Entitlement vs. Appreciation

I wonder if I owe employer-readers of SaskBusiness an apology. A few months back I wrote of how employers need to value their employees in a manner in which employees “feel” valued. A few weeks later, I noted that employees of one of my clients left this article folded and face up on the staff lunchroom table for over a month…the first of my articles to receive such promotion. While what I wrote remains true, it calls for a balanced perspective within the employer/employee partnership…one of appreciation on the part of the employee.

“People who are raised in North America may have a sense of entitlement simply because they have no idea how lucky they are. If you’ve never been hungry, never wondered where you would sleep, never had to go without shoes, then your sense of what is by rights your due may be askew… ”

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Success: The other side of the mountain

While cycling in the mountains this past week, I was reminded of an important principle: Success is not just about what you accomplish…but also about what you overcome.

During the final day of our three-day route, we had to climb about 9 K of steep (4.4% grade) hill. Approximately half way into the climb I began to feel that I would not make the grade (in more ways than one!)  I was dressed too warm, and began to overheat. My water was nearly gone, and I had no fuel left in the tank. I was also fighting my mind, which seemed to be quite willing to accept the possibility of an extended layover or even a DNF (did not finish) as a final outcome.

I have felt this way before…in life and business. Circumstances have conspired to bring me to a similar place of fearing that I would not “make the grade”, or post a less than flattering “DNF”. To some cyclists a 4.4% grade is nothing. (Indeed, we were passed by a triathlete who was doing the whole 350 K’s in one day!) However, to me it was a mountain.

Thankfully a buddy helped me out, sourcing a bagel and water from a  friendly CPR employee. A brief rest, along with a great conversation (enough to remove my mind from the “mountain” in front of me) and I was back in the saddle with renewed optimism.

We all have our mountains. The size of our particular mountain is only one factor…our resources (capacity, competency, companions, etc) are also a factor.Two years ago I would have scoffed at the suggestion that I could ride 350 K’s through the mountains. The same buddy that handed me the bagel, offered the encouragement and opportunity to begin cycling in the first place. Great companion!

Just a little ways past the 9 K hill I enjoyed an extended downhill stretch, enough to reach speeds of 70+ KPH! Exhaustion quickly gave way to exhilaration! I enjoyed the satisfaction of overcoming a mountain, and enjoyed the reward on the other side of the challenge.

Maybe life and business are not so different from cycling. If we hang in there and face the mountain, surround ourselves with great companions, build competency and capacity, we will survive to enjoy the reward on the other side.