Make the most of today

Published 8:49 am Friday, July 17, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column originated as part of a weekly newsletter produced by Ray Felton, owner and president of Metal Tech of Murfreesboro, for internal distribution. It is excerpted here with his permission.

What a day!

I got up at 5 this morning to go fishing with Judy and Brock’s family less Brock. It took a little doing to find everything we thought we might need, get it loaded and get away from home. We were finally on the road shortly after 6, which I thought was good for me, two women and two children. We stopped in Edenton for a “quick” breakfast at Mickey D’s and headed fishing.

I hadn’t been to Edenton to launch a boat in at least two years and thought there was one more intersection before I needed to pull off to head to the Wildlife ramp. I was wrong!

We crossed the river and came back to try it again. We hit the correct exit, but I turned one exit too early trying to get to the ramp and found myself going back across the river.

We came back and tried it again and this time got to the boat ramp. I think I will be able to find it the first time the next time I try to go fishing.

We backed the boat overboard and loaded all our gear on the boat before taking the boat off the trailer.

Then I went to start the boat and it wouldn’t start! I cranked for quite some time and it finally started. I let it run a few minutes and then put it into reverse to drive the boat off the trailer. It knocked off and hasn’t started since.

We unloaded the gear from the boat and called it a very short fishing trip.

So now the boat is in the shop and I am just as happy as I would be if I had good sense!

Why am I happy after such a disastrous fishing trip? We have our feet on dry ground, we don’t have to worry about cleaning fish with the biting flies and mosquitoes trying to take us away, and nobody is sunburned or injured.

The real question is “Why not be happy?”

A similar situation exists with all businesses right now.

We all have the same choice. We can sit and wring our hands and worry ourselves to death with negative thought, causing us to make some really dumb and dangerous decisions, or we can accept things as they are and do all possible to have our equipment in great shape and ready to do work safely and profitably when the time comes. (By the way, the boat ran great last Sunday for about 50 miles.) I plan to be ready to be safe and profitable when work does turn around.

As we go through these slower times there are two thoughts that I consider imperative for each of us.

The first is that we continue to emphasize safety every day at work and at home. If we are not practicing safety at home, we are probably not doing a good job with safety at work. If we are operating a riding lawn mower with the chute wired up or holding a child while we cut, we are not practicing safety at home.

Whenever I see someone doing either I think I should stop and hang a sign around their neck that reads “My Name is Stupid.”

The second and very important thought is that each person associated with Metal Tech must understand our most valuable asset is our customers. Every person who makes our phone ring is our customer. Every person you discuss work with is a customer even if they are employed by Metal Tech! Business is all about relationships, and each of us will do well to remember every relationship we have is fragile and very important. Think about that and let me know if your interaction with others is equal to cutting grass while holding a child. I will get you a sign to hang around your neck if that will help.

Today is a precious gift we cannot afford to waste! Make sure the folks around you know they are loved and appreciated. Don’t forget, being a friend is being a friend when the other person needs a friend, not just when we need a friend. Our positive attitude, knowledge and good judgment will carry us through these tough times.

Be thankful for today and all its blessings!