Finally, 2023! Dubbed the most normal year of the 2020s so far. Hard to think we walked out of a two-year fire drill of an operation called the pandemic to walk into European war, record high inflation, the “Log Ride” drop of the stock market and record setting gas prices.
At least we got our supply chain back in line—oh, wait. But hey, no masks! It wasn’t all doom and gloom. If you were playing your cards right, most found 2022 to have a strong growth in net sales (some due to price increases) and employment struggles seemed to level out a little bit as we progressed from the “Great Resignation” tagline to the new tagline, “Quiet Quitting”. In other words, most are not running out the door, they are waiting to be pushed out.
Most of you that know me would know that I am not a New Year’s Resolution type of guy. No, it's not because of the over the road trucker bod I have been perfecting over the years. It is the belief that anything that will need to wait until January 1 can and should be done today. If the date that something transpires is that important, it is more a wish than a goal. Every year, millions conjure up some master plan to alter their path only to downplay the significance of their quest by assigning a notation in the first square of the new hot rod calendar (or whatever you are displaying on your wall) In my eyes, “just wait until next year,” is as old of a joke as, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
The Chicken Joke
Most of us grew up with various versions of the chicken joke. This timeless joke was morphed into other culturally up to date jokes. Why did the chicken cross the road? To avoid the Popeyes crowd when they ran out the chicken sandwich. That is probably one of my favorites. Then they had to tie Corona into it. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was social distancing. Not funny but at least it is a joke that evolves. At the root of the chicken joke saga is the most important and fundamental leadership message you can take with you.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was motivated to do so!
It has always been the motivation that has moved the chicken to the other side of the road. It has been your motivation that kept your doors open through the pandemic, to take care of your business, your customer base and the faithful teammates who came into work to keep things moving forward. This was the motivation to succeed. It is the motivation of our nation’s people that desired normalcy so much they went in droves to the airports and interstates this holiday season despite all the travel prices skyrocketing. This was the motivation to connect.
The lack of motivation is what drives you to accomplish nothing because it has not been the magical turn of the year yet. Your team is waiting on you to drive change, strength and leadership into their lives. That doesn’t happen when the ball drops at midnight; it only happens when you decide to do so. Your family is waiting on you to deliver shining examples of success and compassion. The lack of motivation tells you that next year you will make that happen. This teaches others who look up to you that your success is more hinged on your rotation around the sun instead of your abilities to identify, plan and take action.
The chicken crosses the road in every joke. Not because it was the “new year, new me” mantra you surely heard the last week of December and the first week of January. By the way, you rarely hear it the second week of January. The chicken crosses the road because of a mission. To get to the other side, to get to where he was going faster, to avoid Colonel Sanders and to show the armadillo it could be done.
In paraphrase Simon Sinek: “It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.” Pick your objectives and attack them with the same determination as a southerner trying to get sweet tea in Michigan. Look for your motivation from your inner desire, your passion, your family and your team. Ignore the social construct to start on January 1. Well, let's do the 2nd—that is a Monday after all. At the end of the day, when you have found your success, you will look back at your path and realize that it had nothing to do with the date, but the desire to cross the road.