Discover more from Plant Your Flag with Trey Taylor
First Half, Second Half
Those of us in business are completing the first half of 2023. In January of this year, we formulated, articulated and communicated our goals for the year. Some of us did this with rigid precision so that everyone would know where our intentions would direct our actions. Others did it less formally, but no less meaningfully. Wherever one falls on the spectrum, the ones that make the most progress are the ones that aim most clearly for the goal.
It was ever thus. Churchill in wartime, Napoleon in conquest, Jobs in business, Ali in the ring, … the one who sees the end goal with the greatest clarity overcomes the obstacles that preclude its attainment and leads men and women behind him towards the promise.
This is the time of year for reflection. The time that we evaluate how successfully our tactics were at advancing our strategies. As owners, managers and leaders, it’s a time for honest reflection and even more for honest communication. I’m coaching my clients in these weeks to single out the contributors on the team and praise them publicly and in private. I want them to recognize their helpmates, and in recognizing them, appreciate them. For those that have left short the mark, I want them to communicate that, too, but in a way led by the one who didn’t produce, so that the lesson comes first from within.
This is the time of year for adjustments, too. Decisions must be made to do more of what worked, less of what didn’t. For sober reflection on people, what rewards are to be distributed and what separations may have become necessary. These responsibilities don’t appear in the job description, they aren’t preloaded onto Outlook calendars like foreign holidays, but they must take place intentionally.
How was your First Half? What locker room speeches are you making? What adjustments are you sketching out to make sure the Second Half brings you to victory?
“Fire is the test of gold; adversity of strong men.”
This year it was brought to my attention that I am entering the halftime of my life. At 49, one begins to ponder things differently. Thankfully, my friends and mentors are men and women who don’t think in terms of immediate gratification of wants, but in the decades-long process of leaving a legacy for the time in you spent on earth. It has been much on my mind.
The first half of my life (and I use the term loosely but hoping that in saying so, it convinces my Maker to have it be so!), I dedicated myself to Learning and Earning. I have mastered many skills, succumbed to many challenges, had friends and companions on the way. Life for me has been a competition, a striving against for the achievement of desires.
In my youth, I read a novel about dragons. The author gave voice to a very old dragon who affirmed that he had great power — fire could be summoned from his throat, his scales were sharp-edged and never dulled, his unlidded eyes never allowed sleep, and his claws were razors when used. The old dragon mused that these things prevented a comfortable life with others, as the fight was in him at all times and the pains that his powers inflicted on others were a constant for him.
So it has been for me. I’ve lived a life of temperament, preferring always to pit my wits in a battle for being right to lazy, wayward conversation that achieved little. At halftime, I don’t have regrets, but nor do I seek to exit that way through to the end of my life.
I enter then into a period of Returning. I have taken a vow now to love extravagantly those who are on my journey . When my son asked for a vacation together, we went on a Safari trip so profound that we both returned changed forever. It was so important to me that I’ve chosen not to write about it for fear that the magic of what we experienced be dulled into something commonplace. There are more of these experiences to come for us.
All growth means selecting that which works and abandoning that which doesn’t. In the future, I will fight fewer but bigger battles, I think. I have resolved not to waste time in pulling those who won’t be led. I leave them now to their fates and the dictates of their worldviews.
Learning. Earning. Returning. You’ll be hearing more on this as the months go by.