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Three things

June 10, 2017

Since retiring from the Navy, I’ve had a number of management jobs. When you’re the “new boss,” employees want to know what to expect from you. They want to know what your expectations are of them. When I was on active duty, I had the good fortune to have a number of good department heads and commanding officers. One gave me the formula I still use when I have that first “Hi, I’m the new guy and here’s what I expect” meeting with staff. I like it because it’s simple, easy for me to remember, and it’s true. Here’s what I expect of people who work for me. I expect only three things.

  1. Show up on time, ready to work
  2. Do your job
  3. At the end of the day/shift, go home

That’s it. Sure, each of those can be explained in greater detail (and often should be), but those three things cover everything I expect.

What I’ve noticed lately is that this “three things” approach is applicable to a lot of areas of life. Remember, each of the things on these lists often encapsulate a myriad of concepts, ideas and skills.

I’m not a pilot. My Air Force pilot friend told me flying a plane is easy. He, too, had three rules to remember.

  1. Pushing the stick forward makes the ground bigger
  2. Pulling the stick back makes the ground smaller
  3. Everything else is airspeed

As a life coach, I’m often asked “why don’t I have everything I want socially/financially/professionally/insert area of life? A life coaching colleague gave me this little gem. He said, “In every area of your life, there are three, and only three, reasons you don’t have/achieve what you want.”

  1. You aren’t doing the right things
  2. You aren’t doing the right things long enough, consistently enough
  3. You suck as a person

(It’s important to note each of the three things above can be corrected)

I knew a personal fitness trainer who shared his three rules for how to get in shape. You must regularly

  1. Eat things you may not currently like
  2. Move until you sweat
  3. Push something heavy

A self-defense instructor told me his three rules for avoiding conflict and violence.

  1. Don’t go stupid places
  2. Don’t do stupid things
  3. Don’t hang out with stupid people

So, what “three rules” lists do you have?

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One Comment
  1. Ones that stuck in my head from a TED speech a few years ago about success in business are: Better before cheaper, Revenue before cost, and there is no third rule. 🙂

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