Recently throughout the country many young adults completed their high school and college careers with a graduation ceremony. These ceremonies represent the culmination of years of hard work by not only the students but the families and teachers as well. Although the ceremonies are typically simple in structure they can sometimes be deep in substance. The ceremonies often have special music and key note speakers. These are nice for the graduates, but I usually enjoy hearing from the students themselves. It is common to hear a speech from the valedictorian, salutatorian as well as the senior class president. I want to hear what they have to say about their experience and about their future.
I was thrilled that this year at our local high school my son was the senior class president and I got the opportunity to hear his thoughts in speech in front of his faculty, friends and my peers. I was very proud that, not only do I believe he did a good job, but I was very impressed with his message. I was proud because I believe he showed a glimpse of why I believe he will be successful in the future. His underlying message, beyond the typical message of the class separating and moving, on was quite simple. His speech centered around the theme of stepping out in courage and taking risks. He used phrases such as “seize every opportunity” and re-emphasizing this by stating they need to “maintain a Carpe diem mentality”. While stating to his classmates that biggest regrets in life are the opportunities we are too scared to take advantage of and the decisions we take too long to make.
When he was on the wrestling team his senior year he wrestled up a weight class. He should have been in the 215 weight class but he wrestled up a weight class in the heavy weight class. He often faced opponents 50-70 lbs heavier. Often I have heard him make a comment during that year, “Sometimes you have to risk it for the biscuit.” Often he said this with a determined smile. He kept that mantra throughout not only sports but other challenges as well. There were many times he was successful after taking risks and sometimes not. However, every time he took a risk and faced a challenge he grew from it.
I feel that I learned from my son that day and I hope that others do as well. In our careers we have to take on risks and challenges to grow. Haggard & Stocking has often moved into new markets or new areas, these were always a calculated risk. We weren’t always successful but our company grew from it. I believe we all need to reach out, step up and take risks learn from them and move on. If we don’t we will become stagnate and our successes will be minimal. I believe that we, as a company, and our employees are willing to try different things and take that extra step for our customers. For that I am thankful and proud of our team.
Risks and chances even those that are calculated can be scary. I will leave you with the quote my son closed his speech with from the movie, “We Bought a Zoo”. In it Matt Damon’s character said, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.”
-Jeff Haggard, VP of Sales