Never Grow Up

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Don’t judge from the picture accompanying this letter. That photo is from months ago. As I write this, depending on whom you ask, my face either looks “a little rough” (my wife’s take) or like the Batman villain Twoface (my 8-year-old son’s opinion; granted, he thought this was a good thing, or at least an improvement).

I’ll try to make this story short: I crashed on an electric scooter—after only riding it for about 10 feet. In my defense (if there is a defense for a grown man getting hurt riding a scooter), someone stepped off the sidewalk right in front of me, forcing me to turn abruptly and, well, face-plant into the pavement. Despite all appearances (and by that, I mean the bloody, scraped mess that replaced the right side of my face), I was, more or less, uninjured. Apart from having to retell the story a couple dozen times over the last few days, the only real harm done has been from the good-natured (I assume?) needling I’ve gotten about it. This all took place a day before my birthday, and as my wonderfully snarky colleague, Anna Zeck, put it, “Oof, a scooter accident right before your birthday—how old are you turning again, 12?”

So, I do have a point in bringing all of this up, because the entire situation truly has reinforced a couple of my core philosophies I strive to follow. Both are very simple to grasp, but far more difficult to keep up. The first: Never take yourself too seriously. I often amend this one to our team here at Ratchet+Wrench as, “Take your work very seriously, but not yourself.” The idea is to eliminate (to the best of our abilities) the ego and pride that get in the way of doing work that represents our best selves. When you do this, you open yourself up to improvement, collaboration, change and innovation. And that plays into the second, simple philosophy: Say yes. By that, I mean to have a true willingness to try something new. Don’t ignore opportunity because it’s different, challenging or frightening. Don’t focus on problems; look for solutions.

Sure, I didn’t necessarily need to smash my face to remind myself of these concepts. But in the somewhat juvenile way this all came about, it reminds me of the need for a youthful exuberance in all that we do (no matter our age)—get over our mistakes, laugh it off, and move on. Hopefully, you get that message in a much clearer way from the success stories in our cover feature, “How I Did It,” this month, or elsewhere in this issue. Still, here’s to pushing forward, and not growing up.

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