The wind has died down and the white caps have subsided, turning the lake into a rolling blanket of wrinkles. The morning sun is burning hot and the only sound is the faint idle of the four-stroke motor that gently pushes our boat at trolling speed. Not much has been said for a while, as if we had decided not to speak. Moments like these provide plenty of time for reflection, for appreciation.
I am first to break the silence, asking Jay if he still works with James, one of my old customers. He replies “Yeah, in fact he and his wife are expecting their tenth child.”
“Wow,” I remark, “you don’t hear that much anymore, huh?” This started a conversation about big families.
“My mother-in-law is one of thirteen kids and my uncle had ten kids, but that’s unheard of these days.” Jay comments, “That was back in the good ol’ days.” Silence returns, but finally I ask out loud “How many times do you think the good ol’ days can be lived?” Jay laughs and, glancing towards the water, says “beats me.”
Every one of us has fond memories of “the good ol’ days,” and we can all tell stories that make it seem like those days could never happen again. Like the perfect weekends out on the lake with friends and family, where a day lasted until the final piece of wood in the campfire lost its ember. I tell that story to friends and family now and everyone remarks “what a wonderful time, let’s do it again!” But even if we really do, it just doesn’t compare to our memory … those were good days!
Remember a past when gas prices were under a dollar and the cost of fuel didn’t factor into family trips? Remember that large family gathering one summer at your uncle’s for a cookout and games? Or the time you all stayed on the coast, waking up just in time to see the sun rise out of the water? Or making the first tracks in the fresh snow on a ski trip? How ‘bout a time before cars had smog control devices and electronic fuel injection?
Take your pick, there are literally millions of them to choose from. There is no judge or panel to grade the quality of “those” days.
Focus on the future
How about the good ol’ days when the business world was more stable and predictable, even comfortable? If that seems true, ask yourself “Could I make a living today selling only the tools that were available years ago?” Consider how advancing technology has affected our businesses: we have more products to offer now than anyone could have imagined back then. With so many new tools, it makes you wonder how a slow week could even exist.
Good days in business are created by attitude, effort and consistency. That’s the difference between hanging on to “the good ol’ days” in business and creating new ones.
If we can to stay focused on creating instead of reliving or recreating, then there are definitely many good days ahead. That’s why I said to Jay, “You know, the good ol’ days really can be lived multiple times!”