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It Will Build Character

In my youth, I spent most summers visiting my family in upstate New York. They live in a town smaller than most high schools on a farm. I had a lot of fun catching frogs, riding ATVs, and building hay forts in the barn with my cousins. On top of all the fun was quite a bit of work; it’s a farm so there’s always work that needs to get done. There were a lot of “it will build character” moments in the hot humid sun.

The other day, I started to think about how much of what I learned over those hot humid summers has transferred to a job that couldn’t be more different. I’m in sales, so a lot of what I do is working for tomorrow and devoid of any instant results. In my last talk with our CEO, I was reminded “Not to let the challenge get to me” as I work to build up a book of business. He was referring to the urge to cut corners and try to find quick pay days that don’t have the customer’s best interests in mind. It’s been a hard six months of trying to break into an industry that I have little to no inside connections in or experience with.

Some days I can hear my grandfather’s words from my youth about hard work and being patient. “Anything you do will have your name attached to it, whether it’s mowing the lawn or building a barn.” Or “We can’t get everything done, but we can get a lot accomplished before dinner.” No matter how hard I worked I always felt lazy compared to him. Because of him I believe that hard work and doing the right thing is how you become successful, even if it does not happen as quickly as I’d like.

It’s summer again and I can’t help thinking back to those days with him and wishing I had just one more to work with him. I’ve received a lot of great advice in my life, but no one has led by example better than the original Doug Lobdell. I’m running into a lot of walls as I try to get going, but I’m holding onto the lessons I learned about patience and hard work he taught me and reminding myself that just because I’m not on the farm doesn’t mean that the way I go about my day should be any different. Hard work is hard work  no matter what the task is, and doing the job the right way will make you successful in the end.

Empower the impossible.