Pursue Your Potential


Good morning team. Workshop Wednesday. So here we go. I wanted to talk to you about competency and I kind of want to ask you a question. I think I know the answer but let me just ask.

How many of you would like to make seventy-five dollars an hour? Seventy-five dollars an hour. That’s about a hundred fifty-six thousand dollars a year. I imagine a lot of you are raising your hands right now. What about $125,000 a year? That’s over $250,000 a year. So what does it take to get there? Well, I think the answer is it takes being excellent at what you do right now.

Mastering and becoming excellent at the small things.

I’ll give you an example. I started out many, many, many years ago working in an A&W root beer establishment. Yup, I was an A&W root beer guy. I was in the eighth grade. This was in the 80s. I had a mullet. Those of you are now trying to picture that. I worked for a dollar eighty-two an hour. A buck eighty-two. Now, minimum wage at the time was like three dollars and twelve cents, I think. But I was making a buck eight-two.

Now some of you are saying, “Well, that’s not fair.”

Well, I was only 13 years old. I wasn’t even 14 yet. I was going to turn 14 in July and I got the job in May. Just as school got out in the first part of June. So they had this thing in California where I grew up that if you were 16 you got minimum wage. If you were under 16 years of age then places could hire you but they could pay you what they called student wage which was a reduced rate.

So I was mucking floors, I was mopping, I was sweeping, I was carrying stuff. I was stocking shelves and stuff. bringing I got to make root beer. Yeah, I know how to make root beer. Believe it or not. To make the root beer syrup is pretty amazing. It’s one hundred twenty pounds of sugar, three gallons of syrup, and fifteen gallons of water. One hundred twenty gallons, fifteen gallons plus the three gallons so you literally have all that sugar and stuff. And you make that syrup up and then it goes through the carbonation process and everything and then you get your root beer float. A buck eight-two an hour but my dream and vision that summer was to be able to start dunking fries. Learning how to use the grill.

I had to dream, right?

So the next summer when I was 14, I really wanted to wear that big bear suit. You know the root beer guy, the mascot, the A&W root beer guy. So I was 14 years old just about to turn 15 and for the fair in August…in California, in August. I got to be the root beer guy. That’s right and I got to be that guy.

Be careful what you wish for sometimes. I worked hard. I got a pay raise, I think I was making like two dollars and 20 cents or something an hour. It was awesome. I had more money than every other 14/15-year-old kid and well, there you have it. Next thing you know bam I’m the root beer guy at 103 degrees. I probably weighed about ninety-two pounds and I was probably about five foot seven at the time. I was just getting into my growth spurt and oh my god, it was hot. So be careful what you wish for because I got to be the root beer guy in 130 degrees heat. So I was probably about 139 degrees inside that suit.

My point is to be excellent in the small things because everything along the way going all the way back to having a paper route when I was nine years old and getting up and rolling papers and taking them out delivering them and picking up the money to sweeping and mopping floors and plunging toilets and wearing the root beer suit going up through life joining the Marine Corps and doing everything that I did with excellence in mind. I didn’t compare myself to other people.

I compared myself to my potential of who I could be and what I wanted to be.

And I continued to advance and grow. Did I get taken advantage of? Oh, absolutely. Did I make mistakes? Thousands of them. Did I stay humble? Did I learn from my mistakes? Yes, and I continued to march forward.

When I got taken advantage of from a job instead of taking that hurt and frustration to the next job and having an “I don’t want to try hard here” mentality because my last job took advantage of me. I continued to have integrity and I continued to drive forward and it’s that process that continued to lift me up to bigger and better things. I did not get to where I am today by doing it with a mediocre mindset, I did it by putting forth the best effort I had.

So how do you advance? By being excellent at everything you do. You want to be a corporal? You want to be a sergeant in Northwest Enforcement? Do you want to be part of the leadership class? Do you want to move up?

Be excellent at where you are today.

Have integrity. Show value to yourself and to your family. To your co-workers, to your community. Drive hard. Nobody can take that away from you. Even if somebody takes advantage of you. I hope that you don’t feel that we would ever do that. And I hope that we never do make you feel that way. But ultimately no matter what you’re building you – not me.

You’re not building Northwest Enforcement. Yes, Northwest Enforcement gets built on men and women of integrity and hard work, and ethics but ultimately you are always doing everything you do for yourself. When you do something for Northwest Enforcement, you’re still doing it for you. You are growing. You are excelling in the small little things, in the hard things, and in the perseverance things. And you are putting forth with pain, with pressure. You are driving forward and advancing yourself toward excellence.

No matter how high you climb in the corporate sector, you will always climb higher in the individual ethic sector.

It will pay off eventually. That I promise you because I know it. I have seen it. I have been it and I see it in others. As a leader, I’m always looking for people that are looking to climb. Not above their neighbor but above themselves, their own potential. Are you willing to do what it takes to sacrifice to accomplish your potential? Not to be better than Tom, Dick, or Harry…Sally, Susie, and Shelley. My point is are you willing to advance excellence for you and your potential? Not to beat out somebody else or their potential.

All right. That’s just my Workshop Wednesday on potential. A little bit of a tidbit of advice long term. Focus on your potential. I love you guys. God bless and I’ll see you next Wednesday. Bye, see ya!