I’ve been telling clients for many years: commitment first, answers second.
Recently, while attending my youngest son Shaughn’s commencement ceremonies at Michigan State University, I listened to an example of this philosophy. A graduating student spoke with great passion and earned a long standing ovation from the crowd. He spoke about growing up in five foster homes and how he never really felt part of a family until he came to MSU. He made a decision as a freshman to face challenges head-on and to fully commit himself to his studies. He worked, studied, volunteered, and excelled. Once he committed, the support came in so many unexpected ways.
His inspiring comments reminded me of the following anecdote, which underscores the commitment we must show throughout our careers to achieve what we desire.
It’s easy. Thousands of men and women do it every year—people from all walks of life.
It sets our economy, our country, and the world back thousands of years in terms of wasted human resources. But, worst of all is the personal tragedy that almost always results from “early retirement.”
It usually begins with a tinge of boredom. Gradually, a man’s or a woman’s work begins to seem endlessly repetitious to them. The rat race hardly seems worth it anymore. It’s at this point that many a 35-year-old boy- or girl-wonder retires. There are no testimonial dinners or gold watches. They still go to work every day, put in 40-plus hours, and even draw a paycheck. They are retired, but nobody knows it—not at first, anyhow.
The lucky ones get fired in time to make a fresh start. Those less fortunate hang on for a while—even decades—waiting and wondering. They wait for a raise or promotion that never comes, and they wonder why.
There are ways to fight back, though, and most people do. They counteract the urge to coast by running as they have never run before. They run until they get that second wind that is now known as self-renewal.
Self-renewal is nothing more or less than doing for yourself what your parents, coaches, and teachers did for you when you seemed young enough to need it. It’s the highest form of self-discipline. It can be one of the most satisfying experiences a man or woman can enjoy.
Self-renewal is the adults’ ability to motivate themselves and to reawaken self-pride in the face of spiritual fatigue.
Self-renewal is the device by which the boy- and girl-wonders become men and women. They become leaders, creators, and thinkers.
Self-renewal is probably the greatest test a business person must face. It’s worth the effort, though. With the life expectancy approaching the century mark, 65 years is a long time to spend in a rocking chair.
I wish for all of you in the Great Lakes Bay Region the commitment and energy to achieve your goals. Commitment comes first; answers come second.
For more ideas on improving leadership, employee engagement, and organizational performance, visit www.dalecarnegie.com, or contact Dan Handley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 989-799-7760, or 1-800-518-3253.