I remember my twin boys just learning to play the game of baseball when they were just eight years old. The laughter of the parents when a child who finally hit the baseball and ran down the wrong base line– directly to third base instead of first base.
Then, there was the experience of my twins learning the fine game of soccer. At this age, there was no real offense or defense, rather it was an entire swarm of small bodies chasing the ball, with the only player staying in their respective position being the goalie.
Finally, the basketball game when a child got so excited that he got the ball and forgot to dribble on the way to the basket.
I have coached a number of my children’s sports teams, and learned the importance of learning the simple rules of the game. Initially, coaching involved managing the level of chaos and confusion as children learned the rules of the game. But over time, it was profound that the once-confusing rules become second nature, and I finally watched children play together as a team without a second thought about the rules.
RULES TO LIVE BY
Playing a sport without knowing the rules leads to chaos, confusion, and even injury. Likewise, in your life and in your business, without clearly defined rules, the result is disorder, dissatisfaction, and even harm. Here are some simple rules that can help you navigate life and your business. I hope they provide you with thoughts to ponder and reevaluate the rules in your life and your business.
RULE #1: Family is always first.
Many leaders give lip service to putting family first, but they don’t actually practice this concept by giving their spouse or kids top priority. What does it mean to put family first? It involves redefining success. Do not measure success in terms of career accomplishments, money, cars, or a big house. Rather, success is when those closest to you truly respect you and refer to you as an good example. Practically speaking, make sure to schedule family time before setting your work time. It is far more important to have quality family time than to have work demands that result in the continuous 60 hours per week.
RULE #2: Follow the Golden Rule
Ask three questions about our leaders:
1) Do they care for me?
2) Can they help me?
3) Can I trust them?
As a leader, ask these same questions of yourself: Am I caring? Am I helping? Am I reliable? Set the example to those under you to treat others the way you would like to treated.
RULE #3 Take care of yourself
Doing things for yourself is not a selfish act; it’s a critical and important act. Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola said, “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them- work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls- family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
A very dear friend and mentor of mine learned the importance of this rule the hard way, through the trauma of a heart attack and a quadruple bypass. If you are not managing the necessary time to rest and replenish, to exercise, and to monitor your mental facilities, then eventually you and your body will breakdown. When that happens you have no value to anyone around you.
RULE #4 Choose a positive attitude
Happiness cannot be won, bought, or brought to you by another person. Rather, it results from a conscious choice to be grateful and to make the best of life’s challenges. Whatever happens to us, we always have control of one thing: our attitude. Yes, attitudes are contagious.
RULE #5 Always have a plan.
The key to personal growth is to have a beginner’s mindset– remembering when you first started your business. Beginners admit they do not know everything and proceed accordingly. As a general rule beginners admit that they are open, humble, willing to learn and grow, willing to make the necessary changes, and are noticeably lacking in the rigidity that accompanies experience, success and ego.
RULE #6 Always give more than you receive
Looking back over your career, make a list of those that served as your mentor. Everyone at many points in their career ask for help, but not everyone has the capacity or willingness to give and mentor others. When you stop trying to ‘use’ people around you, only than can you learn ways to add real value to your personal relationship with others and only then can your influence truly soar.