Tigers News · INSIGHTS WITH STEVE #23


Go, Ready, Set

A passerby would have questioned the pace of  George’s brisk walk this morning, but he was anxious to get to the truck and see Walt.  As he gave Walt his coffee, he couldn’t wait to hear about everything that he missed the last couple of weeks.  As the truck got to the next house, George hurriedly asked, “So Walt, how are you? How has work been?” Before Walt could even breathe, George added, “Have you bought the company yet?”  As Walt watched the mirror putting the trash cans down on the sidewalk, he exhaled and simply said, “Not yet. And I’m okay.” Then George spat off, “Why’s it taking so long? What are they waiting on?”  Walt reached across the center console and put his hand on George’s wrist. Walt told him that he wanted to own his the company for several years now so he could wait. Little did Walt know that years ago the seed of a dream was being planted when he was fed up with his company, his route, and his life.  

Walt told George about the day right after Christmas when all of the trash cans were overflowing, and that he had enough with trash and no longer wanted to deal with it.  Then he realized that he had two choices. One was to keep complaining about the trash or the other one was to do something about it that made a difference. Walt told George that his light bulb moment happened before the truck even got to the end of the street.  He said to himself, “One day I am going to own this company.” George was confused but before he could respond, Walt interjected by saying, “I know what you’re thinking; how could a driver buy an entire company?” “Well, I believe that I can because a long time ago twelve regular guys did some extraordinary things and at the end of the day, I’m a regular guy too.”  George decided that he would try to get Walt off track by asking, “So what’s the name? Walt’s Trash Company?” Walt chuckled and said, “The name will remain the same, because the man who started this company gave me a chance, he believed in me and I want to honor him.”

While Walt rubbed his face, he told George that driver morale went to an all time low shortly after the original owner sold the company.   The culture went from serving the customers first to all about making money instead. For example, drivers did not get raises, truck needed repaired, insurance was expensive and nothing was being done to help.  Walt said, “Isn’t it funny that when the goal is only about the profit, that four years later the company is for sale?” Walt remembered the first owner and said, “It’s more than my dream, it is my debt to him to make sure this is done right .  If that means stepping out on a limb, I am going to do it.” “You see George, if I don’t take action with my life now then I am forfeiting my future, and the future of my family. I refuse to sit back and do the same things over and over any more,” said Walt.  Walt was willing to trust his dream that started on a snowy day because it was a dream that was much bigger than himself. He told George that he is trying to figure out the answers to the business questions every day. To do this the right way, to push the status quo, he had be prepared when the time came.  “This is bigger than me, I wonder if I am ready or if I have the ability and I’m sure I don’t have the resources to pull this off, but that won’t stop me from taking the first step,” said Walt. As the truck stopped at George’s house, Walt left George with, “This is my calling, I may not be qualified yet, but I’ll keep watering the seed because I  trust that one day she’ll sprout.”

There are a lot of questions running through Walt’s mind about his dream.  Like Walt, we all have dreams and those dreams have questions. Will you chase the answers before taking a step or will you take the step and figure out the answers later?  The old adage of “Ready, Set, Go” does not apply to chasing a dream because you’re never ready. The result of waiting until you’re ready will be an unfulfilled dream, more like a wish that could’ve been.  You have what it takes to Go right now, you don’t have to wait for the Ready command. So, will you Go? Will you step out on the limb in faith and watch the tree fall behind you while you move to the next branch.  Or will you hug the tree on the ground because you’re not ready to start climbing yet? Go, Ready, Set; the starter for your race is waiting for you.