My next guest contributor has the clearest understanding of priorities and what truly matters of anyone I have ever met. He is an attorney for a Fortune 250 company, but cites his greatest achievements as his wife, children, dedication Boy Scouts, and advocacy for Youth Programs. We became friends when we volunteered our sons to tidy a block-long flower bed filled with day lilies for a friend who had cancer. What we thought would take an hour or two, drug on until it was almost dark. Weeding and mulching in the hot sun will tell you everything you need to know about a person’s character. John Scheib is as dedicated and trustworthy as they come, and I am proud that our families share a rock-solid friendship.
First, “love your neighbor as yourself.” I’ve been taught that biblical teaching by my grandparents and parents. Treating people right is important. It is hard. I fail. But that’s what I strive for.
Second, “be prepared.” I am an Eagle Scout who had some great Scoutmasters, including Jack Leggett, John Lacy, and Paul Gladwell, who drilled this into us. So, the Boy Scout motto has been part of my life since I was about eleven. It has served me well for more than thirty years. “Lucky” people are really just prepared people in the right place at the right time.
Third, a work mentor, George Aspatore, once explained to me that “you can’t be great at everything, so surround yourself with people who compensate for your weakness.” Together, we can be great at more. The corollary is to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. I try to build teams based on these principles.
My fourth pearl was given to me by a caddy – “ordinary people do extraordinary things.” I was playing golf at a prestigious course and lots of famous people were around the practice area – professional athletes, a TV personality, a famous coach, and a former Member of Congress. After a few holes, I turned to the caddy, recounted the people I had seen at the practice area, and said, you must meet the most extraordinary people here. He responded, “Mr. Scheib, I just meet ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. And, you must be one of them, or you wouldn’t be here.” I don’t know about that last thing he said. But I believe that there are ordinary people all around us who are doing extraordinary things, whether they are publicly recognized or recognizable or not.
Fifth, I had the chance to meet Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School. She teaches the theory of “fake it until you become it.” I love that advice. We are often in new situations where despite our preparedness we are just uncomfortable or unsure of our selves. Strike a power pose, and fake it until you become. It works.
Sixth, “steady plodding.” That was the slogan of my first boss when I was fifteen – Terry Coffman. It means just keep moving forward. Lots to do; do one thing. Tomorrow you will wish you had started today. So get started and keep plugging away. Terry lived it. I have told many people that I am just striving to be half as good as Terry.
Seventh, ” I believe as long as we are trying to get a little better each day, then there are always more of our best days ahead. ” Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite musicians. And one of my favorite songs of his is called “Glory Days,” in which the protagonist of the song laments the fact that he believes his best days are behind him – or are at least behind the friends that he describes. At the end of the song, Springsteen sings, “well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.” The song is especially powerful when you realize that it is a trap. The trap is that although at times we might think our glory days are behind us, not all of them are. We just have to be patient and open to where they will come from, the form they will take, who will be in them, and what will make them new glory days.