By Brett L. Ward, CFI

What exactly happened to 2018?  I’m going to need proof that it even existed.  I remember my parents often pleading with me to “slow down pal, enjoy the present– your future will get here soon enough.”   Early on I simply wanted to advance without hesitation.  High School couldn’t have moved any slower (yawn).  I just wanted to sign that letter of intent and follow in my Dad’s footsteps of being a collegiate athlete.  It was a great experience until I got hurt – twice – and then had to go to class (emotionally scarring).  Time once again slowed down.  Then I was circling days on a calendar until I could cross that stage, grab that diploma, and sprint into a professional career to surprise my bank with something other than a withdrawal.  Three decades later and all I desire to do is put the brakes on the apparent warp speed time’s moving in now.  Feels like I boarded a bird this past January to go see the team in Chicago for our annual meetings and my return segment landed in the 4th quarter.  Good news is, in my humble opinion, we’re entering into the best two months of the year.   I’m sure many out there reading this, especially in retail, feel slightly different on the subject.  Potentially a handful of you are providing me with an emblem (Chapter 3, Page 2, Bullet Pt #2 – good to know you paid attention in class but not exactly the example we were shooting for), but here me out.   Confession – I LOVE November & December.  Time begins to slow down for me – just for a couple of months.  There’s a sense of accomplishment obtained through besting the challenges of the bulk of the year.  It was a great time for the boy and his old man.  We were thankful for more quality time together as things slowed down at WZ.  Until shipping him off to college, our tradition was to put up our Christmas tree on November 1st (Happy Birthday Mom) and enjoy the serenity it brought us through the holidays.   It felt as if time was more meaningful (crazy talk I know since time is fragile and none is promised). But more importantly, November & December represented a time to reflect on so many (temporarily) shelved blessings, and an opportunity to take the time to remind those important to you how thankful you are for impact they’ve had.

In a time where the world, and certainly the media, have no desire to promote anything positive, we take it upon ourselves to rise above the noise.  The different social media outlets at one point in time were a source of entertainment (remember those days?)  Now I only enter into brief bursts of exposure to the Twitters of the world.  You know, November & December could be a time where we can take 20-30 minutes an evening, slow down, breathe, and focus on the positive.   Be appreciative.  Show gratitude.   Begin again to think about who and what exactly we are thankful for.   I’m certainly not the voice of WZ, but since I am given this platform, I’ll utilize it to speak on behalf of a few things we’re thankful for.

We’re thankful for your trust.   Since 1982 this organization, through its Co-Founders, Partners, and Team, have made an extreme effort to earn your trust through continued growth, listening skills and change.  But all that being said, trust is not given lightly, and we do not take it lightly, and we will continue to earn it each time you allow us the opportunity to work with your team.

We’re thankful for your honest feedback.  The ability to adapt to a room, a meeting, a boardroom, a stage, a negotiation, an evaluation, or a piece of soil very far away is something all professionals desire to do.  On occasion, it’s not that challenging.  On others, it’s not that simple.  We have always been blessed to work for people who showed leadership through brutal honesty.  You can’t repay that.  We’re always going to listen to anyone who feels we do (or don’t) what we can to meet or strive to surpass our own documented fundamentals.  So that we can hold ourselves accountable, we’ve even placed our WZ Fundamentals on our website for continued and welcomed feedback from you:

WZ Fundamental Logo

We’re thankful to be a small part of an industry whose mission is so important – to provide a platform for the Truth.  It’s becoming more obvious every day that in today’s world the Truth takes 2nd fiddle to process and opinion.  We’ll remain steadfast, along with the hundreds of thousands of Military, Federal-State-Local Law Enforcement, Ethics, Legal, HR, ER, LP, AP, Operations & Sales Professionals who have been entrusted to our training and who continue to strive for one goal, and one goal alone – the Truth.

Lastly, some personal “Thank You’s” (In short order form to get you back to your real lives):

  • Thankful to an amazing support team that is second to none – the real muscle behind the curtain of WZ.
  • Thankful for the love of our families who support us in this mission when our absence is often a direct result.
  • Thankful for the dozens of incredibly kind notes post workshops, conferences, consulting jobs, and mentoring sessions reminding us that the flights are worth it.
  • Speaking of said flights, thankful to United Airlines for being consistent.  Because there’s something to be said for consistency.  (Couldn’t resist)
  • Thankful for the opportunity to run WZ’s Private Division for the last decade.  I’m grateful to the over 220+ clients who allow us to work with their teams annually.  It’s so much more than business at this point. For those of you who have allowed me to personally be a part of your team – a humble “Thank You”.  I have enjoyed every single opportunity around the globe.  I know the team echo’s this opinion.
  • Thankful for the reminder every so often when working with leadership in the field, of the few who choose to hire, groom and mentor their teams.  These examples of positive influence are not lost.
  • Thankful for the opportunity to see examples of integrity when no one is looking.  Wise advice was given to me early – “Store your treasure where it counts”.

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes in the coming weeks to tell someone how thankful you are for them.  If you want to prove it – don’t do it with your thumbs.  Do it with a handwritten note, a phone call, or the best version, a surprise visit.   Again, store your treasure where it counts.

On behalf of WZ, wishing you and yours a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving & Christmas Season.