Getting Up from Nay-sayers

Photo from Engility Corp

I continue my monthly blog series based on US Figure Skating’s popular “Get Up” campaign which shares the message that life, like the ice, is hard, and we can certainly fall on it. But the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become.

For September, I address one of the most insidious challenges we can all face in many aspects of our lives that we may need to “get up” from … Nay-sayers. These are people who tell us what we cannot do – that we are not talented enough, not smart enough, too fat, too lazy … whatever it may be, these are people who write us off for not being able to achieve our goals. These nay-sayers may include:
• Enemies and detractors who are trying to put us down
• Well meaning friends who are trying to give us advice
• Negative people who only have negative things to share about any subject
• Teachers, parents, coaches …. Various people in leadership roles in our lives
• And even sometimes our own internal voices.

But a word of warning …. We do need to discern when some of the negative advice we get is a professional opinion that we may need to heed. If we have a concussion and our physician tells us we cannot skate for three weeks, we best stay of the ice. However, in many cases we just need to “get up” and determine that with hard work, we can achieve our goals and prove the naysayers wrong.

I am reminded that Michelle Daichman, who was featured in one of my earlier blogs about getting up from injury and illness, shared that she was reminded by her Facebook Memories that 9 years ago she going in for her my third knee surgery. She wrote: My doctor made no guarantee that I’d be able to skate again. But I love that I “got up” and proved him wrong, and get to do so every day. This is my “get up story” – never underestimate!

Pat Tyrell Giorgio was determined to get up and continue skating even after a total hip replacement.

Pat Tyrrell Giorgio just wrote me that, almost four years ago, she was diagnosed with Congenital Hip Dysplasia and had Total Hip Replacement at age 60. Her Orthopedic Doctor told her that he didn’t know if she’d be able to skate again, but she sure showed him to be wrong by “getting up” and back on the ice.

A few more suggestions:
• Really think hard and consider if there is some constructive advice in the naysayers words to you that you can apply to help you succeed.
• Determine internally your own goals and the course you want to take – you can be in control of your life.
• Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people who sincerely want you to succeed and help you do so.
• And finally, be a positive influence on the people around you, and don’t be a naysayer yourself.

My previous “Get Up” blogs can be found on my skating video and blogs page.

Six Leadership Insights from a local “Fortune 1000” CEO

C. Howard Nye, President and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials (photo from Martin Marietta Materials web site)

I continue to enjoy the quarterly C-Suite Perspectives Sessions offered by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce that brings in top executive leaders to share their insights. The June, 2017 meeting featured the President and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials, C. Howard Nye. Martin Marietta is current #607 on the Fortune 500 list and also one of their “Top 100 fastest growing companies.” Martin Marietta is an American-based company and a leading supplier of building materials, supplying the resources necessary for building the solid foundations on which our communities thrive.

As in past C-Suite Perspective Session, Mr. Nye did provide an overview of the value and executable components of their strategy that has led to their ongoing growth and success. For Martin Marietta, these include operational excellence, customer satisfaction, focus on cost drivers and sustainable growth. But beyond these (and truthfully, all organizations have lofty and well-stated values and goals) I am keen to what Mr. Nye shares from his own personal story of leadership and career growth.

My Nye emphasized the importance of building and nurturing an excellent team, and that starts with him as the president and CEO being accessible and visible, especially during difficult times; leading by example; and consistency of message and actions.

Martin Marietta Materials is one of the USA’s leading suppliers of raw materials for road construction. (Photo from the Martin Marietta web site)

The lessons Mr. Nye shared about his own professional journey include:

1) Life and work will often go in unimaginable directions. Embrace this and think constructively.

2) The importance of understanding and relying on your own personal characteristics. For Mr. Nye, these included hard work, creativity and character.

3) Friends and colleagues are critical to your life and career … choose carefully.

4) Know when you are in the right place at the right time, and that includes difficult times. Don’t despair in these difficult times as they may present excellent opportunities to shine.

5) Building a shared set of values, knowing that real values do resonate with the younger generation who are now entering the workplace.

6) Be patient and just don’t focus on short term goals. Those often shift and move, but optimize for the long haul.

Different leaders have different life journeys and key principles to share, and the more we listen to these interesting and diverse journeys, the more we can learn to assist us with our own career and leadership growth.

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Previous C-Suite Perspectives Leadership Blogs

November 2016: Learning about Leadership through Life – with Duke Energy NC President David Fountain

May 2016: Seven Insights on Leadership, Success and Diversity from Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good

Feb 2015: Raleigh Chamber of Commerce CEO Harvey Schmitt shares about leadership and collaboration

May 2014: Exploring Leadership, Talent Development and Innovation with a Local Senior ABB Executive

March 2014: Leadership Advice from a Senior Lenovo Executive