Story: She started with our company in 1968 when she was 17-years-old, and will soon be celebrating a 50 year anniversary, our longest tenured employee. Her parents literally wanted her to stay on the family farm. Instead, she applied one of the most important principles that thriving people do; she respectfully chose to live the life she desired rather than what others wanted for her.
Key Point: Out of consideration for her privacy, I will not share personal details. However, I would like to outline some of her (let’s call her Gloria) lessons from a journey of 50 years:
- Be totally positive, and honestly realistic. Most situations, and almost every day has a bright side if you learn to frame it that way. Who wants to work with negative, cynical people?
- Embrace change and learn to love it. Actively seek it out. When you reflect on what change most often involves, it is much better than the status quo. Individuals and organizations have a responsibility to continuously move forward.
- Be an intentional, constant learner, continuously adding to your expertise, social/emotional skills, and be fearless in trying new things. This is tied to No. 2 above. Do NOT be complacent and think you’ve “gone as far” as you need to. If you stop, you will be left behind.
- Have fun every day. If you’re not laughing, you’re not living. Live the life you want in the present, rather than just hoping for a better state in the future.
- Whatever you do, when you put others first, things usually turn out for the best. Learn to keep your ego in check.
- If you’re a leader, commit to developing others first and do not make it all about yourself. Gloria’s best leaders have behaved this way.
- Have enough room in your life for that “convertible hot car” or something that makes life more fun.
- Be humble enough to do what needs to be done to move the organization, or the team forward. During her career Gloria has done everything from janitorial work to sophisticated financial advising. Roll up one’s sleeves and make things happen by taking on tough problems, and keeping the customer first .
- Failing at something does not mean one is a failure. Moving forward includes having the courage to get things done, with the understanding that one is going to goof up along the way. Get up, jump in the convertible, and accelerate to the next destination.
- When you do the above, 50 years zip by… Like 1968 was just yesterday. And more importantly, you will be driving down a highway that is always going forward. More often than not, the road is one worth taking.
Personal Leadership Moves:
- It is unlikely any of our readers will spend 50 years at one company. Nevertheless, Gloria’s lessons apply to us all. They are retro and modern at the same time. You have likely heard all of Gloria’s advice before. The question to ask yourself is, do you really live/work this way?
Riding with Gloria in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: There’s a reason Millennials seek guidance and advice from people like Gloria. It’s true wisdom that can’t really be achieved from a newage textbook, podcast, or YouTube video. Thanks to her great service and willingness to share valuable insight, we’re lucky enough to get a true education 50 years in the making.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis