My Adult birthday is November 3rd. Many of you know this already. It is the day I was cured of cancer way way back in 1993 while at Boston University. I have given speeches on how it changed my life (http://vimeo.com/50574223). This November 3rd I thought I would celebrate and take the family to a super nice hotel for the night and hang out at the pool/beach on the 4th just relaxing and living in the moment. All was going to plan until a little after dinner. At around 8pm my 5 year old started crying and almost immediately threw up. 40 minutes later my 3 year old did the same. Since Jen and I had Brinley (our six week old daughter with us) we decided I would take flu duty and she would shield the baby. At around 1am I was getting pretty exhausted and I told Jen I would trade with her at 2am in hopes they would be sleeping by then. My oldest (who was sleeping on a chair since he did not want to be next to the sickos) decided since a side of the big bed was vacated, he would take that. As I sat in the chair, head on my hands, waiting to grab my three year old ever 25 minutes before he threw up in the bed and get him to a bathroom –
I decided my adult birthday was sucking.
Nothing was going to plan. The kids had not had the flu in a couple years and of all the days to get it, they got it Nov 3rd. I figured life was trying to teach me a lesson but I was struggling to figure it out. So as the clock crept closer to 2am, I was getting pretty worn out. Trevor got sick again and I checked my phone for the time knowing it was after 2. The clock said 1:07am. I was in the fricking twilight zone. I thought maybe I had dozed off and lost track of time or how somehow been confused.
Then is hit me – daylight savings. And extra hour of sleep!!! No wait, and extra hour of puke duty. Crap. At the new 2am I crashed. A couple of days passed and I was supposed to go to San Francisco for a meeting with an important client to discuss our Human Capital Services (specifically ScaleThem). At 9pm the night before the trip, my superhero wife who never gets sick, gives me a look that had a bit of a greenish tint to it. I take the baby, she goes upstairs, and I start getting bottles ready, make lunches for the kids for school, and get ready for a long night. In all my fatherly experience, I can’t recall having a 7 week old to myself all night. We slept in the guestroom and I gave her two bottles, she snuggled in close to me all night and even slept a little. I woke up a little tired…The other 3 kids were up early and the day rushed by as I tried to do the best I could with all the chaos 4 children cause. I once again have a new appreciation for my wife…
I sit here tonight writing because I have been thinking so much about work, living in the moment, appreciating what we have, and wondering why things don’t always work out the way you want them to. You see for me, for some reason, with my family – the choices are very clear cut. If Jen is down, I pick up the slack. She would do the same and does most every day. We protect the youngest and most fragile from things that could hurt her. We nurse each other back to health. We do not think about whether we will overcome setbacks, we just keep overcoming them.
I think I figured out what I was supposed to figure out. First off, though we got sick, they are all getting better now. Sometimes, if we let them, these little threats to our health help us to see the forest through the trees. We support each other, we care for each other, we help each other. Without knowing life is fragile, it is easy to forget or ignore these simple tenants most all families hold dear in times of trouble.
How does this differ from my Trace3 family? Does it need to? You see Jen and I do not question each other’s level of effort. Therefore we are a team. Each gives their best so regardless of flaws we support each other. Imagine a company working like that. A company with insanely high standards of hiring whose peers knew the person next to them was giving their best, supporting the clients, and helping our partners.
You see Trace3 had made plans just like I did that fateful Nov 3rd. Some of those plans came to fruition and some got challenged. Some keep getting challenged. Ask yourself, did we respond like a close-knit family, or like a corporation with divisions? I cannot answer for you. I am trying to make you aware that you are making a choice everyday. I want to make it a conscious choice. A choice with only one option.
I can tell you we are talking about it. I had leadership meetings with the divisions, executives, and General Managers. We are talking about these types of topics. About operating as units that support ALL initiatives versus a specific individual. We analyzed why 3 years ago LA and Denver were low performers and why they are now half the company’s revenue. Half!!!(nice work btw)
We talked about acceptance of new initiatives that drive value. Value to our 3 critical clients: Employees, Clients, Partners. In pockets I see families operating with a value system. Those families at Trace3 are excelling. Exceling in a big way.
We broke every record in October. We shipped over $37,000,000 in revenue. Best month ever…In October?!?! Best months at Trace3 are usually reserved for December, March or April. October was also the best mix of bookings in company history. Product, Services, Education. When you think mix…think VALUE. Think staying power. Education has its best month by over 40% with only 5 people in the regions actively talking to clients about the offerings. Think of our potential. Think if everyone acted on all the initiatives the company has put forth to drive value for our clients. We will narrow those offering next year to make that even easier. The service offerings catalog getting published this month is an example of that.
This is what I see. I see an organization that was sick a year ago, then before we healed up, we got sick again. This sickness was not even close to life threatening. In fact, most companies would not even know anything was wrong. I knew. And I knew it was something that needed serious determination and teamwork to overcome. A little November 3rd test.
Know this – there will be times of health and sickness in front of us. We are about to start feeling pretty good about ourselves, but let us always remember the kind of family we want to be. The kind that regardless of health focuses on supporting each other as if it were the only option. We are not a division, or a mini-district, or an individual. We are a group of hand picked people striving. Striving to create something very special that brings VALUE to the market and VALUE to our families.
Help the young/new people get healthy. Cover for each other in times of need. When sick Recover together. Thrive together. 2012 will go down as a legendary year for Trace3. So much change. It is the year we figured out who we wanted to be when we grew up and actually had the balls to challenge the status quo and make the changes to make our future possible. Most companies NEVER do that. We just did it. There will be so much less change next year for the course is now set. But there may be a time again we need to do it. We will look to 2012 and know anything is possible. I am proud to be a part of this family.