Every week of March we will post three thoughts for three years of the company from our CEO. This is the first of those posts.
There is enough to go around for everyone.
The first thought is not originated by me but one that has become important to me and our company. My wife is a psychologist in private practice. Many years ago, when she got too full to accept other patients she started referring them out to trusted colleagues – who could also be seen as competitors. While I understood why she would not just turn down a new client but also refer them to someone else, a part of me saw a conflict. It felt to me like the very act of helping someone who is not your own client was then helping your competition strengthen thereby impacting your ability to compete. I asked her if sending a potential client to a potential competitor was something that ever crossed her mind. Her answer to me, “There is enough to go around for everyone.” And she is right.
I think about this frequently in business decisions, in working with others, in my daily life. We can look out for our own interests while helping others too. Yes, at times, it seems like there are only so many pieces of the pie. But life and work have been much more fulfilling when I look to help everyone without worrying about if it impacts my business at the same time. Maybe of most importance is that by consciously acting like there is enough to go around, it really feels like there is – and that takes some of the edge off.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway
I’ve had this quote on my wall for at least 5 years. For too long in my life, I compared myself to others. If someone else was doing well, why wasn’t I doing as well? If someone else has something that I wanted (or even just thought I might want), why don’t I have that? I know where a lot of that comes from in the history of my life and from childhood, but changing the thought was important. And when I came across this quote, it was very inspirational. What does it matter what other people have, how other people are seen or any other aspects? Really what is important is to continue to improve yourself. I’ve come to believe that when I focus on what others have in relation to me, I am avoiding looking at those things I need to improve about myself. It is probably an unconscious purposeful plan by my brain. How I relate to others, what I say and when I say it are all important to me trying to be “noble.” Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. But I do what I can to focus on being superior to my former self.
And from a business standpoint, I have (mostly) been successful at not focusing on other similar businesses and what they have or how my company may be superior. I focus on what I want for this firm and our team and how we, as a company, can be superior to our former selves.
This one is straightforward. Our whole company is focused not only on projects and, of course, making a living, but in trying to do good. We all believe that it feeds our souls – helps us to feel we aren’t just working a job every day. We want our projects to be part of a greater good, our actions to be part of that good and therefore, our firm, to be part of the overall good.