As I pen this blog my lovely bride Lisa and I are at the tail end of our vacation. I go dark during some of our vacations – no emails, text or work. I strongly encourage you to try it, you will take your vacation to a new level and for you workaholics – it can be done if you want to do it. No excuses.
One of my nights during this trip was a sleepless night for some reason, I woke up at 1:45 am and I could not get back to sleep, so I did what I enjoy to do when I can not go back to sleep. I read, I journal, I reflect.
I just finished reading Killing the Legends by Bill O’Reilly, a gift from one of my business partners, Kirk Zavitz. The life and death of three icons, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Muhammad Ali. What was my biggest takeaway from the book? Do not depend on anyone else for your life’s direction, do not let anyone chart your destiny. Someone else’s view on life is not yours. If you concede your decision(s) to another person or persons, disappointment(s) will follow. That does not mean not listening to others, for opinions, advice or direction it just means at the end of the day ultimately you get to decide what and how you do things.
My approach to things personally and professionally is I try to be a better person than I was yesterday. For me it is that simple and for me simple works best.
My son Matt gave me a book that he read while he was away on vacation – No One Wins Alone by Mark Messier. What a great read, I was a big fan of Messier growing up and watching him play. I followed the Oilers pretty close back in the day, they had a great squad for a number of years led by “the great one”, Wayne Gretzky. My pal Marty McSorley also played for them. Marty and I played fastball together in the summers together so I had the inside scope along the way. Marty is the ultimate team guy and I consider myself lucky to have had him as a teammate and more importantly I really value his friendship now.
The book by Messier had some really good reminders and some new thoughts for me. Some things I have learned along the way, some of the things I will share from the book may be some new things that you will find of value.
Regarding advice, remember to always trust your instincts and never waiver on believing in yourself. If you can live up to those expectations of the person who hold you to the highest standards meaning yourself and you can be honest with yourself then all you need to do is tune out the noice.
I was reminded in the book to stay focused on our businesses, to stay driven every day and to have that burning desire to be the best. I truly believe we are in “the business of winning” and some of my most important roles as our leader is to make our organizations successful. It is my role to bring a positive influence to others and to do it affectively.
Winning is not an accident, it is a strategy. I was reminded about the old aboriginal story the Native Chief tells his son: there are two wolves that live inside all of us. One wolf is evil, it is full of anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride, superiority and ego. The other wolf is good, it is full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, trust, compassion and faith and they are both inside of you the Chief tells his young son. The sons asks, what one wins? The one that wins is the one you feed the Chief responds. True story for sure! What one do you feed?
Another reminder for me is about how I value people. I have learned over the years that if people do not feel valued how can we expect them to give their maximum effort. Pay and reward people properly. No one person wins – it take a team. If you want to get somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.
I have learned and practice good leadership and work everyday towards a leadership style that includes being committed, compassionate, and focused. I try to set an example and inspire people to follow it.
Another good reminder and lesson from Messier’s book; do not believe everything you have heard or are hearing. ALWAYS judge for yourself. Be humble about all you don’t know and have an open mind. You have no idea of all of the factors involved or the circumstances that have conspired or how the message has been filtered and through whom. It should always be your goal to elevate people not put them down or degrade them.
Messier reminds us that in your chosen career it does not matter what you do, whether your a professional athlete, an employee or in management you always need to feel valued.
Believe in what you can control; hard work and commitment.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog. I have enjoyed sharing some of the reminders from the Messier book. If you’re a sports fan, especially a hockey fan you will enjoy the read and how he succeeded as a professional on and off the ice.
No One Wins Alone – True Story.
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