“It happened 400 years ago and must have been the most horrifying experiences of their lives. Though there were slightly more than a hundred people aboard The Mayflower, only 54 were from the band of Separatists who had lived in Holland the previous twelve years to escape persecution in England. They were farmers and shepherds for the most part, though some may have been craftsman of one kind or another. Yet never had they been on such high seas. So, it must have seemed like the very demons of hell were loosed upon them during that fall of 1620.
The storms of the North Atlantic were so fierce, and the ship so tossed that the main mast often dipped into the waves. It was a disorienting, gut-wrenching experience even for the experienced sailors among them. The small band of believers on board— men, women, an expectant mother, and small children among them— were kept in the “tween deck” for fear of the buffeting storms. Many were sick. Some wailed their agonies endlessly through the terrifying nights. The icy winds wailed with them. It was a filthy, smelly, terrifying time of testing.
For 66 days the little ship, no longer than a modern volleyball court, made the treacherous voyage from England to the coast of what would one day be Massachusetts. When the Pilgrims arrived, what must their thoughts have been as they stared at the howling wilderness that was to be their home? William Bradford, later their Governor, recalled: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean and were ready to perish in this wilderness.”
And perish they almost did. More than half of them died during that first winter, often called “the starving time.” At one point, each person’s ration for a day was no more than five kernels of corn and a few ounces of brackish water. Native friends like Squanto and Samoset taught the whites how to harvest the bay and the land, but the yield would not be sufficient until the next year. So, they buried their dead and prayed for the mercy of God.
In the spring, they planted and soon began sensing that God had heard their prayers. The previous winter had been the worst of times, but the harvest looked bountiful now, the settlement was growing, and God seemed to be smiling upon them.
When the harvest was gathered that fall, their leaders called for some men to go hunting in preparation for a great feast to celebrate the goodness of God. Wild fowl, fish, and venison were gratefully prepared. They invited their native friends, too, who brought five freshly killed deer. The white women prepared hoecakes, cornmeal pudding, and a variety of vegetables while the Indian women introduced delicacies made with blueberries, apples and cherries. The most welcome new food the natives brought with them, though, was a new way of cooking corn in an earthen pot until it became white and fluffy popcorn.
It was indeed thanksgiving, but not just for safety and abundance of food. It was also a time to remember the words they had penned about their purpose for coming while they were still on board The Mayflower. They came, they said, “For the Glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.”” ~ Adapted from Steven Mansfield – A Thanksgiving Meditation
I share that story so that we can put things into perspective. This has been a trying and difficult year in so many ways. It’s been tough on us individually, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially. The past 233 days have tested our ability to pivot, adapt, adjust, think outside the box, stay focused and be flexible as rules/capacity/table spacing were in constant flux. What the heck, let’s throw in a controversial election too. But, by comparison…we’ve got it pretty good and we have the recipe to RISE.
Gratitude: As we look at the example of those early immigrants to a new land four centuries ago, regardless of circumstances, despite the hardship, in spite of the loss they had experienced, they knew that they had plenty to be thankful for so they focused on those things. We too have plenty to be thankful for. I’m thankful for our guests, who, notwithstanding the restrictions and obstacles put in place by our government and the spread of fear by mainstream media and social media, have been so supportive of our businesses. I’m grateful for our team members that honestly were jerked around in the spring, yet, once the opportunity to work in our facilities was real, stepped up in a big way and have adapted to whatever we have thrown at them including short notice requests to cover shifts in other sports bars due to safety concerns of staff and guests. I’m thankful for our leaders (managers) for their dedication and commitment to doing the right thing, making team/guest safety a priority and for having a “can do” attitude. I’m appreciative of our support staff for their unwavering focus on the details, relentless desire to support our teams and for the passionate pursuit of excellence. And probably the most important, we are indebted to our families and loved ones that have allowed us all to work in our restaurants and sports bars to provide an essential service to our communities. We seriously have an awful lot to “give thanks” for.
Loyalty: The pilgrims were loyal to each other and to the purpose of their voyage. Loyalty to our teams, our brands and to each other along with a commitment to adhere to the requirements that our respective state’s have put in place is critical.
Loyalty to a company (or your job) is getting harder and harder to come by. Our culture promotes loyalty to self, self-promotion, selfies and self-satisfaction. Loyalty ALWAYS involves others. It requires a dedication to those around you, for the good of the business and for the betterment of others. Loyalty implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert or betray. Loyalty is a necessary ingredient to RISE.
Trust: Ronald Reagan was famous for saying “Trust but verify” in dealing with the Soviet Union. We are living in a time when we’re not sure who we should trust. We’re told that you can’t trust the media, the politicians or even the results of our election. That’s a very sad place to be.
But how about in our businesses. Are you someone that can be trusted? Do you feel like the leaders of H5H trust you? Do your team members trust that what we ask of them is in their best interest to earn more hours on the schedule or more money in their pocket? Do our guests trust that the food they order from our menu will be delivered in a timely fashion and be prepared to our high standards for quality? Can our team members and guest place their trust in our level of commitment to safety during this pandemic?
I’m gonna say one more thing about trust. If you have to get every decision approved by your supervisor, maybe they don’t trust you…..or maybe you can’t be trusted. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY! Conversely, if you’re that guy or gal that has to micromanage every single decision…..take a little advice….let go, let people grow and follow up on the desired result.
Honesty: Real success comes only by doing what is honest and right for yourself and others. If you want to live well, really well, you must be committed to honesty and integrity. It just feels good to be honest, even when that honesty is difficult. It feels powerful to be on the side of truth even when there is pain in that truth.
Honesty is the most direct path to where you want to go. Honesty is practical, efficient and effective in every worthy pursuit. Your degree of honesty affects not only you and those with whom you interact with in the workplace, but everyone.
If it’s not right – don’t do it. If it’s not true – don’t say it. Simple.
Respect: Leaders don’t automatically gain respect from their employees. They need to earn their respect by demonstrating that they value employees and prioritize their growth. We do that by improving our communication with those who work for us, by being transparent and explaining the important decisions. Gaining the respect of those around you improves the morale of everyone in the workplace.
We gain respect by showing respect. We strengthen that respect by being firm & consistent, showing great work ethic, catching people doing things right and standing up for your team.
Respect is a process. If a leader understands the process and develops it, they can become a great leader and accomplish incredible things. Without it, they may be good at influence, but never take their ideas and visions to any real significant level.
Respect from others begins and remains when a person has respect for themselves. If a person allows habits that do not show that they respect themselves, it will show up in the lack of respect others show, or don’t show, for them.
We are all on a journey. This journey is called life. Our careers are also on a journey. Keeping these 5 words in perspective as we journey is critically important as we seek the recipe to RISE.
Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned. Gratitude is good for the soul.
Let’s strive for all 5 and RISE!