Friday, January 14, 2011

Unlocking better habits is like winding a watch

Unlocking the blue door for the last time.
I pulled out an old watch I hadn't worn in a decade. The time on it's tiny face had stopped. I threw it in my pocket and at lunch dropped into the local jeweler to buy a battery to get it revved up again. The jeweler grinned and fiddled with the watch. "It doesn't have a battery. It's the wind up kind."

My head came up sharply and felt my face flush. I eyed him. He didn't smirk or comment on what an idiot it was to visit his establishment. He gazed down at the work at hand and rolled his thumb and forefinger over the tiny gold button-gear. When the watch was ticking solidly he handed it back.

I left the store and stopped at the corner before crossing Evergreen Boulevard and paused. How much of life do I expect to happen automatically? How much do I take for granted because it takes so little effort, takes nothing more than a sliver of metal that converts the chemical energy contained in its active materials into electrical energy that performs phenomenal tasks?

I take too much for granted.

One of the things I took for granted is the phenomenal team I worked with at the paper. On my final day, I bemoaned the fact that I hadn't praised enough, hadn't acknowledge the many simple and complex tasks people did to make the company a success.

I made my confession during my exit interview and the human resources manager didn't criticize or add fuel to the fire of my personal guilt. She simply said, "Take the learning experience forward, and do it better."

I think if we're smart and attentive we can learn from the mistakes of others. There isn't a need for all of us to make the same mistakes. So, turn to the person next to you and think about something that they do to make a difference in your company, in your community, or in your life.

Tell them.

Say it sincerely.

Unlocking better habits is like winding a watch. You have to do it everyday. If you don't, your watch or your good habits stop. There is no battery of life to keep you on track and ticking except your own desire.

So, to my phenomenal team, who pursues their dreams in a great media company, I say, "No one can do what you do as well as you. You are the best. I'm so glad I had a chance to work with you.

"You made me better."