When Zachary was wresting as a heavy-weight his junior year in high school, he absolutely HATED getting the silver medal. Taking 2nd place in a tournament was just not good enough. So, he would go over the moves that cost him the match (his own and his opponents) and strive improve at the next tournament. One of the interesting things about watching the guys at wrestling tournaments was the camaraderie. You might spend 6 minutes throwing each other all over the mat, but when the match was over, you shook hands and were (in most cases) friendly competitors. I would watch the 215 & 285 wrestlers sit around the gym and discuss opponents and their moves and giving out tips. The wrestlers that excelled were the ones that gave as many pointers as they took. They were all working to make each other better wrestlers. It made the sport more fun. By the time Zac had reached his Senior Year run for state, taking the silver wasn’t too bad. He wanted the gold, but being top two was an accomplishment. He had done the best that he could and he could be proud of what he did and proud of his fellow competitors on the podium. Nothing shows immaturity more than the athlete that throws his medal to the floor rather than accept something other than the gold.
I’m always amazed that so many adults have not learned to take pride in their own accomplishments. Too many “professional” people are intent upon tearing apart others in order to prove their own worth & importance. If we spent as much time taking care of our own business as we spend pointing out or fabricating the faults in others, how much better would our world be? What happened to doing the best job that I can and being proud of it? If I land two new accounts at work, do I really need to bad mouth the person that landed three? Does that make me look better? If I made a decision that is not going to be popular with my staff, does lying about why that decision was made make me a better supervisor? What happened to honesty is the best policy? Who will EVER trust me? Who will I ever be able to trust?
The last few months have reminded me just how blessed I truly am. I was raised in a home where my accomplishments were recognized. I knew that whatever I did, I would get support from my parents & extended family. I never felt the need to “out-do” anyone else. Whether I was 1st chair or 9th or didn’t even make the region band, my parents were proud that I tried and did my best. Disappointments were there, but they were never viewed as failures. And that was true for all three of us. Our greatest fans were our own parents. None of us ever had to sneak around to see someone because he/she was the “wrong color”. Even when I wanted to date someone who was really too old for me, my parents said “no”, but never ‘forbid’ our friendship. Even when the hair-length became an issue at school, my parents stood up for what they believed. They may not have been on the same side of the issue as others in our community, but it wasn’t a death-blow to relationships with most. The only ones that carried a grudge about that issue were those with poor self images that craved total control and viewed anything other than total submission as anarchy.
Similarly, I was blessed with a wonderful husband. He never treated me as inferior because I was a woman. He didn’t have a need to control my every movement or thought. He was never threatened by the men that I worked with in the Oil Patch. I never had to worry about him cheating on our marriage vows. His word was his bond: we were married ‘til death do we part. There were times that things were rough, but leaving was not an option that either of us considered. Our marriage was a partnership based on love and respect. If there were two sides to any issue, we would be on opposing sides. It happened every time and that was okay. Having different views didn’t mean we couldn’t be respectful toward each other and work to a mutual conclusion. It was not a reason to step outside of our marriage and run the other into the ground.
Thru my years as a professional in the Oil Patch, I’ve seen lots of different behaviors. There are those that are said to be “legends in their own mind”. They only pay heed to their own thoughts and ideas, because anything less is failure. I understand how truly blessed I have been to work with true mentors throughout my career. These people took the time to develop me as a professional. They listened when I didn’t agree, valued my opinions & did not assume I was questioning their authority when I did have a different approach or idea. We worked together to form successful teams, recognizing that all the parts make a much better whole. They didn’t need to stand on the “bloodied bodies” they left behind. The best managers/mentors understand that when you move out of your own very small circle of influence, that pile of bodies will collapse and is an indication of the true character that is at work. All credibility is lost when it is based on untruths & dishonest motives.
I have spent 30+ years in the Oil Patch and I have benefited from following the example of integrity set before me by my parents & my mentors. I try to give more than is required of my job. I do my best to make my supervisor & co-workers look good. And, I have been consistently ranked at the top of my classification thru the years as a result. In 2000, I chose to try the stay-at-home mom route. I was actively recruited by supervisors/co-workers to return to my former company the following year. In 2009, the recruiting calls started again and they were from those Oil Patch guys I had supported & worked with thru the years. My reputation as a hard-working & honest team player had followed me. As a result, I changed companies in early 2010. In 2013, when drilling in the Gulf was no longer an option for my company, I was again recruited & didn’t miss a days work. Often times, I lose sight of how important networking with a strong reputation can be. A good reputation is worth everything. Jobs are won and lost everyday based on character assessments. Anyone can be taught to do a job. Not everyone can be taught integrity.
So, what is your reputation worth? If you were a fly on the wall and could hear others talk about you, would you be pleased? Do you find it necessary to slander and/or misrepresent others in order to be “the boss”? Do you need to rant and rave in front of others to feel important? Are you afraid of hearing negative feedback? Can you look EVERYONE you meet in the eye? Are you big enough to let the truth speak for itself?
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.