Focused on the Future
by Kevin Huber, President & CEO
March 29, 2021
As I reflect on the last 12 months, I am reminded that on average it takes 66 days of a behavior change to form a habit. Think about that… 66 days, yet we have all had our behavior disrupted for over 360 days. If you are like me, there are definite changes that you’ve accepted as your “new normal.” Some of these may be positive changes, and some may be ones you hope to change “post-COVID.” Everyone has a story the past year and, just as I am, you are likely fatigued by all the COVID commentary, which is why I want to talk about the future and how I intend to think about it going forward.
I want my future to consist of at least these 5 things:
- Maintaining a strong foundation.
- Focusing on what is truly needed for success.
- Taking care of people.
- Having goals beyond financial success that improve the lives of others.
- Taking risks.
As I sit in my office at University Park, I am watching the new 50-bed post-acute care rehabilitation hospital start construction. The first thing they have done is remove between 6’-10’ of soil and replace it with new soil and base rock that will allow for a much stronger foundation. This reminded me of the importance of a strong foundation. In our lives, I believe that a personal foundation mainly consists of four components: our Family, our Friends, our Faith, and a Good Education. When these components are bound together, they create the basis for a strong foundation. Without a strong foundation, anything we build can crumble.
When I reflect on past learning experiences, I am reminded of when my CFO/CTO for the corporate housing company I sold to Marriott in 1999 was designing a proprietary software for our company with an outside firm. When she presented the preliminary outline and budget, she broke it down into three categories. The first were things we absolutely needed to include, which became our base budget. Next were features that she felt would be nice to have and had the potential to add some value to our services, and that added an incremental increase. The third was what she called the “cool factor” which included features that were not necessarily going to add value, but that would seem cool. Of course, this added a third layer of cost. Since we were running on a tight budget, we chose the features that we needed and the ones that we had confidence would add value. We passed on the “cool factor” features. As I think about my personal and business decisions, I plan to focus on what I need and some things, that by having them, I am confident will add value. I’ll leave the “cool factor” for people cooler than me!
Through the pandemic, we did not layoff any employees, we created a new 401k plan with a safe harbor match, and an improved menu of health benefits. I have had multiple employees pull me aside and thank me for helping them make it through this past year and improve their financial situation. I know in my heart that if one of these people were recruited by another company, unless the opportunity was substantially better than their current situation, they will feel as loyal to us as we feel to them. Taking care of people when they need it will result in them taking care of others when they need it.
Our family has a history of community involvement with a variety of educational, charitable, and community organizations. Some of the most rewarding experiences and relationships we have built are through endeavors that aim to serve others. If your goals are focused only on you, then you will be the only one working on them. When you help others reach their goals, you’d be surprised how you find yourself reaching your own goals along the way. I plan to continue having goals that improve the lives of other people, not expecting anything in return. I have found that when I have done so, the reward is always returned to me in some meaningful way.
Finally, I believe that taking risks is part of what creates meaning in our lives. In a speech that I heard Senator Alan Simpson give he said “if you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t- then do!”.
Senator Simpson went on to quote Leo Buscaglia’s thoughts on Risks, which goes as follows:
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. I plan to continue to take risks and experience another year full of meaningful experiences.
I hope my thoughts have helped you think about your future. What will you focus on? Share it with us on social media!
My Warmest Regards for a bright future!