Motivating the Man in the Mirror
Originally published: 07.01.13 by Terry Tanker
Remember the year you became your own boss? The anticipation, the excitement, and the list of things you wanted to accomplish, and probably have? Now think about today. Still feel the same way? Maybe some of you do, maybe some of you don’t. Experiencing those peaks and valleys is human nature and, quite naturally, over time we return to our neutral baseline. A lot has been written about motivating employees – but how do we, as business leaders, motivate ourselves? I’ve been reading a lot about that lately, and there are literally thousands of answers to that question.
Obviously, this article is intended for those who have lost a little spring in their step. Becoming focused, inspired and motivated really isn’t very hard, but you do have to ask yourself a few key questions. What will keep me engaged short- and long-term? Is the company I envisioned actually the company I have today? What do “I” want? Yes, it’s okay to ask that question. Maybe the best summation of the questions you ask yourself is a quote from Dale Carnegie, who said, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”
Recently, I found a wonderful book in my office, given to me years ago, called The Edge – The Guide to Fulfilling Dreams, Maximizing Success and Enjoying a Lifetime of Achievement. It was written by Howard Ferguson. Unfortunately, it’s been out of print for some time. I did do a little research and, if you’re interested, you can still find a few of them on eBay. The book has a lot of great sayings and quotes. Ferguson’s motivation and inspiration were his daughters, Lee and Jackie. The opening paragraph of the dedication page says, “People are inspired by different things and/or different people for different reasons. For me, it was a desire to be someone special to my two daughters – to be able to stand for principles that would be important to them and to be the type of person they could be proud to call their father.”
Over the next few months, I’d like to share with you some of what is contained within The Edge. Considering our topic today, I believe The Man in the Glass is an appropriate opener.
This poem was first published in 1934 by Dale Wimbrow.
The Man in the Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what the man has to say.
For it isn't your father, or mother, or wife,
Whose judgement upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is staring back from the glass.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
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