Having a plan is important. Setting goals and then meeting them is essential to living the life of your dreams. But more important than any of that are people.
Winning can be intoxicating. There is a thrill that comes with being able to check a goal off the list. Have you met the guy who, at forty-five, still talks about how great he was as a high-school football player? He remembers what it felt like to win at football, to achieve the goal of out-performing another team. Now he refuses to think of anything else.
I remember the first time I followed through on a budget. I looked back on those thirty days knowing I had achieved everything I set out to and I was at a better place financially because of it. I had won. It was a sweet sensation.
Those first Microsoft investors know what I mean. So do the upcoming champs of the 2011 Super Bowl. If you have ever won at anything you can relate. But even though a focus on winning is important, we can never forget about people. If you do something only to win, you have lost before you start.
There is a Southwest pilot who held a flight for twelve minutes so one man could see his grandson (a must read article). The couple learned their grandson had been murdered and that their daughter was taking him off life support at 9pm the next day. After a night of frantically setting up flights the boy’s grandfather, Mark, showed up at LAX to board a flight that would allow him to see his grandson one last time. The lines were horrible and neither the ticket agents nor the TSA employees cared to listen to his plight. He was going to be miss his flight.When he finally made it through security he ran to the check-in desk. To his amazement, even though he was very late, the door was open and the agents were waiting for him.
“Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.” The anonymous pilot held a plane full of passengers so that Mark could see his son. The pilot is reported to have told Mark, “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you.”
What an amazing story! Take a second to think of the consequences for the pilot. As one airline blogger put it, “Twelve minutes may not sound like a lot to you or me, but every second counts when you’re an airline. Southwest can turn an entire plane around in about 20 minutes, so 12 minutes is half an eternity.”
The pilot may have been chewed out by someone (not least of all the other passengers). He could have easily justified leaving on time for business reasons (his decision would mess up other flights). Instead, he realized that Mark seeing his grandson was more important than leaving on time.
I want you to achieve your dreams. I want you to make a list of goals and see them all checked off one by one. I want you to build a business, to raise a family, to travel the world, to achieve whatever it is your heart desires. But as you see opportunities to check off goals, never do it at the expense of someone else.
People are why we do this. You are why I do this.