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“If you are not learning, you are not living”

Recently, I took a solo road trip.  It was an impromptu trip, and I could not remember the last time I had taken a solo road trip.  I was headed from the very hot and humid weather of SW Florida to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

winding_mountain_road

There is a lot to think about when you are in the car by yourself.  And I had lots of thoughts, lots and lots of thoughts.  The focus of this trip was to get some down time, but it was also to clear my head of the day –to-day operations of my business and figure out what to write to you, my readers.  If you are reading this blog, you and I are in lock-step sync.  You want to improve; I want to help you improve.   I started this blog because I knew that I had something to say to many of you who are just starting your careers and to some of you who just need a refresher course.  We are in the middle of a series called “Trailblazing”.  The purpose of this series is to identify 5 lost trail-blazing traits.  Our first part was about Basic Human Interaction. We discussed the importance of relating to each other in more traditional ways.  Technology is great, but at the end of the day we have to communicate and relate to each other on the most basic levels.  Our second trait reinforced the importance of customer service and holding subordinates accountable for their part of the customer service piece.

After driving 500 miles (and getting to my destination) I got out of my car and the sweet mountain air hit me and memories came flooding and I instantly was inspired.  My memories of this mountain house  are as old as I am.  I spent almost every child-hood summer in this little mountain town.  The houses are old plantation houses with wrap around porches.  I learned a lot from listening to adults have conversations on that porch.  When I breathed in that first lung full of mountain air, I had it.  I draw the inspiration for this trait from a lesson I learned from my Uncle Lloyd on the porch of that mountain house, just about every summer of my life.

Lloyd E. Jones, Jr. was a retired Lt. Colonel from the army.  After he retired from the Army, he worked for NASA, so suffice it to say, he was a smart guy.  He used every opportunity to teach us, and anybody who would listen.  Even though he was one of the smartest people I have ever known, he was still constantly seeking knowledge.  This, my friends if our 4th trait: “If you are not learning, you are not living”.  It is easy for some of us who are established in our careers to think that we have all the information we need to remain high functioning professionals.

LT-Col-Jones

There is a proponent to this trait that will make you invaluable to your employer.  If you are an hourly employee you should be asking the Shift Manager questions.  Assistant Managers, hit up those General Managers. General Managers, I know sometimes you can be hung out to dry as District Managers are not always around.  However, learn more about your restaurant- always learn the position above you so that when the time comes for somebody to be promoted, your employer knows you are already familiar with that position because you took the time to learn. 

We live in a world where information is flying at us from every angle possible.  At any given time you are fielding phone calls, emails, customer and employee issues all at one time.  You can be tempted to stay stagnant in that spot, but don’t.  Because I really do believe the lesson I learned on that porch in the mountains: If you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. 

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