One thing about living most of my life in the same small city, I have seen many people grow from stage to stage in life. I remember when a bunch of guys were in their 30s and 40s. They were posturing for importance. Living an upscale and hard-driving lifestyle. Now they are 60s and 70s. They, for the most part, have come to see what’s really important in life—relationships, service, being comfortable in who they are.
Lure of Lifestyle
My friend Jim Pinto, who has turned his attention from automation (since he doesn’t write for me anymore) to thoughts on how to live, reminds us to focus on what’s important. In Lure of Lifestyle, he says, “Now, I don’t feel particularly miserly, but I really don’t understand the rationale of the luxury lifestyle. In fact, I remember the remark of a guy who ignored the champagne at a fancy reception and asked for a beer. “Hey!” he said, “I’m rich enough to drink what I want, not what looks good.”
These days, when I see somebody posturing beyond their means, I remember a Texas cattleman’s wisecrack: “Big hat, no cattle!” This was the name of a song by Randy Newman.”
Fits a Career
I think this fits a career, too. Most of the time I’ve been in leadership (I wish I had been this good all the time), the important question became, “How can I help you?” After defining roles and hiring the best people (I’ve missed a few times, much to my downfall—one guy turned out to be quite the political manipulator), that is the best approach to management.
I’m reminded of a story about a guy who was trying to impress neighbors in an upper middle class neighborhood. One neighbor was actually quite wealthy, although you’d never know it from the way he lived (with simplicity).
Seems the guy seeking to impress through a party for his “friends” in the neighborhood. He gave the guests a tour of his wine cellar–his pride and joy. Then he showed the big prize–a very expensive bottle of wine.
The rich guy said, “Well, let’s just pop that thing open and see how good it is.” I’m saving it for a special occasion was the reply. “Heck,” continued the rich guy, “you’ve got all your friends over here for a big celebration. This is a special occasion.”
Think he knew that that bottle of wine was just for show? Only there to impress people?
As we lead and manage, we should check to see how much display we have around us meant only to impress. This can be changed to thinking about how much we can help others so that we together accomplish awesome results.