You will turn 15 in April, and I will soon be 50. Congratulations on surviving the horrors of middle school. While I’m astonished by the vigor you’ve brought to your first six months of high school, I thought it might help to share some of my “life observations” in the hopes your vigor will continue unabated.
First, be the best “you” that you can be. I’d prefer to say “… be who you are,” but frankly I’m still trying to figure out who I am. When I try to be someone I’m not, it doesn’t feel right, and it never ends right. That’s true for me as a person, as a son, as an employee, as a leader–and as a father.
Avoid falling prey to all the outside voices trying to tell you who you are. This includes advertisers, teachers, friends–or your parents. Listen closely to your inner self and do what feels right. I believe in the human spirit, and so, if you are “who you are,” you will find the confidence to be kind. You will find the empathy to be a good listener. You will be happy. You are amazing. Don’t let others take you off your journey.
I am at my best when I surround myself with people who respect themselves and who respect me. Embrace diversity of perspective and culture. But find people who share a commitment to being true to themselves. People that find the confidence to be kind. People that find the empathy to be a good listener.
When I establish one or two clear goals for myself, it’s amazing how often I achieve them. When my goals are cloudy or when I have nine or 10 goals on my list, I don’t achieve any of them. If business growth is my primary goal, it’s amazing how often it happens ... but be ready for tradeoffs in other areas, like life balance, quality, or profitability. If having a happy family is my primary goal, it’s amazing how often that happens—but then be ready for tradeoffs in other areas like income, promotions, or personal hobbies.
Hopefully, you won’t live through another recession like 2008. Prior to that, abundance allowed people to achieve many goals. Since that recession, goals have required narrowing and focus. Today I strive for balance. I might not be the best at any one thing, but I focus on balancing work with family time, balancing business growth with profitability/quality, balancing making you laugh with holding the line.
There is lots more. You’ll lose long-term vision at 40, your muscles will ache when you’re 45. Healthy feet are more important than you’ll ever know. Sorry in advance for the bad knees and high blood pressure.
But let me close with one simple yet powerful observation. When I do what I say I am going to do, good things happen. I feel good about myself. Others feel good about me. It’s so simple but it’s not easy. That’s why it is so valued.
When I make a commitment to do something, I either make it happen or pro-actively communicate my need for help. I write commitments down, keep a tight calendar, and communicate aggressively.
I commit to taking my own advice. Being the best “me” that I can be. Surrounding myself with people who respect themselves and who respect me. Establishing one or two clear goals for myself. Doing what I say I’m going to do. Because the learning and growth never stops.
And neither will my love for you,