I originally wrote this post back in 2012 – about 6 months before Heartland Homes was acquired by NVR, and I would go on to lead two home building divisions for them. It felt like a stressful time where I was being stretched thin… The truth is, if you are properly attacking this life you’ll always feel a little stretched, and this insight will serve as a useful course correction on where to invest your time.
I don’t have time to write this. Truthfully, I’m not even certain as I begin what I want to tell you. I do know – it is important.
I’ve always loved teaching. I blame it primarily on my parents who were both educators. I started teaching in a formal way in high school when as a junior and senior I would proctor a class two days a week. In college I ended up running labs for a computer programming course – certainly not for the money, but because I loved helping people learn. This entire website, really, is just me organizing my thoughts in a teachable manner – and then putting it out there in the hope that it helps others better themselves or their company.
Now I get to work with a lot of really successful and really smart people every day at my builder. They all work hard to overcome challenges in their life, and for the most part I would say they find success in the face of those challenges. They climb the metaphoric “mountain” every day. However, a lot of the time there is complaining along the way. Sometimes the complaint sounds a lot like the mountain doesn’t have any right to be there in the first place. Even rarer, but most disheartening, is when someone feels like they “have arrived” at the top of their personal mountain and no longer wants to continue to climb even though they possess every necessary skill to do so. They forget that they are part of a team, and they only seem to complain about others around them.
A couple weeks ago I was able to do something really cool. I participated in the commencement program for the class of 2012 from Wesley Spectrum Highland. The kids graduating had enough acute challenges and obstacles that their school actually is part school and part hospital. A few years ago many of them would never have talked to a stranger, would have lashed out violently at those around them, or would have just been written off by society. These are children who were dismissed by the school district in their own township. This was their last chance. To continue the mountain climber illustration – most would have advised them not even to attempt to make the climb. Thankfully they did, and they persevered through it all and made it.
What struck me most of all was not their social and mental challenges. It was their positive attitudes, and their sense of joy and gratitude. They knew they didn’t make it themselves and that they were part of a team – and they wanted to say thank you to everyone that helped them along the way.
At that same moment I was both proud and disappointed. I was exceedingly proud of these young students who had succeeded without all of the advantages that people I work with have. However, I was also disappointed in those who have all that they need, who succeed, but who have stopped growing and are content to settle – or even to blame and complain.
As I take on new and different roles at work, and I find myself stretched thin it is often difficult to spend enough time with everyone, even if you are using Franklin Covey or GTD techniques. But this experience made it pretty clear who I should be spending my time with…
So for anyone reading this that is still committed to grow each day, challenge yourself, and has a positive attitude I am recommitting myself to help you in any way possible to reach your goals.
For the others – my time and energy is already consumed with the first group.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar