For hundreds of years there have been books, manuscripts – hell, even song lyrics – dealing with the subject matter of codes of conduct. A few years ago, one of my employees compared me to the fictional Special Agent Gibbs on TV’s NCIS crime drama. Already familiar with the character’s penchant for quoting from a set of rules and protocols that were handed down from his agent mentors, I began spouting out my own “rules” – mostly in professional scenarios – to my colleagues.
I must say that I’ve been blessed with some great mentors in my lifetime. Some were direct influencers, like my Grandfather – who was one of the most respected and influential icons in our American Indian tribe – and three people who’ve consistently remained in my life for over two decades: my dear friend, Ellen Smith, Calvary Chapel Pastor Ray Jaramillo and my Wing Chun teacher, Sifu Phil Romero. Others have had an indirect influence on me – strangers or the briefest of acquaintances who may have said a few words or committed actions that I gleaned something from at some point or another. Now, as I enter the next half of my life, I realize – more than ever – I shall ever be a work in progress, but I have distilled my essential core life lessons into a short list for my daughter, employees, and colleagues.
I humbly pass to you My Rules:
1. Intention –> Execution –> Result
2. Improve yourself while others are resting.
3. Be prepared for opportunity.
4. Servants make better leaders.
5. Know your limitations and eliminate them.
6. Larger than life is just the right size.
7. Remember the quiet one may be taking mental notes.
8. Although it really is best to walk away, you may have to whup a man’s ass sometime…so be able to.
9. Relationship Equity is tantamount to liquid assets.
10. Experience trumps academics.
11. Guard your reputation because you can’t change it.
12. Always carry a knife.
13. Honor is still important.
14. Trust people’s characteristics, not the people.
15. Define who you are by what you believe in – personal philosophy is paramount to social norms.
16. Don’t be daunted by Goliaths in any situation. David had 5 stones – no one knows how many you may have.
17. Be a “class-act.” It does not require being wealthy.
18. Make time to read a real book.
19. Use your knowledge and skills to defend the weak, help the needy, and heal the sick.
20. Love your country like your family; although we may always disagree, we’re all in this together and are truly blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.
21. You never really know someone until you disagree with them: fights or confrontations – verbal or physical – reveal everything about a person’s character, strength, virtues, flaws…and resources.
There you have it.