5 Lessons I Learned from a 300 Million Dollar Man
Living in a capitalistic society, I tend to wonder what characteristics contribute to a financially successful person. Although I currently work in a constrictive corporate 9 to 5, there are many opportunities to learn and enrich myself within the confines of my company. Even among the negatives of the corporate world, I’m lucky enough to work in an environment where the president of the company is readily accessible.
Thomas, the president of the company, created the business from scratch 35 years ago with his father and brother. With only $20,000 in capital to start the company, they worked tirelessly out of their small living room. Since then, the business has grown exponentially, raising revenues to $300,000,000 and employing over 600 full time staff.
I used to be a night owl and had a difficult time getting out of bed and getting to work. (If you haven’t read my post ‘night owl turned early bird,’ let’s just say I was consistently late to work) Obviously, the president took notice of my tardiness and so began the “come into my office, for a talk.” Rather than threats or intimidation, however, he began teaching me what he believed lead to his successes in life.
The 5 lessons I learned from the 300 million dollar man:
Optimism is important, especially in tough times: Optimism is an asset and comes in handy when times are tough. Even after an enormous drop in revenues late last year and into this year, Thomas has stayed optimistic and has let his employees know that the company will overcome the slump together. Optimism allows us to keep our focus on the important tasks, while pessimism keeps you focused on things that can go wrong.
Putting in a constant stream of hard work: Dedication and hard work toward your profession is as important as the passion you have for it. Thomas, together with his brother and father, worked tirelessly to grow the company and toiled out of their living room for years before they made enough to afford a small office. Even to this day, Thomas gets to the office at 6:30 am to sort out emails and prepare for the day.
“Great achievements is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never out of selfishness.” Napoleon Hill
Be on time: In business and in life, Thomas stresses the importance of punctuality. This is especially true in business dealings, as one needs to respect their own time and even more so the time of others. Taken further, if you’re early to a meeting, you have the opportunity to prepare ahead which gives you an extra edge.
“Punctuality is the stern virtue of men of business, and the graceful courtesy of princes.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Embrace change: As Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant.” By resisting change, businesses may stifle growth, eventually leading to a death of a business. Thomas put it this way: “There was once a bustling city that had it all. Then came the invention of the locomotive. Not interested in embracing the new form of transportation, the city denied the construction of the railroad tracks. What happened next? Because they denied change, the city got left behind and now ceases to exist.”
Never stop learning: Love books and love learning. Thomas reads 1 new book a week on a wide variety of subjects and is never too proud to ask his employees about things he’s not familiar with. Try learning about a new subject every month, or if you have a special subject you enjoy, try learning as much as you can about it.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi
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(FYI: I no longer have a problem with tardiness and enjoy walking into the office instead of running)
Photo by: Ian Muttoo