August 2, 2016

Offense

There is a simple message that keeps popping up in my life over the last few weeks. It’s become a source of motivation and an answer to occasional thoughts of doubt, negativity, and just feeling overwhelmed.

No matter what, always be on the offensive.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a habit to go with the flow. I’m not afraid of confrontation or stand for what I believe in. I often do in business. But, I’m also content to sit back and let others drive decisions if I sense that my opinion or viewpoint could ruffle someone else’s feathers, especially in matters that don’t pertain to my business.

That kind of attitude often puts me and my family on the defensive.

It’s come up in my family’s volunteer efforts. My wife and I can continue to sit back and be assigned tasks that might overwhelm us or we can speak up and take on what we know we can deliver while also making the scope of our request clear so we do not over commit or be taken advantage of.

It’s come up in the precious time together as a family. We have been taken on some wonderful vacations thanks to the grandparents. Week long beach vacations in the Carolinas, Disney World and the Mickey boat to name a few. With three kids under the age of 10, it’s tough to do more than that for a variety of reasons, mostly financial and time off from work. Of course, that’s the easy way out. You only live once, right? Before you know it our kids will be off to college and we will regret not taking them to more places. Again, it’s a matter of going on the offensive and making it happen regardless of the hurdles.

And then there is my business. It takes a toll on me, but I love it. The peaks and valleys throughout the years have given me a lot of grey hairs. Every time we hit a valley, it’s a stressful period. We keep bouncing back by going on the offensive, but maybe we should be doing even more.

I recently saw John Bassett III, CEO of Vaughn-Bassett furniture speak at the University of Virginia and subsequently have been reading his book, Making It In America. Mr. Bassett and his family have been in the furniture business for generations. While all his competitors were selling out to the Chinese in the early 2000s, Mr. Bassett and his team held their ground and keep producing their furniture in America … and were successful. But they didn’t hunker down during this crisis, they went on the offensive by investing in new ideas and programs, which led to higher revenues, incentivized workers, and improved production.

As I get older, I am starting to feel time ticking away like never before. Sitting back is not a way to live life to the fullest no matter what the situation. Go after it every day like it’s your last.


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