The Back Story: Watson’s Way
Connecting the Story
Recently, I spoke to more than a hundred business people about my inspirational book, Watson’s Way. At first glance, it isn’t self-evident how a story written primarily for middle and high school kids is actually a business book, in disguise.
The Frozen Ridge
It’s not just business people who recall, without any fondness, the 4th quarter of 2008 and the 1st quarter of 2009. That’s when everyone learned about big banks and insurers that had made idiotic investment gambles resulting in a new government phrase, “too big to fail.” The markets weren’t too big to fail, however, and subsequently tanked over those 6 months. My work life really felt like the picture above: frozen, hostile, inconceivably challenging. I was the Managing Principal for much of the state, with a national investment company, responsible for sales management, recruiting, training and compliance for more than 40 professionals, as well as nearly $500M. Most other firms utilized four field leaders to cover the four roles I held. Several of those under my watch went rogue, I suppose, partly from the pressure they felt. One even engaged in a well-hidden and devastating betrayal. Our family also went through two enormous personal crises during this period. Physically, I carried around a huge bloodclot in my leg. In a word, that time was awful.
Redemption on 4 Legs
Throughout this time and the years that followed, we were the “persons” to Watson, our shelter dog. When he passed suddenly in the summer of 2011 and I began the process of writing what ended up becoming this book, nearly all of the life lessons that came from Watson had an application within the business world. Even though the lessons were simple, it didn’t mean they were simplistic:
- Live with intention
- How to be patient when all you want to do is bark
- Stand up for what you believe in, even when it costs you
- Find reasons to laugh, especially when there isn’t much to laugh about
- Try new things, even when it makes you uncomfortable
- Give…and forgive, even when it hurts
Ageless Life Lessons
Certainly, publishing Watson’s Way represents a labor of love by those in our house, who were blessed to have been his persons. But that was never the intent, to just create a love legacy. The lessons nestled within this book have relevance to parents, as well as their children. And…these inspirational tales (tails) speak truth, warmth and perspective to those in business, just as much. We all need to hear stories of beauty, resilience, humor and humility. Our humanness is enhanced and centered, by simple lessons from a dog.
What was your experience during the “Crash of ’08-’09”? How were you impacted? Does that time impact you still? If so, in what ways?
photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc