How to Win…And Sleep at Night

Two true cliches from my father that will help your mindset

My phone startled me awake. I rolled over slowly, my fever dragging me down. I looked at the number. Sighed.

“Hello, this is Brad.”

“Brad, listen I need you to — ” And on and on he went, demanding this and that of me in the tone of a drill sergeant. The sun was barely up. I explained I was home with the flu and that I’d have someone from my team address his concerns and he just kept on rolling as if I didn’t say anything.

No humanity.

A man who worked for us was getting long in the tooth, but he was knowledgeable. We could trust him. We put him on a ground-up project in a small town. Then I got the call.

“I’m here at the job site, and your superintendent is here asleep in the job trailer!” My client was understandably upset. It was the middle of the day and here was our foreman taking a siesta.

No performance.

The great companies do not trade between humanity and performance — they maximize both. Treating people with respect and doing a great job are not mutually exclusive. Take Southwest Airlines. They treat their team and their customers like warm-blooded human beings. Take Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership team. They are among the sharpest people I’ve ever dealt with, warm and knowledgeable and smart.

The companies — and for that matter, individuals — who fail tend to lack one of these two core components. If you forego the humanity piece, you might win for a while, but you’ll run roughshod over people and become a scarred up maniac in the process. If you skip the performance piece, well, your ride won’t last long. You’ll be out of a job or out of business.

My dad raised me to live by the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. If you follow this rule, I’ve learned, you’ll be alright. My dad also taught me anything worth doing is worth doing well.

I reckon Dad was right on both counts.


Brad Larson is an author and entrepreneur. His second book, Show Yourself a Man, will launch this summer. If you liked this article, sign up for his email list here.

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