By Evan Coulter
Tim Smiley was the best teacher I ever had, and the one that influenced me the most. He was my chemistry teacher at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colorado. He was super smart and he pushed his students to excel. Learning from him opened my eyes to so many things.
Tim Smiley later wrote a book, Your Kid’s Too Soft: Welcome to the Old School. In it, he helps parents chart a course for their children that includes developing mental resiliency and expecting success.
I was thinking about Mr. Smiley the other day as I considered success and how to achieve it. And I realized I already knew the secret to success. There are two parts: Step 1 is Show Up. Step 2 is Do the Work.
I realize that these steps seem a bit basic and fairly obvious. But you might be surprised to learn that not everyone has been raised to understand these two steps. For instance, occasionally we run into a situation where despite our best efforts and mentoring, an employee will refuse to show up on time for work day after day. Or we schedule an interview with a potential candidate and they don’t show up at the appointed time.
To succeed, you have to be willing to show up and do the work. You don’t have to be the best at your job, although we hope you will try to be. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. But you do have to accomplish the task before you. This means digging in, dividing the work up into manageable chunks and then sitting down to complete it.
In a small company like UCEC, it’s impossible to hide. Everyone has to work and everyone has to be a part of a high-performing team. I am fortunate that the employees in the UCEC shop want to do a good job for the customer and that they are proud of the electrical control panels we craft.
Show up. Do the work. When parents don’t teach this to their children but instead make excuses for why they didn’t do something, it makes their children’s future work lives that much harder. We look for people who show up and work hard. When that happens, we all win.
Evan is Vice President of Operations at UCEC.