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Man in the Mirror

Rediscover your original inspiration for going into business

Originally published
Originally published: 8/1/2023

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, 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 thousands of answers to that question.

Is This the Company I Envisioned?

Obviously, this article is intended for those who have lost a little spring in their step. Becoming focused, inspired, and motivated 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 the company I have today?  What do “I” want? Yes, it’s okay to ask that question. Maybe the best summary of the questions to ask yourself is contained within a quote by Dale Carnegie, who said, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

Rediscovering ‘The Edge’

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”, 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.”

In the coming months, I’d like to share more on this topic. I believe the poem, “The Man in the Glass” is an appropriate opener to the series. 

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.

It’s never too early or too late to address your original drive for going into business. It’s also okay to ask yourself, “Do I still want the same things, and do I like the man in the glass?”

This article was originally published in July of 2013. 

Terry Tanker is the owner of JFT Properties LLC and publisher of HVACR Business magazine. He has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming JFT Properties LLC in January 2006 he spent 20 years with a large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI NATE and ABMA

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