Such encouraging words from Nelson Mandela. He continues, “Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” While these words were written more than 20 years ago, they still ring true today. Most importantly, these words should give hope to our society. Hope that one day, we can all learn to love a little more and hate a little less.
As a business owner, one must decide how he will treat those around him. Will he treat his employees, his customers, and his competitors fairly? Will he be truthful? Will he be merciful? Certainly, there is a prevailing notion in our society today to succeed at all costs. That one should be willing to do anything to succeed. But I believe that you can succeed fairly. You can live a successful life and still treat others with respect and deal with them honestly. And when you are the victim of unfair business practices, you take the high road. Because winning at business is a small part of winning at life. How you win matters. This week, take a hard look at how you are treating the people around you. Be truthful. Show mercy. Live a life worth living.
You will never have the success that you envision, you will never be great, unless you can get passionate about the things you are doing. Whether you are a small business owner or a mid-level manager in a Fortune 500 company, if you cannot get passionate about your work, you are not going to achieve the success you desire. Nothing is going to impede your success quite so much as hating your work. If you survive Monday through Friday with visions of the weekend, then you are probably not going to be the next Rockefeller. Instead, find something that you love doing. People who are passionate about their job love being there. They love the work that they do. They love the people that they work with. If this is not you, stop wasting your time and find something that you can get passionate about.
We are all born with individual talents. But we do not all use our talents to the best of our ability. Maybe we are unaware of what our true talents are. Maybe we lack the desire to use and develop our talents. Or maybe we have mentally buried our talents in the ground. When this happens, it is very difficult to raise up our talents again. We need encouragement. We need someone who loves us to help us see our natural abilities and encourage us to share our abilities with others. We need someone to help us shine. This is what we do for those that we love. We see the best in them, even when they are unable to see the best in themselves. We encourage them to discover their talents. We provide opportunities for them to share their talents with others. We want them to shine.
The people you surround yourself with have a significant impact on your long-term success. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become negative. And a negative attitude guarantees a life of disappointment. Instead, surround yourself with positive people. Chances are, you already have some people in your life who radiate positive emotions. People that you enjoy being around. People who lift up your spirits. People who are genuinely concerned for your well-being. These are the people that you need on your team. Wherever you need support, whether at home, at work, or at church, build a team of positive people. Support one another, listen to one another, encourage one another. And most importantly, acknowledge your teammates when you have a big win in your life. Because no one succeeds alone.
We live in a world where civil discourse is not highly valued. People just do not seem to be able to talk to each other and work together. It makes me wonder what Franklin would think of our country today. Because from my perspective, things are spiraling out of control. We reach new depths daily. We cannot have leaders and public figures whose primary form of communication is yelling insults at each other and expect to have any civility at any level of our society. What can you do? Decide today that you can make a difference. Be courteous. Be honest. Be sincere. Live a life worth living.
At the end of the day, there is no better time spent than sharing a meal with your family. Make family dinner time a priority in your life. Eliminate all distractions. Turn off the television and leave your cell phones in another room. Take time during the meal to listen to your children, to instruct your children, and to laugh with your children. Make this time special and fun. Choose a book to read together and read a chapter to them at the end of the meal. Remember that this time is more than a time to eat and drink together. It is a time to show your family that they are important in your life.