June 26

Sometimes I Act Like I’m Five


I love celebrations. What better celebration is there than celebrating a birthday? And some of the best birthdays to celebrate are for kids.

As we get older, birthdays can become sort of negative. Some people see them as one step closer to the grave. But kids’ birthdays are on a whole other level – the excitement kids have for their special day is contagious.

So when my kids got invited to a birthday party for a five-year-old friend, I think I was the most excited out of all of us about the party.

The truth is that I’m a big kid at heart. While everyone else is all serious about life, I’m always looking for ways to have fun. So when it came time for pin the tail on the donkey, part of me really wanted to give it a try.

After all the kids had their turn, the parents asked if any of the teens wanted to try. Of course, they were all too cool to give it a try so I raised my hand to give it a go.

They spun me around and I gave it my best, but alas, I missed by about a foot and a half. It turns out I wasn’t the only one young at heart. The birthday boy’s 60-year-old grandfather, Jack, decided he would give it a go too. And that sly old fox won by pinning that tail dead center on that donkey’s rear end.

After we were all done celebrating his win, we got to talking. Even though he was in his sixties, he was a lot more full of life than most guys my age or even younger.

It turns out he was from Minneapolis and that he flew into California for a couple of days to celebrate his grandson’s birthday and needed to get back to Minneapolis by Monday for work.

He works in construction and had a lot of wisdom to share. His company installs all sorts of light posts, drilling them into the concrete all around the city.

He works with a lot of younger employees who often look for shortcuts that can lead to unsafe procedures that cause constant interruptions to their work. This makes both them and their employers unhappy.

He shared with me that just last week he was drilling down with the jackhammer in the blazing sun for two hours straight while a young 20-year-old new recruit was inside in the air-conditioned mobile office monitoring the controls. Forty-five minutes into the job, the kid says he’s exhausted and asks to take a break.

Jack, who was drenched in sweat, looked at this kid with disappointment but granted him the break since he did not want to be held liable for working people “too hard.”

The next day the same young guy asked Jack how he was doing. Jack was honest and let him know that he was actually disappointed in him. The young man asked why. He told him, “I’m out here working in the hot sun doing the very physical part of the job while you were in the air conditioning room asking for a break after just 45 minutes of work.”

He took this opportunity to teach the young man that he needs to work with the following principles that he has maintained in his work life that have been essential to his success. Those are work safe, work smart, and work steady so at the end of the day your boss is happy, your client is happy, you are happy and God is happy. Work with joy so you can walk away from a job well done – in other words, have fun at your work.

Those are the six principles that he lives by. He went on and broke down each one.

Made me think about how relevant those rules are to our business and any business or any job. In addition to work, live life with thankfulness and joy, and never let the child in you grow old.

To your success,
Ernie “Young At Heart” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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