It’s Not Who We Are, It’s Just What We Do
My wife is a guidance counselor by day and participates in rodeo events on weekends. No, not bull riding or roping, but rather, barrel racing and pole bending. A very good friend of hers died last year from breast cancer at a young age. Her name was Stephanie Marcum.
The National Pole Bending Association (NPBA), which held its Championship event a few weeks ago in Liberty, Ky., decided to start giving out an award every year in honor of her. It will be given to the person who shows the most sportsmanship throughout the year. The award will be in her honor because Stephanie was a true sportsman.
Now don’t get me wrong, Stephanie was also an extremely tough competitor and champion. She won countless events, including the Quarter Horse Congress and the NPBA Championship. She was in the Top 10 countless times and was the Reserve Champion in 1998 and 2007 at the World show in Oklahoma.
The NPBA asked my wife to give a short speech before the first award was handed out. Here is what my wife said:
“Stephanie was always there to cheer you on, to congratulate you after a great run and to cheer you up with encouraging words after a knock or a bad run. Don’t get me wrong; she was out to beat you. And she did, many times! But there was no one as encouraging as Stephanie. The one thing she taught me that will stick with me the rest of my life was that barrel racing and pole bending is not who we are, it’s simply what we do.”
This statement by my wife really hit me like a ton of bricks. There is no one more passionate about their business than me (just ask my wife, co-workers, vendors, family – you get the idea). But so many times I feel we think our business, our P&L, our building décor makes up who we are. But in reality, it’s just what we do. What really makes up who we are is our character, the trust that people have in us. Those encouraging words we share with our family, our techs and our friends. The volunteer work we do at church and non-profits. The financial or time commitment we give to charities such as Susan G. Komen.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not easy to keep a proper perspective on things in the midst of emotions and distractions that are constantly swirling around us. I know I’ve put my foot in my mouth more than once due to the stress of the day. But it’s not really who I am.
So as we approach this fourth quarter of the year, and as we approach the holiday season, maybe it’s time to step back and review if we take this business a little too seriously. Or maybe we have been a little too irrational in some of our decisions? Let’s try to remember: This business “is not really who we are, it’s simply what we do.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
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