“I won’t know until I try. If you don’t try, you’ll never fail,” – Gene Haas, part owner of the Stewart-Haas NASCAR race team.
I love the Haas’ spirit and defiance in his response to the reporter’s questioning of Haas’ sanity about entering a team based in the United States into Formula 1. Not until you realize that he already is funding Kurt Busch’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team, upgraded SHR racing headquarters to accommodate Kurt Busch, and is considering bankrolling Kurt Busch’s Indy 500 effort all out of his pocket does the audaciousness of the statement become apparent
I think he likes Kurt Busch?
For us mere mortals, the key lesson on display is never refuse an opportunity to get into a game as you never know how long the opportunity will be available. Sure, It is risky leaving your comfort zone, but isn’t it better leaving on your own volition instead of being tossed into the deep end unprepared?
Who knows, the new adventure might be fun!
Remember, you can’t lose if you sit on the sideline and play it safe. But you can’t win either.
Saturday morning I reunited with a large number of friends whom I have not seen for over a year. It was great catching up with people and exchanging stories on accomplishments, failures, and for some, the merits of retirement. It was gratifying to see that, for the most part, everybody was doing OK.
However, the primary reason we all got together was to celebrate one person not there because he was home, bedridden due to the final stages of cancer.
It is unlikely that my friend will see the first day of spring.
Yes, it was a sad day. But his illnesses inspired me to remove procrastinate from my vocabulary. During the ride home, I made a pact with myself that I would put the past into the mental archives, worry less about future and material goods, and start living an active and engaged life in the present.
This is not a return to my carefree college days. This is a commitment to experiencing as much as possible before my time on earth is done.
So I made a short list of behaviors that are immediately changing.
• My physical and mental well-being is of paramount importance and non-negotiable.
• My job is now nothing more that what I do to live. I no longer will live to work. Catch phrase of a recovering workaholic.
• If there is an event I want to see, regardless of where it is, I will attend. If nothing else, manipulating my schedule will improve my time management skills.
• Stop worrying about what I can’t control. Deal with reality and adjust accordingly.
• Don’t try to create a digital encyclopedia of everything. Some moments are so fleeting that they require nothing more than a mental acknowledgement.
• Focus on activities that expand my world. Read more, especially books the question the status quo. Watch less TV. Get involved. The sidelines are for wimps!
• Continue on improving my physical condition. Watching less TV will free up more time for exercising.
• I will be more understanding of people who don’t share my ideals. I will explain my philosophy, but if they are not interested, I will quickly move along. I have places to be!
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a life to reinvigorate!
Why is It is easy to motivate your staff or you but difficult to maintain motivation over the long term?
Think about the annual ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. I bet if you reviewed membership lists of any health club, you would find a huge uptick in new memberships in January. By the time April passes, 75% of those accounts are effectively dormant.
Now reflect on the last major initiative your company launched. It was probably a grand affair with senior management and other key managers making speeches. You probably received numerous swag items such as coffee mugs, t-Shirts, and or baseball caps along with a catered lunch. Much was expected and in the first 3 to 4 months you see a dizzying array of edicts, process revisions, and other organizational changes.
What usually happens in six months?
I bet those coffee mugs make great penholders.
I always felt that implementing small, easily attainable goals to the office culture or your personal life are the way to maintain momentum. Many small accomplishments are great building blocks to larger goals, both personal and professional.
Many molehills can make an awesome mountain!
This is a narrative that I wrote for a management team focused on engagement. Feedback is welcome!!
A positive attitude is an infections emotion as it exudes the confidence that anything can be accomplished if everybody is on the same page striving for a common goal. It also breeds a culture of inclusion that there is always enough room for one more person with a new idea that may simplify our lives. It also breeds a culture that the last thing anybody wants is to be excluded from a project that will help the organization succeed.
The first step is to determine what type of solution is actually is needed, not what is wanted. At times what is wanted is too narrowly focused with minimal impact across the entire enterprise. The solution is that is needed usually provides the widest possible benefit and highest return on investment, not only in money, but in productivity. Professional growth is a huge bonus.
Of course, everybody must care about solving a problem. The best way to show you care is to show professionalism. Professionalism means you will be punctual for scheduled events. You will actively participate. You will listen respectfully to dissenting ideas as other people’s ideas might be a better solution. To show professionalism is to show respect to your colleagues and staff.
This process will not be easy and at times seemingly impossible. However, teams that only operate with a positive attitude look at a seemingly impossible problem and say “Yeah, that is hard, almost impossible. But that only means that it will take a little longer to find the best solution!“. The challenge to find the best solution is as much a thrill as the finding the solution.
However, continually accepting difficult challenges in new areas means there will be the occasional mistake. While the number of mistakes needs to be minimized, few new developments were ever developed without the occasional mistake. Professionals that are focused on the positive see mistakes as a learning opportunity that contains vital information that can be used on the next solution attempt.
Lastly, even though we are highly skilled in mastering the complex world of technology, we must never forget that people that make the organization successful. A computer is capable of making our lives easier by automating repetitive tasks and granting us access to a wealth of information. However, the machine should never interfere with the free flow of ideas that personal contact promotes. Creativity is a human trait that a computer can only facilitate, not create!
I’ve realized that maintaining an active outdoor regimen is actually more enjoyable as the temperature drops.
Most of the people I meet during the cooler days match my commitment to a healthy lifestyle: Proper eating, exercise, and proper work/life balance. The fair weather people that crowd the trails during the warm summer months are stapled to their couches watching college or pro football.
Please stay there!
The lack of people means the trails are quieter. When the trails are quiet, I have more opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. The few people I meet are eminently more respectful of my desire for solitude as it seems that they are also seeking the soul cleansing that fresh air provides.
So, if you see me on the trail, it is OK to say hello, but please, please don’t engage me in a discussion about the world’s problems. I am using my time in the woods as a vehicle to navigate my path around all the insanity