When I first met Jacob, I thought of him as an old, old man. He was rich and owned a bunch of hotel properties, a couple banks and a golf course or two.

I worked for him at a little hotel he owned on West Colfax in Denver. As a young guy, I managed the property, but Jacob beat me to work each morning. I’d arrive, and there would be Jacob in the kitchen, scrubbing out the big coffee urn.

I didn’t get it. Why would a man of age and wealth be cleaning a coffee urn at five in the morning?

It took me years and several failures to come up with the answer. Jacob was full of passion for excellence. That’s why he went into his restaurant and wiped the wine glasses crystal clean. That’s why, at age 78, Jacob helped hotel guests carry their luggage to their cars when the weather dipped below zero.

Jacob had long ago lost the craving to acquire more wealth. He had health issues that caused him pain as he greeted guests with cookies in the lobby.

I’ll never match the passion Jacob showed toward excellence.

But that doesn’t keep me from trying.

Author: Don Kuhl

Don Kuhl is founder of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® He has authored hundreds of Journals that have assisted over 10 million people in making positive life changes. While Don was aging (think of a side of beef at a fine restaurant), he managed motel properties, started several sports publications, worked in college and health care administrations and started about a dozen corporations. Some of them failed miserably, a few flourished.