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I hear it all the time. “How’s your business?” “I dunno man, we’ve just kinda plateaued.” Okay. “How’s your marriage?” “We’re really in a rut right now.” Hmm. “How’s that new project/initiative coming along?” “It’s pretty much stalled at this point.” Sure. The underlying assumption is that if things aren’t progressing, moving forward, or getting better then they are simply at a standstill, as good or bad as they were the day things quit moving forward. As if static is even an option. It’s not.

If your business isn’t growing, getting healthier, getting better then it is moving in the opposite direction. If your marriage isn’t getting stronger, more vibrant, with more intimacy then it is trending the other way. If that new project or initiative isn’t getting any traction then it is on its way to the junk pile. There’s no easy way to say it, if your business/marriage/initiative isn’t getting better it is getting worse.

A mentor of mine recently hit his 80th birthday. In a recent small gathering of friends, he took some time to talk about what he has learned along the way. For decades this individual was a high profile leader of large organizations. He has written dozens of books, mostly on leadership, traveled all over the world speaking to groups of up to 100,000 people, and counseled both Presidents and foreign dignitaries. The scale of his influence would be difficult to quantify. He has aged gracefully but has not escaped without his fair share of wounds and the scars to prove it.

He reflected on a season in which he made a very public mistake and the subsequent fall out for him and his family. In some circles, his reputation was forever tarnished. He experienced, first hand, the fragility of success.