After 38 years in the business world, I’ve realized that only one thing is as certain as taxes — life. Life happens, and unlike taxes, it doesn’t follow a nice schedule we can plan around every April. In fact, life is probably happening to someone around you right at this moment.
Back when I was 30, I was teaching full-time and hated it. So I decided to go back to school to get my MBA. This meant I had to plan my classes around my teaching schedule, and the first one I could get was a programming course. I had no idea that I’d love it as much as I did — but that class changed everything.
I’ve always thought you have two choices when it comes to competition: you either let it overwhelm you and view your competitors as enemies or you use it to push you forward and see your competitors as friends.
In 1974 I gave my mom 24 checks — half for my school loan, half for my car payment — with instructions to mail out a pair each month. I was 24 and had made the decision to convert my 1972 Ford Pinto into a “mobile home” and set off for adventure.
Twelve years ago our first company Christmas card included 33 people and took about 45 minutes to complete. This year’s card had 300+ people and was a process of over 120 hours. In truth, bringing everyone together be a task. But the end result of doing so is worth it.
Given the season, I’d like to start this letter by encouraging you to remember yourself when you count your blessings. A thank you to “you,” so to speak. Because I think it’s important to give yourself credit where credit is due.
Think about what you were afraid of when you were a little kid — the dark, spiders, snakes and clowns. As you get older, your fears aren’t always as black and white. And sometimes, the things that scare us aren’t even bad.
Twenty years ago it took 16 diskettes to install FOUNDATION for a client. (It would take over 4,000 to equal the storage on your phone!) Now, we can download the software straight to their computer. A lot’s changed in the last 20 years. Fortunately, many people haven’t.
In 1978 I wrote my parents a five-page letter, diagrams included, detailing my decision to quit teaching. Shortly after, I gave my mother 24 envelopes for my car payments and student loans, converted the bucket seat of my car into a bed, and set off to make my own way.
This year, I kicked off my “summer break” by heading up to the Appalachian Trail with our backpacking club for a 70-mile trek through Shenandoah Valley National Park.