Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather cools, the leaves turn a beautiful array of colors, and the holiday season is here. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, gathering with friends and family to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It’s more than just turkey and football or another paid vacation day. It’s an opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things in our lives that are worthy of thanks.
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I came across that question in a book the other day, and it really got me thinking. I firmly believe there are many things we don’t try because we’re convinced we won’t succeed. The thinking goes, “Why even go down that road if I know it’s not going to work?” We’re beaten before we even start.
Respect and appreciate those who help you succeed. For my birthday in September, my wife gave me tickets to a James Taylor concert, which we attended last night. It was fascinating to watch a man whose career has spanned my entire lifetime perform the classic hits he penned decades ago. With his quirky sense of humor and what appeared to be a genuine sense of enjoyment, he played for two hours, bantering with the audience as he went. But what struck me most was the recognition and appreciation he showed for his band.
At the end of the year, BLR’s founder, Bob Brady, will be retiring from the company he started 37 years ago. Last week we celebrated Bob’s achievements with a party attended by friends, business associates, and current and former BLR employees. It was a wonderful tribute to a man who has touched the lives of so many during his successful career.
The other day, I was driving through a small town and saw a sign on the side of a building that read, “Nobody ever regrets buying quality.” That got me thinking about quality. Did the proprietor of this business have it right? Does no one ever regret paying for a quality product or service?
It’s not uncommon for me to say, “I’d rather hire someone who will ask for forgiveness than someone who must ask for permission before taking action.” If you’re going to accomplish anything in life, you must be willing to act. And when you do, things don’t always turn out exactly as you would like. Sometimes you must step back, alter your course, and try again. But give me the person who is prone to action. It’s like the great race car drivers say, “To finish first, you must first finish.” And to finish, you must get off the starting line.
I recently wrote about servant leadership, mentioning that it has long been a concept that intrigues me. I used as an example—in part because of his recent passing—Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. My choice for an example wasn’t universally embraced by those who read the entry. Many of the negative comments I received about the article referenced either Cathy’s politics or his religious beliefs. I had written about neither.
It sounds like a childhood taunt. “What are you afraid of?” If you close your eyes for a minute, chances are you can go back in time and recall a situation in which you were asked that exact question. Someone was trying to push you into doing something you really didn’t want to do—daring you to push beyond your comfort level.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the phrase “servant leadership.”
Yesterday I happened down a road I drive on occasionally. I typically take the road northbound as a shortcut to a particular destination. But yesterday I found myself driving south on the same road and barely recognized it. In fact, I had to turn to my wife and ask if we were on the right road. The surroundings seemed unfamiliar to me despite the fact that I travel on the road a couple of times each month.