Graduate School Professor
The first comes from a professor I had in graduate school. I had one of those “there is no answer” questions for him and he told me, “Mr. Webb, it is rarely about what you do, but how you do it that will cause you a problem”. That has stuck with me for over 20 years, and proven itself time-and-time again. You can make any potentially bad situation better if you just think about the best way to accomplish the task at hand. There are those ‘bad’ meetings you have to have, ‘bad’ situations you have to solve, etc. If you just think about how to do it the way a logical human would do it, you’ll go a long way. Leave the rest of the ‘noise’ behind and be nice.
This is one of may all time favorites and my colleague admits she heard this from someone else (but can’t remember), and it is an something I use in business and real life, as well. We were having one of those difficult partnerships and it had come to an end… badly. We were in our postmortem meeting to determine how we recognize these types of situations in the future, work to mitigate them, etc., and she said, “you know what, this comes down to the simple fact that life is too short to work with someone who makes your tummy hurt.” That stuck with me and is something I assess when going into partnerships, now. “Do I think they will make my tummy hurt?”.
What are your examples of advice and words to live by?