Wisdom was Not at the Top of the College Mountain
I spent last weekend on my daughter’s college campus and enjoyed every moment with her, but not once did I long to be back at that age. Wisdom was not to be found at the top of the college mountain. The tread on my tires may show some wear, but the experiences on the journey have honed my perspective and I wouldn’t trade what I’ve seen and learned for wrinkle-free skin.
Here are four things that I’ve learned thus far that serve me well every day:
1. I don’t have to be right. Having the attitude of “I’m right and I’ll prove it” is definitely an obstacle in effective communication. Whether it’s dialogue with a co-worker or my spouse, when I am focused on being right, I don’t truly listen. I’m too busy thinking about my rebuttal to hear or respond well. Warning – your pride will take a beating if you apply this lesson. But your relationships will improve with more effective communication. Pride (as in inflated ego – the delusion that it’s all about you) is entirely overrated.
2. Be real and be willing to confront an issue. Okay – I’ll admit it. I’m a pleaser. Like most characteristics, there are 2 sides to this. Indeed, I’m quite a diplomat and I excel at customer service. But as a leader, there are times when direct confrontation is called for. I have found that a problem left to fester only gets worse with time – not better. So the ostrich’s approach of sticking his head in the sand is a sorry tactic and simply doesn’t work in business.
3. Take care of yourself – stress will eat you alive if you let it. None of us are indispensable – though we perceive ourselves to be. Rest, refuel, refresh and take time for family and friends.
4. The 80/20 rule, known as the Pareto Principle, is as certain as the law of gravity. Understanding the rule is critical. It prevents whining, resentment and bitterness. You simply can’t change people. Be thankful when you have the passion, vision and energy to do what others are unwilling to do. (That means you’ll have things they only dream of having.)
Naturally, there are many other vital points and many more lessons yet to come. What four things would you teach your protege today?