January 1, 1984 marked my first day as a district sales manager in the security industry. I was given the task of growing sales in the steel belt region of western Pennsylvania, northern Ohio and western New York – all while steel plants were closing at a record pace. I learned early on that optimism is more contagious than pessimism.
During that decade and the years that followed, I have had the honor to work with incredible mentors, peers and some truly awesome people from all walks of life. I have boiled down my observations to three key qualities that help to define a complete person – not just in business, but in life. These are traits that I aspire to. Looking forward, these characteristics continue to drive me every day to improve myself.
Be Trustworthy. As a teenager, I was asked to caddie for Gene Littler at a Pro-Am golf tournament. This was “Gene the Machine’s” first tourney after recovering from cancer surgery. He was considered golfing royalty and I was overwhelmed by the honor. The caddie master who gave me the assignment told me that the reason I had been selected for this job was simple - I had earned his trust. To this day, I have never forgotten that moment.
Being trustworthy is a building block attribute. It is a paramount trait for anyone in life and work. If you are trusted, then you are considered to have integrity and competency, and are respected as a responsible “go-to” person. Being considered trustworthy by your peers and managers is essential in building relationships. Trustworthiness is rooted in consistency. Once people lose trust in you or your ability, it’s very hard to earn it back.
Be Inspiring. Have you ever had a conversation with someone, perhaps a peer or a manager, and walked away feeling better than when the conversation started? Have you ever just watched someone work or interact with others and walked away feeling more positive? Inspiration is the trait that draws attention – that draws others to you and makes them feel invested. Whether for thought leadership, friendship, or just motivating others by action and virtue, being inspirational is an essential characteristic. One of my favorite quotes on inspiration comes from Dr. Martin Luther King. He wrote, “if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” What more is there to say? Inspiration with a dose of humility; what could be better?
Be Passionate. To me, passion is the elixir of life, the special sauce, the DNA marker that binds vision with purpose. Nothing in life or work or leadership is more important than passion. If you don’t have passion about what you’re doing, it’s probably time to chart a new direction. Unlike trustworthiness and inspiration, passion has the distinction of being a much more visible attribute. People who are passionate about something are rarely subtle about it, whether it is about their work, their love of life or even their political affiliation. One of my favorite quotes on passion is from Nelson Mandela who said, “There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Find your passion!”
Tens of thousands of books have been written on self-improvement, self-awareness and success. Being trustworthy, inspirational and passionate are clearly not the only qualities that matter when it comes to defining the “total package” of a person. They simply set the stage for even greater opportunities to excel. It is what you DO with those traits that matters most.
Happy New Year! The 2020s are going to be awesome!
Ric McCullough is President of PSA Security Network. Request more info about PSA at www.securityinfowatch.com/10214742