As my friend, Dave Kahle said, “An unshakable work ethic” is the foundation for success. “Work” is to business as the back-bone is to the body. By Gary Shotton #000034
Value Of Work
By Gary Shotton
Hello, my name is Gary Shotton, and I’m sitting here at my brother-in-law’s ranch and farm. You can see behind me some alfalfa fields, and today I want to talk about the value of work. This is part of a series of what I’m calling “My Dad,” things my dad taught me, and I hope it’s meaningful to you. I’ll never appear to be like overworked, or anything like a slave, or anything like abused. I mean, it wasn’t even close to any of that. I mean, when I was a youngster, we wanted to work. It was somehow instilled into our being, into the way our family operated. My dad always got up early in the morning, went to work, worked all day, worked into the evening. It was a pattern that was set before us, and so probably the biggest challenge with some people like that, is that we don’t become workaholics. So, I got to just emphasize that I’m very proud that I learned the value of work. As a young boy, that meant drive a tractor. I’m here on a farm, and this is not our farm like I said, it’s my brother-in-law’s farm, but we drove a tractor from when we were like 11 and 12 years old.
11-year-old could be easily a hundred and twenty pounds, well able to drive, well able to think, not abused. We would drive a lot of times 10, or 11, 12 hours a day. Not maybe at 12 years old, but sure by the time we’re 14, we drive long hours. But we had an umbrella and we had protection. It wasn’t always the prettiest, but that’s what we knew, it was just the value of work. You know, that one thing has been so beneficial, and as it happened, we would work by driving a tractor, and it was a joy to us. We got paid, and if we didn’t drive a tractor, it seems like we got stuck helping mom in the garden, or doing some laundry, or sweeping and back vacuuming the house. So, you see, there’s some psychology going there. We also helped brand cattle. It was very common for us, even by us as a single person just by ourselves to put cattle down the squeeze chute, and jump over the squeeze chute and push them into a squeeze pin and brand them with our brand, and dehorn, and take care of the necessary things.
So, these kinds of things just were imperatively positive in our life. And, I don’t know who’s listening to this, but you know if you weren’t picked, if you haven’t picked up that value of work, you’ve got to do that. There’s just no way around it. Again, not a workaholic, not overworked, not a slave, not none of that. But you have to be willing to dig in and do what’s got to be done without hesitation, or griping, or being disappointed. Sure, you may not like it, but you’ve got to learn to do that without hesitation. Other examples are when I went on my first job. I went to my first job, it wasn’t well organized, everything wasn’t laid out, I was the first engineer for this plant. This oil company had me out in a management mode, and I dug in, I dug in, I put in more time. I worked hard for that oil company for the first ten years of my career, nine and a half to ten years, and it paid off. They trusted me, they knew I wasn’t loafing, they knew I was not there just to collect a paycheck. I was there to work when I’m working. Then again, when I moved to my new town, I was at age 30-ish, 31.
We had three small children, my expectation was to get a nice high paying job, because I had 10 years’ experience with a college degree. It didn’t happen. It just wasn’t a job. And, I used my dad’s horse trainer. There’s an entire story there about how that was provided, and I used what was in my hands, and I learned to load furniture. I’m telling you; it was work. It was hard work. It was discipline work. I had to work from morning to night. There’s sometimes I just can’t believe how many hours I had to put in, in owning my business, and still balance it with my family, and my kids, and church, and things that I had to do. And so, I valued work. I valued work, and I sold that, and I’m now owner of a machine shop. I am the boss. I’m not out there sweating. I’m not carrying a hundred-pound bags. I’m not like a slave again. I’m delegating things I’m managing things, but I’m engaged to that. I’m working towards being more efficient, having better customers, having better employees.
Everything I’m doing kind of stems from the fact that my dad helped me learn early on the value of work, and I’ve seen this in the people that come to work for us. I see people that I think probably didn’t have a dad, I don’t know for sure, but nobody showed them the value of work, and so I’m stuck with trying to not only instill what to be done, and how to get a finished product, and do what we need to do, but I have to now train them the value of work, the importance of being on time, the importance of being diligent while they’re at work, the importance of carrying through with responsibilities, the importance of thinking how to do things better and how to be a problem solver. All these things are tied back to the reality that I learned how to work at a young age, and I am so very happy.
So, on this series about my dad, I think number one is the value of work, and I hope this has helped you. A little redundant maybe for some of you, you probably already understood this, but for those in haven’t, you search yourself and say “Hey am I ready to dig in?” Rule of thumb that I had, was if I was reporting at a certain time. I would try to come at least 15 minutes early, and I would try to stay 15 to 20 minutes later than expected at every single job I have ever done. And, didn’t always happen that way, but that was my goal, and during that entire time I was diligent in doing what I thought needed to be done, or what I was told needed to be done, and I was thinking on my feet. I was using not just my body, but I was using my brain, and I think if you’ll do that, you’ll exceed in business. Thank you.
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