Just Nine Words

I used to work for a large corporation. 

One of the rewards of my job was young people seeking my opinion and listening to what I had to say. Considering the advice I might offer, a Winston Churchill Quote came to mind; “If I had more time to prepare, I would’ve made a shorter speech.” 

I decided to take Churchill’s words to heart and craft advice that would be short enough to be remembered. I eventually got it down to nine words:

Be the best. Look both ways. Help others succeed.

Here’s what I meant:

Be the best.This was directional rather than absolute.  I advised young people to find someone who displayed mastery in what they were trying to accomplish. Then study and emulate them; perhaps develop a mentor relationship. Most of us won’t reach absolute best. All of us can do better, but we need to know what that looks like! 

Look both ways.I credit my mom for this. When kicking the ball around the front yard, it sometimes rolled into the street. When dashing out to retrieve the ball, if I failed to stop and look both ways, I was in big trouble! 

In life, we get so wrapped up in our own agenda that we often fail to “Look both ways”. How will our actions affect others? How will comments we make impact those around us? Actions always have consequences. Looking both ways expands our focus to potential consequences rather than the result alone.  

Help others Succeed.  I once had an idea that I thought was a big opportunity for the company.  I “pitched” it directly to the CEO and he approved the funds to move forward. 

It failed…, at least on the first try.

The second attempt was successful. 

What changed?

The idea required the support of another area of the company to succeed. During the first attempt, we focused on our own agenda and had trouble garnering the required collaboration.  On the second attempt, we placed our focus on helping the other area meet their goals, (using our idea, but we didn’t highlight that or take any credit). 

It worked!  They met their goals, we met ours. The CEO noticed! Everybody won!

Be the best, look both ways, help others succeed! 

Just nine words, easy to remember, and capable of making a huge impact!

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Follow me at http://tim-coats.com

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