I’m 60 today. In the words of Eubie Blake, who lived to 100, if I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. That said, I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel like, but I certainly don’t feel like 60. That seemed very old growing up but I’m feeling as if I’m just getting started.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to give you youngsters the benefit of a few things I’ve picked up along the way. You’re thinking “but that’s what you do every day on the screed.” I try, yes. These things, however, are more about you than about your business.
- It’s ok to be nice. That doesn’t mean you need to be a pushover, but you can make your point and have your way more often than not without radiating hostility, negativity, or arrogance.
- Listen more than you speak.
- You’re not an island (thanks, John Donne) so appreciate that you need to work with others. More importantly, sometimes you need to trust them. You are going to get screwed every once in a while but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised a lot more often.
- Learn from it and forget it. Unless you have some time machine, you can’t unring a bell. Like Edith Piaf said, Non, je ne regrette rien.
- Pick your battles, know you’re going to lose a few (but win the ones that count) and learn from the losses. Stay positive and move on.
- Be curious, ask questions, challenge answers. Learn something new every day.
- Most importantly, get a life – something that will be there whatever your job. You will make many many acquaintances in business. You’ll find out who among them are friends when you can do nothing for them. On that last point, I’ve been extremely fortunate. I’ve gone the last 7.5 years doing what my family lovingly calls my “phony baloney made up job.” Nearly all of the clients I have and have had are because a friend put in a kind word. Part of my job is to repay their faith.
Thank you all for indulging me today. It will be back to our regularly scheduled stuff tomorrow. See you then?