. He is a Vietnam veteran, a high school janitor with 35 years on the job, the high school’s track coach, and the winner of a $3.4 million lottery.

There are many aspects of Mr. Curry’s story that I found fascinating to learn about, but the one theme that really jumped out to me was how focused he was on supporting other people. He’s spent $40,000 one summer to build a state-of-the-art track field for his team. He wanted to build a better tennis court complex to support the tennis coach and team.

One example soared though. One of his senior students lost his mom to a heart attack quite suddenly. The boy’s father isn’t around, and the honor student started to flounder. The young man was just going through the motions of life and didn’t see how his future could get better. And one day Coach Curry pulled him aside and walked down the track with him. In a few words, he reminded the boy that he wasn’t on his own. Mr. Curry is going to pay for this young man’s college education.

Encouraging Others

It seems to me that Mr. Curry understands the importance of supporting and encouraging others. When Curry’s dream to become a teacher was cut short 35 years ago due to budget cuts, he found a way to stay within the education field by becoming a janitor and coach. He shifted his medium, but his purpose remained the same.

Mr. Curry is a living example of what we would call a Filler Leader. He seeks opportunities for encouraging others to succeed in the face of challenge and to be courageous and get so much fulfillment from that act of support.

I love these real-life examples of how people support one another. Have you had a person encourage you at critical moments of your life? Tell us about your experience.

Learn more about living the life of a FIller in Leaders Open Doors: A Radically Simple Leadership Approach to Lift People, Profits, and Performance.

Updated July 2024

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