Insights, thoughts, and experiences told honestly.

Richard Bolles Interview – Three Life Lessons from a Career Advice Guru

July 8, 2010

I traveled to Northern California to see him. What a privilege. No one has sold more books (over 10 million so far), or has a more well-known and well-respected name in the career field than does What Color Your Parachute author Richard Bolles. I eagerly looked forward to my Author’s Corner interview with this legendary figure. I planned to discuss a number of issues and I expected to learn a lot from this career-advice guru. As expected, Dick did not disappoint, but he did surprise me.

As we sat in his elegant and tastefully decorated living room living room, he shared numerous insights that I’m sure you will enjoy hearing next week when we publish his Author’s Corner video. But the fascinating insights that Dick shared during our discussion were not the most significant things I walked away with. Instead, my greatest takeaways came from watching how Dick interacted with me. In other words, I learned even more from the type of person he is, than I did from his many great comments. Here are the three lessons that stood out most to me.

LESSON 1: Be humble and gracious to others. From the moment I entered their home, I could sense a spirit of love, and compassion, and hospitality. Dick and his lovely wife, Marci, are remarkably gentle people. Dick is a very famous guy in the area of career advice, he’s accomplished a remarkable number of things in his career, and he knows numerous celebrities from a wide number of fields. Yet, he and Marci left no doubt that they are genuinely interested in me, in my work, and in my life. Dick believes that God has called him to care about other people, and from my brief experience in his home, he’s clearly walking his talk.

LESSON 2: Act with authenticity and gentleness.
One of the best ways to learn about Dick’s ideas is to attend one of his this five-day workshops. This workshop is held in his home four times a year. What I found most interesting during our discussion about the workshop was his insistence that he will not be censored when discussing his views. He is passionately committed to his Christian faith, and while he is remarkably sensitive and respectful of other viewpoints, he speaks freely and openly about his perspective. He tells you what he thinks without compromise, but he does it without an air of superiority and without creating defensiveness in others.

LESSON 3: Laugh, it’s good for you. During our time together I saw Dick smile and laugh so many times that I can’t even estimate the frequency. I observed wall hangings that spoke of the joy of laughter and passion for life. And like the pages of his most famous work, What Color Is Your Parachute, he has numerous cartoons posted around his home. He’s constantly playful and obviously enjoys life. While others look up to his accomplishments, he displayed great humility and clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously.

The lessons I learned from observing Dick’s character are priceless and I hope to emulate many of them in my life. I’m grateful to now call him friend.