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Lessons Learned in 2009


Each December, I like to reflect on the previous year's challenges and triumphs as I prepare my goals for the following year.  2009 will likely go down as one of my most challenging years.  While not without considerable triumphs, this past year had it share of challenges, as the AG Salesworks team navigated through uncharted economic times.

The three major categories I like to look at are business, personal, and family.

A few business lessons:

  • Live within your means. Luckily, I have always been pretty responsible in this area. Even so, I learned that I could have done much better. Some things that seem like a must have when times are good, turn out to really be a nice to have. Don't get me wrong, I love nice things, and believe they can add considerable value to our day to day. It's the waste that I can not stand. I love efficiency; it lets me have more resources for the nice things.
  • Plan ahead. We can never know what the future will bring, but we can make and educated guess and prepare for the worst. I don't do this because I am pessimistic; I do it for piece of mind. Kind of like insurance, having the resources to weather a challenging year or two can make the difference between dying, just surviving and thriving.
  • Don't over leverage. Borrowing is useful and necessary, but, as we have all learned this year, too much of a good thing can bring tremendous pain when the bill comes due. Use debt responsibly. There is a very good chance that if you don't have the money in the bank you can't, and shouldn't afford it.

On the personal side of things, I believe that exercise is critically important not only physical health but also mental health.  In order to perform under pressure and stress most effectively, you need to let your body perform physically.  I pushed myself harder physically this year than ever before.  That reminds me, I need to get a workout in today, I've been slacking a bit lately.

Family is what makes it all worth while, prior to becoming a Dad; I could not have imagined how fulfilling that role would be for me.  I count my blessings every day for my beautiful, loving family.

Richard April, our VP of Marketing Services, told me a story last week over lunch.  We were discussing family and what our expectations were prior to having kids.  Richard told me about a conversation he had with a good friend of his.  Richard told his friend "Sometimes I worry about bringing children into this crazy, sometimes even scary world."  His friend offered what I thought was very inspirational optimistic advice.  He said "The fact that you would be so concerned Richard, all but guarantees you will raise your children to be wonderful people who will make this world a better place."

So, all the lessons in the world are great, but if we don't learn from them and pass them on to our families, friends and co-workers they will have been wasted.  I hate waste. Be efficient, pass you knowledge on and help the people around you.
In my next blog I will write about my specific plans to put the lessons I learned in 2009 to good use.


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