The Most Under-Rated of All Holidays? Labor Day

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If I were to think of all the nationally recognized holidays that define the USA “idea,” Independence Day is probably number one.

A VERY close #2?

LABOR DAY.

la·bor
noun
work, especially hard physical work
verb
work hard; make great effort
Capitalism is about many things.  
  • Innovation
  • Risk Taking
  • Leadership
  • Competition
  • Teamwork

At the heart of capitalism is flat out, pain-staking, grind away, roll up your sleeves WORK.  LABOR.  I think of it as HUSTLE.

The thing about Labor that is fascinating?

It is so different person to person.  And much of it is attitude driven, with choices made daily about how it is approached.

Think of the major league ball player that busts it down the line on a routine grounder, while another guy jogs.  I’m convinced that a ball player like Robinson Cano cost himself over $100mm for one simple fact:  He had  a tendency to NOT Hustle.  But I digress.

I also believe that EVERYBODY working….

  • Has value

  • Builds their dignity, self-respect with each passing work day successfuly completed.

  • Builds wealth, both for themselves (if managed properly) and that wealth creates more wealth.  A great circle of prosperity when money gets earned, spent, invested.

  • There’s a work opportunity for all humans, regardless of skill level, education, race, gender or ethnicity.  This is a massive world.

Rarely do things come easy.  Labor, could also be known as Labor “Pains.”  Some think work is a 4-letter word.
Some LOVE to work, and take it to extremes.  I personally have always struggled with striking a work-life balance, especially with young kids.  But I’d be lying to say I don’t get a massive adrenaline rush from being exhausted after a long hard days work.  Old-school pleasure in its rawest form.  

Some people are blessed to not only work in jobs that support themselves and their families, but that they actually would do for FREE they love it so much.  Those are probably few and far between, but they are out there.

Regardless of where you stand in life:  Labor Day is worth celebrating.  It’s worth exhaling, sitting back and appreciating how food makes its way to your table.  And it’s also worth taking a moment and recognizing that all Jobs, and the people that work them have value.

Happy Labor Day.

And if you happen to be in the NY/NJ area for Labor Day weekend, consider visiting one of NJ’s best kept secrets, the St. Bart’s 40th annual Italian Festival.  Mangia!

http://www.sbuitalianfestival.com/

 

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Reflections on Non-Profit Leadership: #Icebucketchallenge

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Like many people, I am amazed at the viral social media success of the ALS #Icebucket challenge fundraising effort. According to the ALSA.org website, donations have reached $62.5mm as of 8/23/14.  It seems impossible to visit Facebook without seeing a video of somebody taking the challenge.  I can’t think of a better example of the NEW SCHOOL doing good things for a worthy charity.

As a former board member of the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis/Mid-South (DSAM), it brought back many memories of 6+ great years of non-profit service.

Every year in October, the DSAM held their annual “Step up for Down Syndrome” fundraising walk.  To say that it was a labor of love put it mildly.  Some rough numbers:

  • Well over 3,500 people attended
  • Nearly as many King Cotton Hot Dogs were consumed!
    • Monogram Foods (parent company of King Cotton) was always a fantastic supporter, and I was proud to call Monogram home for 8+ years
  • The number of volunteers that touched this event went well north of 50.  From high school kids looking to earn volunteer credit, to moms, grandparents and staff members that worked long hours with selfless dedication to the cause.  Ever try throwing a party for 3,500 plus people?   Not easy.  Which brings me to my next point.

Many of my fellow MALE board members would often joke about the weekend preparations leading up to the event.  Lots of physical activity took place, and plenty of sore muscles lasted for a few days.

The joke among my guy counterparts?  The role of the female staff leadership vs. the male board members organizing the event:

“To pull this off, what we need are strong backs and weak minds!”  

The guys on the board all joked about this.  Call this the Old School summary of our role helping out for the event.

These are guys that all had some type of managerial full time job, many with large and growing companies.  Suspending ego, playing a support vs leadership role is not exactly in our DNA.  But it was needed for success.

We’ve all heard the expression about too many chefs in the kitchen.  Organizations, whether striving to make a profit or striving to fulfill a service mission without one, need a mix of strong minds writing the playbook, and strong and dedicated people delivering it.  Neither is more important and without each other working together the mission won’t be achieved.

After fulfilling my #Icebucketchallenge, I looked back fondly on not just my years of service to a great non-profit, but the staff leadership I was lucky to get to know.  They were all talented, dedicated and driven.  I was happy, (at least on the weekend of the event), to value my back over my mind.

I hope with all the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, there can be a few leaders (or aspiring leaders) that are inspired to give back something more important than their money to any cause that hits home:  Their time.  Their talent.  Their energy.

When people make that choice to serve, they will almost definitely be blessed like I was.  They will meet those talents that personify the word HUSTLE.  

Their talent enriches the lives of the people they serve.

I couldn’t imagine better people to surround myself with, and hope others do as well.  

  

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The Power of a Text Message

A recent text message exchange with a team member, I mentioned we should give some "thoughtful planning" to a company Labor Day celebration.  Labor Day is a time when our company comes together as one for BBQ, and since everyone is in the same place … [Continue reading]

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The Crazy One’s: “Retail Negotiating”

Negotiating at Mcd's

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Simple Innovation That Works…..Coca-Cola Summer of Sharing

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Innovation does not need to be a massive technology breakthrough.  Sometimes its as simple as a tweak to packaging that gets people talking. In the past 2 hours, Coke has broken through in my life.  I get a text message from a friend with a diet … [Continue reading]

The Teamwork $ Test

One of the big difference makers in business rests in the power of effective teams working together to solve problems.  The old adage matters: 2 Heads are Better Than 1! But encouraging teamwork, group problem solving, brainstorming or any other … [Continue reading]

Want to Lead? Grab a Squeegee & Make it Your Friend

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I love metaphors & symbols.  They bring a point home clearly, better than words alone can do. You know what brings home a point even better?  ACTIONS.  The EXAMPLE you set. In a food manufacturing facility, water on the floors tends to be all … [Continue reading]

A Look Back @ A Career First: Violating 50% of A Success Mantra

I have been accused at times for being a bit "extreme" in my personal habits.  The one that has always raised eyebrows the most is my "Start EARLY!" mantra.  This is still one of the most visited posts on Hustle Or Bust. Not early in the … [Continue reading]

Hustle in Action: Kenny Brooks

There are so many reasons why I believe HUSTLE is one of life's most controllable difference makers.  Hustle is one of those intangible elements, it doesn't come with a degree or certification, but you know it when you see it.   When I think … [Continue reading]

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