Yard Work

By Mark Inboden

Growing up, my friend Steve and I had a lawn mowing business. Every morning, we would load our commercial mowers into Steve’s station wagon (he was several years older than me and could drive) and we would mow 10-12 lawns per day. We were mowing close to 60 yards per week during our peak years. We learned a lot about scheduling, interacting with customers and even collecting our money. We learned that when it rained, we had to work double the next day to clear our backlog. We learned a lot.

Mark Inboden

Mark Inboden

Almost 40 years later, I realized what an important part of my life mowing lawns was, and still is today. I still mow my own lawn at home, and as recently as this week, I was tasked with mowing the lawn at work. Those one to two hours of  “focused work” mean a lot to me for several reasons.

One, as a business leader or owner, your job is never ending. You may work 12 hours one day, four the next, but you never really stop “working” on your business. You do not have a 9-5 job. Mowing the lawn allows you to “complete” a task, and get re-energized.

Two, (and this might sound kind of  “granola” like,) but you get reconnected to the earth. My thoughts often turn to those younger years, and I think of the people I met and worked for. I don’t know if it is the smell of cut grass, but I remember those days and people vividly. I find this really powerful and invigorating, and realize that a lot of nice people made a positive impact on my life.

Third, how proud we felt when people complimented us on our work. The pride people had in their homes and yards made us feel like they were our lawns, too. I look at the panels the UCEC team makes, and I see that same pride in their work at UCEC.

As you go about your “chores” this weekend, remember some of the jobs you had as a kid, and what was important and memorable back then. You might find some “lost treasure” or values that you can bring back to work on Monday. Next week could be your best week ever.

Mark is the President and CEO of UCEC. 


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