‘No saint, no hero, no discoverer, no prophet, no leader ever did his work cheaply and easily, comfortably and painlessly, and no people was ever great which did not pass through the valley of the shadow of death on its way to greatness.’ – Walter Lippmann
The quote above raises many subjects for discussion. Subjects which have been on my mind recently.
‘Work cheaply and easily’. Everyone likes a deal right? We want value for money. Yet there are times when we choose the cheapest option and it is not always value for money. I recently made a decision like that and it was quite a painful experience which did not have a positive outcome.
In business, we need to pay others for their services. Normally we are paying them for these services because we do not have someone in our business with the expertise, knowledge, or skillset the provider brings. Yet it is common to hear stories of people not receiving good service and having less desirable outcomes which may lead to more problems for the business. Sometimes these decisions have been made because we want to do it cheaply, quickly, and easily.
‘Comfortably and painlessly’. Success often does not just happen without some discomfort and pain. Even those overnight successes often have a story behind them of struggle, uncertainty, and loss of hope when all seemed lost. If things are comfortable and painless, how do we see the value in the experience. It is so easy for us to enjoy the good times, forgetting how we got to that point and sometimes we don’t truly value the good times either. There is value in all experiences especially those which are the hardest.
Which leads to the third part of the quote worth thinking about. ‘No people was ever great which did not pass through the valley of the shadow of death on its way to greatness’. Possibly a little morbid, yet it speaks to those trials and tribulations which fall across our path as individuals, teams, and organisations. There are plenty of sports stories which speak to this phrase. Just as there are plenty of business stories too. There is always the possibility for greatness if we make the effort and act. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
Look for the value in those who provide you with a service. Research their experience, knowledge, and skills to understand the investment you are making with them. Look for the value in the uncomfortable, painful, and tough times. See the valuable learnings.
Do you see the Value?