“I yam who I yam.”

As a child, I loved Popeye’s line, “I yam who I yam.” I’m not sure I completely understood it. But, I thought it was funny.

As an adult, I’ve kind of figured out that a lot of who I am is who came before me. I guess, “I yam who I was brought up to be.”

My friend David Lehman (no relation) runs Mennonite Mutual Insurance. He describes himself as a driver. Highly task oriented. A decisive, bottom line, get it done sort of guy.

He remembers his Grandpa Sentz as one of the most influential men in his life. Grandpa Sentz had a saying. “If you want to get it done, you’ll find a way. If you don’t want to get it done, you’ll find an excuse.”

Grandpa Sentz also told Dave, “Every man needs a hammer.” I guess it’s not hard to figure out how Dave became a “get it done sort of guy!”

The most influential man in my life is my Dad. Thinking about Dave’s “Grandpa Sens” memories, I realized my Dad shaped me, and by extension, the store we run together with my sister, Glenda.

Here I am with my Dad, the man I admire most in this world.

Do it right or not at all.” Dad always told me there was only one way to do things. “Do it right or not at all,” was his version of the more common saying, “Any job worth doing is worth doing right.” And, if “doing it right” looks impossible, there is only one solution. Apply two times more effort. We like to call Dad the Iron Man. That’s because he always made it happen, no matter what it took. Of course, I’ve always tried to keep up with that standard (but even at age 82, he still gives me a run for the money). On Sunday, he beat me at ping-pong (again).

Never say no.” One thing Dad hates is conflict. Despite his “get it done right” attitude, he likes people around him to be happy. That means most of the people who come into contact with him leave the conversation feeling pretty good.

Being raised with a “Do it right or not at all”, “Never say no” kind of attitude shaped me. By extension, it shaped every hiring decision, every service policy and every product choice we’ve ever made.

The result? Whether you shop in our Kidron, Ohio, retail store, or visit our website (http://www.lehmans.com), what you should find should find is a group of people who will absolutely go to the mat to do it right. A group of people who absolutely hate to tell you “no”.

We is who we is!

Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

Galen Lehman
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13 years ago

My family came from Mennonite (Swiss) and we had many sayings such as you mention. The root of many were Biblical and involved work and behavior. Your article reminded me of this one:

A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.

Blessings to you and your families.

Mark Roberts
12 years ago

Love this article! So many people impact our lives, and we impact so many others. It’s important to set the example that we want to see in the world (and Lehman’s does it well!).

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