There is a sign hanging at my local barbershop. It reads, “We give three kinds of haircuts here: good, fast, and cheap. If it is fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it is good and cheap, it won’t be fast. And if it is good and fast, it won’t be cheap.”
One of my favorite quotes/speeches comes from our 26th President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt. His “man in the arena” speech was given after he left the Presidency in 1910 during a visit to Paris. It is too long to recite in its entirety here, but it begins like this:
One of the less reported sports stories of 2018 involved a marathon runner from Kenya named Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge has dominated the sport in recent years, and back in the fall he set a new world record in the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 39 seconds. Similar to the four-minute mile barrier that nobody believed was possible until Roger Bannister eclipsed it in back in 1954, the two-hour marathon is a mythical number that until now, nobody thought was possible. Now it seems this incredible runner from Kenya has it within his sights. Maybe 2019 will be the year he breaks it!
My business card reads Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In my heart, though, I am still the territory sales representative I was at the beginning of my career. Sitting in front of a customer and making my pitch is what has driven me for 29 years at Dixon. For that reason, you might think that US Manufacturing Day, which we celebrate on October 5th this year, would have less meaning to me than others at Dixon. Plant managers, machine operators, and maintenance supervisors spend their days “manufacturing” – turning castings into finished parts, repairing and maintaining machines, and producing Dixon products. I just sell what they make.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said, “It’s never too late, or too early, to be whatever you want to be. You can change or you can stay the same. There are no rules.”
It is this time of the year when we always search for inspiration, something that will allow us to follow through on the goals we have set and the resolutions we have made. But before we wipe the slate clean and look ahead, this is also the time of year for self-reflection. What worked well for me last year? What can I learn from the mistakes that I made? Who did I influence and who influenced me?
Personally, we should always take time for self-reflection. We can learn. We can grow. We can improve.
55,000 manufacturing jobs were added in the U.S. in the first half of this year, according to an online article by CNN Money on July 3rd. Manufacturing jobs boost the economy and lower the unemployment rates, as well as contribute to a feeling of patriotism in our country. It’s true. We take pride in the “Made in the USA” labels we see on goods, and feel good when we support U.S. manufacturing by purchasing those products.
Many times, instead of paying someone to perform a task for us, we make the decision to do it ourselves to save time, and maybe a few dollars. We live in a D-I-Y society, after all. However, just because we can do it doesn’t mean that we should or that we are even remotely qualified to do so.