Once again, we find ourselves at the end of the year. December seems to be the best time to take a snap shot of life, business, relationships, etc. and see how far you have come or grown throughout the year.
AutoGov and its employees have been blessed by having wonderful clients, a great business platform, and each other to work with on a daily basis.
We would like to not only take a “snap shot” of our life but focus on passing the blessings along. “The Generosity Experiment” by Sasha Dichter is a prime example of moving forward with generosity and remembering that life isn’t just about us.
So it's coming on Christmas, And AutoGov faces the end of 2011 with a curious blend of optimism and realism. I've blogged before about how well this company and my team have faced the small business challenges of the economic downturn -- with tenacity, belief and humor. I am proud to be on their team.
And that got me thinking about the past year and the pivotal AutoGov moments. One day in particular stands out. It was July 1 and we had a team meeting. A friend of mine had suggested that I watch the Any Given Sunday Inches Speech that Al Pacino gives in a locker room - for inspiration in talking with my team. I rolled my eyes. More sports!
Even I was moved. Pacino says "... in football, in life, the inches we need are everywhere around us."
I kicked the meeting off with talk of inches - that our company would live or die by the inches. That July day, just before Independence Day in Austin Texas, we were joined by family members of our staff. They jumped into our team discussion. My questions were "what motivates you?" What kind of a team do you want to be a part of?" Youth led us in wisdom as the 13-year old son of our founder, a baseball player to his bones responded "to play with people who try, to believe in my team, to get to the finish line with them." After that, everyone joined in and it was one of the best meetings I've ever been a part of in all my working years.
Here's our list of what motivates us, Give me these inches any day.
Effort, Faith, Belief, Respect, Trust, Service, Passion
Take a minute and listen to Al. It's worth it "one inch at a time."
About a week ago I had one of those life experiences that become rarer and rarer as the years pass – a surprising and inspiring one. Our company joined with another Austin Texas based small business, The Human Machine Athletic Club, to do the Tough Mudder. We blogged and tweeted about it as race day drew near, excited and nervous, and proud to be raising money for the Wounded Warriors.
Our team of 11 spanned ages in four decades and we needed each and every one of us to get through the race. Our team had sheer strength and athletic ability, determination, humor, strategy, and maybe even a little wisdom. It took us three hours. We all groaned in disbelief at mile three. Really, really? And at about mile eight my colleague Susannah began to chant “I’m done with the fun.” We were wet and muddy and cold.
Mile 10. We crossed the finish line together. We were happy. It was a great morning.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since and it occurred to me that maybe we are like the race. As two small businesses in the worst recession in how many years, we have survived mile three and run past mile eight – tough, tenacious, and scrappy. We’ve persevered and come up with clever ways to survive – low on cash but with a firm belief that our businesses are worth saving and that we offer value to the world and to the marketplace. We’re wet and cold and muddy, yet somehow happy and we’re still standing.
So… a tremendous thanks to my teammates – Adam, Gregg, JW, Jon, Katie, Margaret, Mike, Pat, Susannah, and Taylor -- for a great race and for reminding me about the rewards of teamwork and hard work and believing --- that much is possible and maybe even the hard stuff might just turn out to be fun.