Monday, March 29, 2010
Maybe it is ironic that I was on a flight to Costa Rica that, when opening my pile of analyst reports, CFO magazines and other assorted items in my “reading” file that I decided I would read your book. I first want to thank you for having the courage to share your life experiences, for me I found an amazing sameness to our lives. In college I never would have thought of us as similar, I liked to party and school was secondary. We were in different fraternities, and if we hadn’t gone to a school where everyone knows everyone else, it is unlikely our paths would have crossed. However, the underlying commonality of our upbringing, I was raised by a handicapped father, who never let his handicap be a handicap, and a mother who was told by her father at the age of 18 that a woman should get married and raise a family, and there was no place for her on a college campus. She died with two Masters degrees and thousands of productive adults that had been influenced by her as a teacher. The importance of family and faith rooted in our parents and grandparents. Finally, a desire to succeed by charting our own destiny.
It is refreshing to hear the perspective that we need to be accountable to ourselves first and that only we can navigate the roadblocks to our success. I recently had a conversation with a young lady who told me that if I were to do a bad deal I could get fired. She clearly had been taught by a former manager that to do nothing meant we would do nothing wrong. Your book clearly outlines the joys of being able to overcome the fear of failure in order to enjoy success. Your talk of dark days allows us to have perspective, and makes the book more genuine, not some sugarcoated sales manual. I appreciate your genuine approach to the balance of work, family and faith. So many times I feel I have given too much attention to one and caused others to suffer.
I am currently leading a team in a very complicated and time consuming integration. I have approached the process head on and told our team we are going to have a year of pain, before we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We lost three senior executives in a month, which whether I liked it or not, elevated me to a position of responsibility among my peers I had never been in before. Not only did I have to manage my team, now I had to be the voice of experience to a new group of peers. It is especially difficult because we are working with the former team still employed, but on retention. Fortunately, nine months out we are almost done. I finally am able to sleep at night. Still, we are going through the same process you did, where it seems one group at a time step up and get the job done. I am very proud of my team, my peers and my bosses.
In this day of entitlement your book is a refreshing look at the fact that we control our lives and our destiny. While this may seem scary to some, how much more scary is it to put control of your destiny in a Board of Directors bound by a fiduciary duty not to you, but to its shareholders. Or an elected official, or government bureaucrat, to whom we are just a statistic, or a possible vote. Sure there are dark days and barriers, these can be excuses, or we can see the barriers as experiences that provide the skills we need to succeed. YOU decide your course. I love those capital YOU’s!!!!!
I am proud to have you as my fellow classmate and Belmont Abbey Crusader. It is an honor to know you and your success inspires us. If you are in the Fort Worth area please look me up and we can go grab some dinner, I will do the same if I am in DC. I wish you and your family continued success.
Vice President, Finance
In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL