Jan 4, 2011
By Michael Kline
By early January, I suppose everyone in the service industry is a little tired. Hopefully, everyone is feeling good about their job or business. We had a decent retail season, followed by a snow storm just in the nick of time to make vacation week a whopping success. I’m guessing most ski areas posted excellent, if not record numbers, while restaurants and shops seemed busy too. What is there to not feel good about?
I am not blind to those I see suffering through job losses and continued unemployment, but for them I see hope for better times ahead. We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful place, with a relatively stable economy and unlimited potential for the hard worker who is willing to pay the price for success. The question is how do you define success and what exactly is the price?
My favorite definition of success I credit to Earl Nighingale “making steady progress toward a worthwhile goal”. Even while we focus on the journey, we still need a goal. Having what you want isn’t near as difficult as knowing what you want. Most people I talk to, have a difficult time articulating what it is they really want. I mean what they really, really want. If you had more money, more time, a bigger house, what is it that those things will bring you? If you want to make more money and have more time to enjoy your family with less stress, then I would say your goal is not to make more money, but to enjoy your family with less stress. Making more money and more time is your chosen strategy – it is not your goal. If I could show you ways to enjoy your family with less stress, with less money, would that make you happy? You might start to panic and say you need the money anyway – then you need to re-identify your real goal. I’m not judging here, only saying you need to know what your real goal really is.
You see, most people cannot identify exactly what it is they really want. They just assume money is the answer. It does answer many problems, so how much do you need? Too many people spend all their time making the money, so there is no enjoyment of time with the family that was allegedly the original goal. I don’t think these folks lied about their intentions. It is not about being dishonest about the goal; it’s just not being thorough in understanding the goal and how to reach it.
If you are unhappy about what you lack in life, it isn’t that you can’t have it; it’s just that you haven’t paid the price. I’m sorry if your parents or government, or too much television misled you into thinking you are entitled without paying the price. That’s just not how it works. If you want to be successful, you need to first, know precisely what it is you want. Then find out what price you need to pay to have that. Then go pay that price. Perhaps the price you pay is years of long hours and hard work. (Been there, done that). Perhaps the price you pay is giving up the big salary and benefits in exchange for less stress, less money and more freedom. (Been there done that too). Stop thinking business goals are always about making more money. Work is about being of service to others, but you will be of better service to others if your work also serves your personal goals. It’s your life. So long as you are supporting yourself and being a responsible citizen, you need to set your goals without worrying about judgment from anyone else. Also, be careful you don’t confuse your personal goals with work goals or those of your employer or customers. When at work, be loyal to those paying your salary. If your customer’s goal is to make more money by using your services, then their goal is your goal. If your employer’s goal is to make more money, (as it always is and should be), then helping them make money is your work goal. I don’t think I can take hearing another food server declare “I hate tourists” – I bet that wasn’t disclosed during their hiring process! Speaking of goals, my goal is not to beat up on servers; they do very hard work and I understand it is easy to grow tired and start to blame, rather than thank the tourists who make our lifestyle here possible. I want every server to enjoy their work and the success it can bring them.
Success in three simple steps: Identify what you really want. Determine the price you have to pay to get it. If you still want it, then go pay the price. Given the price and the awareness that you have to pay that price, you may choose from only three paths. Do it, complain and live in misery, or change your mind about what it is you want. I hope 2011 is an amazing year full of progress toward your goals.