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What’s Your One Thing?

What’s Your One Thing?

“I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.”
– Barbara Kingsolver

Last month I got to experience a real Cowboy Ranch. Ever since watching one of my favorite movies, City Slickers with Billy Crystal, I have always wanted to go to a Dude Ranch. To me, it’s the real American deal; an experience that was definitely on my Bucket List.

I have one scene from City Slickers that always plays in my mind. Curly is giving Mitch some life advice:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [He holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean squat.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: That’s what you have to find out. What’s my one thing? Tell you later.

I was heading off to the mountains to have some fun on our new discovery of the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado. Where you ask? Well, as it turns out, it’s a 2 ½ hour drive from Denver. The ranch has been around since 1919; that’s 94 years! When I heard that, my first thought, was WOW!! They must be doing something great here!

Over the next few days I got to experience exactly what that was. The attention to detail; the exceptional food and wine; the way every staff member wanted to make sure you had the best experience possible; the spa; the skeet shooting; the fly fishing; the archery; the horse riding through the mountains surrounded by forests; watching the 240 horses gallop out to pasture; the log cabin with fireplace. I could go on, but I think you get the picture!

The reason for heading off on this little adventure was actually work-related: TheHomeMags 4th Annual Publisher’s Conference. All the Franchisee’s and Publishers of our 32 magazines around the country get together every year to talk strategy, hear what others are doing, discuss the challenges and generally have a blast. In the past, this group of highly-spirited individuals have become somewhat infamous at previous conference facilities, hence the reason we found a place miles from anywhere, that allowed everyone to let off some steam.  The ranch being thoroughly briefed was well prepared. Suffice to say, that once you take away the risk, it diminishes the rewards. So over the 4 days we were there everyone behaved perfectly, well almost.

I was very excited to see all my old friends and colleagues, some whom I had not seen for years. Then the learning part! Besides, what was anyone going to teach me? I was there at the start. I trained many of the Publishers, and I had been doing this for 10 years. Sound familiar?

The evening before we left for Colorado, I bought a new book by John Maxwell, Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Learn. Just a couple of pages in, I resolved to take the time to really listen at the conference and look for those golden nuggets of information that could make a difference to my business. As it turned out, our days of training were not a waste of time at all. I realized then that going in, I had the right mindset. Someone else’s failure could be your next big idea. I got a lot out of it, but it could so easily have been wasted had my ego decided that I knew it all and had already made every mistake. If I learned one thing on that trip, it was to never stop taking the opportunity to learn. It’s a choice. It doesn’t just happen by osmosis or circumstance. It’s a mental decision.

The other lesson we all learned, was that we all need to get back to nature every now and then. It takes us back to our roots and makes us feel grounded. Looking up into that gigantic sky of stars every night around the fire, everyone felt a connection with the universe.

My one thing is to enjoy every day! See each new day as a new experience not to be missed, good or bad. Every day helps us learn, grow and expand our horizons!

What’s your one thing? 

Ralph Harris