My Dad was a big Buck knife collector. For those who don’t know about these knives, they are collectibles that in many cases are custom made and produced in very small amounts. The knives may only have a production run of 25 so they become more valuable. Some of them have etched scenes in gold, signatures by the people who made them on the blade and beautiful handles. My Dad would shop on eBay and buy the knives that he liked. It kept him busy and although he was not super tech savvy, he got to be pretty good at it. He found shadow boxes to put the knives in to hang on the wall and he took pictures of the knives. He was a really good photographer. He had a little photography set up just to take pictures of these knives and then he created books of the pictures.
When my Dad was sick he told us where all the knives were and that they all had boxes. He had printed off every sheet and what he paid for them. (I did not inherit his organizational skills!) After he passed away, we knew we needed to try to sell the knives, but obviously we were not experts. We found some people who were interested, but they all fell through. Many suggested that we try to sell them on eBay. I had never done that before, but hey I am sure I could figure it out.
There are people who collect these knives from all over the world and also spend a lot of time looking for their favorite knives on eBay. Many of them also belong to a Buck Collectors Club to buy and trade knives with each other. For the last few weeks I have been listing the knives on eBay. I used his paperwork to enter the information and I have his photography set up in my living room to take pictures to post. It has been a very interesting process to see how all this works. Some knives are selling for much more than he paid for them and others didn’t sell the first time, but have sold when I relisted. It has been a learning process of what all these terms mean and what information they want to see.
A gentleman messaged me a few times yesterday about a knife that I had posted. I messaged him back and shared that this was my Dad’s collection. He asked if I had a certain kind of knife that he tries to find for his grandkids for them to have when they are older. I told him that I would send him pictures of what I had left. He asked if we could discuss on the phone since there were so many of them. I called him last night and we talked for about 45 minutes. He shared information about which knives were really valuable, how they were made and that he was pretty good friends with the knife designers. His collection is over 1000 knives! I told him that what I really wanted was for the knives to go to people who loved them as much as my Dad did. He offered to help connect me with other collectors so that I could sell the knives directly to them to get a fair price so I wouldn’t get charged the eBay fees.
I hung up the phone and thought about the conversation. Such a nice guy who is so passionate about his collection. I thought that if my Dad had been on the phone with him, they could have probably talked for hours about knives. He talked about how people in the collectors club try to help each other out and share information about the knives to those who may be interested. He doesn’t know me at all, but offered to go above and beyond to help me.
I thought about how this conversation would relate to leadership for today’s blog. It is a good reminder that there are people out there willing to share their knowledge with you. Build a network of people that will help you and provide support for each other. Ask them if they will help you when you are stuck or be a mentor to you. Appreciate those around you that have helped you along the way especially those that go above and beyond to support you. Tapping into people’s passions to connect helps you to build relationships with them. These type of connections increase engagement for you and your team. How will you find ways to leverage the passions that you and your team have to connect with others who may need your help?