Bringing your life mottos into the workplace

Do you have a life motto that drives you? Tell me about it in the comments! But first, let me share with you the mottos I live by, both in my personal and work life.

The mottos I bring into Pierlite reflect our mission, vision, and values. By interweaving my life mottos into our workplace, our team is reminded of our purpose and how we achieve it, every day. Our team is acutely aware of these mottos because I take the time to state them in our company emails, team meetings, and everyday conversations. This provides our team with a collective drive that enables us to become the best versions of ourselves, together.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I’m sure that most of us have heard this quote before. This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but its exact origin remains unclear. Regardless of its origin, how many of us actually apply it in business?

When I first joined Pierlite, I had no lighting experience. But at Pierlite, we do not judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. If you only focus on an employee’s weaknesses, you’ll never be able to see the best skills they have to offer; and who knows, maybe you’ll be missing out on a future CEO.

Leadership is not calling out people’s weaknesses. Leadership happens when you understand the gaps in someone’s knowledge and skills, and either help them grow in this area or empower them to work with their strengths instead. If you only focus on the weaknesses of your team, then you’ll never see their strengths or reach your company’s full potential.

“Hard to bruise, easy to heal.”

A great leader once told me this when I needed to hear it. I have never forgotten it, and to this day, I always remind my team to be hard to bruise but easy to heal. This quote embodies the Pierlite team’s resilience, endurance, and ability to come back stronger after any challenge.

How high is your adversity quotient (AQ)? In other words, how high is your resilience and bounce-back rate in the face of adversity? Having a high adversity quotient is linked to increased stability, creativity, productivity, and success at work. Even if you have a high IQ (intelligence) and EQ (emotional intelligence), you are still prone to failure if your AQ is low.

You are guaranteed to fall or have setbacks when you climb a mountain. However, if you simply give up after a minor fall when climbing the mountain, it won’t be long before elements such as wind and snow wear you down completely. Therefore, your survival is reliant on the perseverance and resilience you need to get back up and continue climbing. This is the same with any upwards journey. Whether it’s opening a business, expanding your company, or introducing a new project, you are guaranteed to experience falls and bruises along your journey to the top. The main thing is that you heal easily after a bruise.

 “Fall seven times – rest – stand up eight.”

You’ve probably heard the famous Japanese proverb, “fall seven times, stand up eight.” I like to add in the word “rest” in the middle, to remind us that rest is essential and not something we should feel guilty about. Ironically, working without rest may be the cause of some of your falls and setbacks. According to research from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, working long hours without rest can actually decrease productivity and hinder creativity. Supporting this, Harvard Business Review also suggests that long work hours without rest can result in stress, burnout, and poor performance at work.

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, so long as you continue to stand back up every time and face your challenges with resilience and persistence. At Pierlite, we see setbacks as an opportunity to learn and stand up taller than before.

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the thing yourself.”

This is a Sara Henderson quote that I relay to my team all the time. In business, there’s often someone to tell you what to do and someone to lead the way – someone to light the way. But who says you can’t be the light yourself?

At Pierlite, we have a culture of being opportunists and go-getters. I want each individual in our team to believe they are special because the minute you believe you can be a light for yourself, is the minute you change and transform into a motivated, proactive opportunist. As a result, the company as a whole is propelled forward through a dynamic team of purposeful and productive individuals.

When I first joined Pierlite, our performance metrics were at a low point. No one was going to save us but ourselves. So, instead of waiting around for a solution, we created it ourselves and redefined how we would show up and act. We subsequently created a culture where we believed we could achieve anything. The results speak for themselves – we are now exceeding every performance metric, have a near-perfect employee engagement score, and are more successful than ever before. See what happens when you light your own path?

“Inch wide, mile deep”

You may have heard of the saying, “mile wide, inch deep.” However, I prefer the variation, “inch wide, mile deep.”

By having a mile wide, inch deep philosophy, you could risk stretching yourself too thin and only having a shallow business. This could involve having a shallow business mission, having superficial relationships with your team or clients, and only having a knee-deep expertise and passion for your industry. As a result, your business becomes more fragile and vulnerable.

On the other hand, having a company with deep roots enables you to withstand adversity and be true experts in your field. At Pierlite, we adopt an inch wide, mile deep philosophy because we are a company that understands our niche and that what we have to offer is bottomless. Instead of providing customers with surface-level, quick fixes, we invest in strong, long-term solutions that deeply benefits both our customers and our company.

Gallup study of almost 200,000 employees found that employees who are more deeply connected with their colleagues are more driven to take actions that benefit the overall business. I always strive to connect with each individual in my team and I am always eager to engage with them whenever I can. Whether it’s through face-to-face talks, lunch, coffee breaks, phone calls, messages, or video chats. By leading through this example, the rest of the Pierlite team is encouraged to connect with each other, help each other grow, and motivate each other to be the best versions of themselves.

These are the five mottos that consistently motivate me to be the person I want to be. That’s why I incorporate them into the workplace, so that my whole team can feel the same drive and inspiration. By using these mottos to guide the team, we are rewarded with a stronger sense of collective purpose and intention in the workplace which, according to Macquarie, drives employee satisfaction and motivation.

It’s one thing to simply recite your mottos, but another thing to actually live by them. As leaders, we need to demonstrate how we live our mottos through our everyday actions, and soon enough, our team will follow our example. Whether you live by a motto, a value, or an idea, I want to know about it. Share it in the comments and let’s all learn from each other!