Jack Canfield, in his book The Success Principles, states that of all the things people can do to accelerate their trip down the path to success, participating in some type of coaching program is at the top of the list. Canfield states that a coach not only helps keep you focused on your goals, but also helps you live by your values.
I found this to be true years ago, when I asked for coaching from a business person for whom I held a lot of respect. I owned a small business at the time, and found myself in the shoes of employer and employee. So I sought an expert who could share with me from their years of experience the values they had come to know as most important in the longevity of a business.
I asked a man whose successful business career had spanned over 50 years. He began as a mail clerk for a family owned scrap business, was then promoted to sales, and rose to be the president of the company. In retirement, he became a highly successful entrepreneur - twice! And his work life balance was evident long before it was a popular concept. How did I know this about him? He was my dad.
Dad had observed business practices on the front line for many years and in many roles. My father's very first sales call in 1953 was with a person who snubbed his cigarette out over my father's business card. Years later the same gentleman came calling on my dad for help when his fortunes had reversed. Over the years, as employee and employer, Dad watched numerous businesses and people rise and fall.
Due to his many years of observation and experience, he was able to relate to me without hesitation ten guiding principles. He said they were, in the midst of everyday problems and circumstances, far easier to ignore or rationalize away than to consider. He felt that to be truly successful in all the ways a person or business could, it was necessary to try your best daily to be personably responsible for each of them.
Here they are, just as he related them.
1. Deliver on your promises. Expect others to do likewise. Honesty and Integrity are demonstrated in the daily accountability to follow through at the highest level one can. What's yours is yours, what's not is not.
2. Do not be afraid to exercise imagination. Balance it with intelligence to avoid the Don Quixote syndrome.
3. Always be aware of the now and how to better the situation in all aspects of business.
4. A company of employees without desire is like a car without gas.
5. A company and or employee without drive is like a car full of gas but lacking a starter.
6. Politeness. This is a must for any business/employee. Politeness redeems all business.
7. Compassion. Have a willingness to help those who need help. Temper it with good judgment.
8. Charity. Be a part of the community. Contribute.
9. Have Faith. Know that it will happen.
10. Appreciate. Thank all who made it happen. Give recognition. Reward performance.
The ten principles my father shared with me were not new, and they did not seem complex. Like many of the things we teach at Tero these tips sounded simple and basic. Yet in daily practice, it can be very hard to consistently demonstrate them.
When I first heard these, I asked myself to pick one each week to focus on. When a situation came up, I reflected how Dad's principle may come to play in the situation. Did it apply? What did it help me see? How could I employ it to be or do things better?
My weekly picks helped me grow in my understanding of my business and myself. On the week I chose #6 Drive, I analyzed my own drive. Could I kick my efforts up a notch? What might the results be? When I chose#9, Have Faith, I tried to look at what seemed like failed results throughout the week, and consciously remember that effort and a positive attitude could enhance and change the outer circumstances over time.
Dan Sullivan, President of Strategic Coach states "In every society, there are human benchmarks- certain individuals whose behavior becomes a model for everyone else - shining examples that others admire and emulate. We call these individuals "class acts".
I knew from what my dad related to me about these principles, and the stories that shaped them, he was a "class act" in business. His sharing of what he knew would only help me if I took responsibility to engage- daily- in attempting to be responsible for the principles in all of my interactions. I chose one - one week at a time - in the hopes that as Canfield said, I might move closer each day to living my values while achieving my goals. Thanks, Dad!
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