Lessons Learned

By Fred Kusch  

Every now and then I sit down and take a moment to reflect on past experiences and opportunities. Those moments, as well as time spent with hundreds of clients, a ton of reading, and the observation of numerous different work environments, have given me the fodder for this article. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “Giving advice is like kissing; it doesn’t cost anything and it is a pleasant thing to do.” This is certainly true enough. I humbly hope you will consider the practical thoughts that follow. You may discover a humorous lesson that will bring a smile to your face. You might even unearth a few sage legacies. Please view them as an opportunity for reflection, food for thought or maybe even as a provocation. 

Here goes: 

  • I’ve learned that life is a celebration and too many people don’t take time to enjoy the party. 
  • I’ve learned that no matter how old they are or how far away they may be, you’ll never stop wanting to be there for your children. 
  • I’ve learned that if work isn’t fun, it’s work. 
  • I’ve learned that if I die broke, the time will be right. 
  • I’ve learned that flipping channels isn’t such an annoyance if I have the remote control. 
  • I’ve learned that an afternoon in the garden is better than an afternoon with a therapist. 
  • I’ve learned dogs are the best example of unconditional love that I know. 
  • I’ve learned that you’re never too old to learn from “Sesame Street” how to put things in perspective. 
  • I’ve learned from my grandmother that there is no such thing as a bad experience unless you are too stupid to learn from it. 
  • I’ve learned that there is no honesty like the honesty of a young child. 
  • I’ve learned that just because people have credentials, they don’t know everything—even if they think they do.
  • I’ve learned that the real strength of any organization lies with the rank and file employees who pave the way for the credentialed and titled. 
  • I’ve learned that people desire respect, kindness and consideration. When they get it, they will do all they can to make an organization successful. 
  • I’ve learned, much to my dismay, that power still corrupts. 
  • I’ve learned that people who have vision and are able to share that vision can go to the edge, where the greatest successes lie. 
  • I’ve learned that leaders who believe that “working to live” is the best approach also know that family and health come first. 
  • I know my mom will always be one of my heroes. 
  • I know that I didn’t tell my dad often enough how much he meant to me and how much I loved him before he died.
  • I’ve learned that the strength of any organization will ultimately be determined by the commitment leadership has for all its employees to be continuous learners. 
  • I’ve learned that if you are in a relationship with someone who no longer believes in you, you should get out before you stop believing in yourself. 
  • I’ve learned that the most successful leaders give most of the credit for that success to their colleagues. 
  • I know my mom was right—saying “please” and “thank you” when working with others is still the right thing to do. 
  • I’ve learned that unless you have passion for what you do, you shouldn’t do it. 
  • I’ve learned that your best friend will tell you that you’re “full of it” when you are. 
  • I’ve learned that the computer is my friend, most of the time. 
  • I’ve learned money doesn’t buy class. 
  • I’ve learned that Helen Keller was right, “If life is not a glorious adventure and wonderful celebration, it is nothing at all.”
  • Finally, I’ve learned that, just like kids, moms and dads sleep much better if they have a hug and a kiss before going to bed.

Fred Kusch, president and CEO of JFK Associates, is a well-known speaker, author, consultant and business coach. For more information, visit jfkassociates.com.