Sheila, Assistant Branch Manager for a wholesale plumbing supply company in Tigard, OR, told Session 4B of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab:
“Sunday, December 8th, 1985 was my 17th birthday. I had had my driver’s license for 364 days, but I didn’t have my own car. I wanted reliable transportation, my own car, so I wouldn’t have to rely on someone else to take me to work. This would mean I could work more hours. My mom and dad had made it pretty clear to both my older brother and me that we could have a car as soon as we had the cash to buy one. They were unwilling, up to this point, to help me out and even though I had been saving from every check, I was a long way from having enough to pay for a car that would be reliable transportation to work. In recognition of my birthday, my mom and dad presented me with a ‘car contract.’ They would provide the car if I was willing to sign the contract. Among other things, the contract stated I had to maintain a certain minimum GPA, I could only drive a specific amount of miles at stipulated times, I had to be a ‘good citizen’ of the house and I MUST call for a ride if I was impaired in any way. All parties agreed to the terms and conditions as stated in my signed contract. They bought me a nice, used, 1983 maroon Pontiac Phoenix with gold wheels, it was beautiful. I loved driving it and my new-found freedom.
“The expected standards of behavior had been pretty clear in my house before that day, but reading the expected standard as described in the contract made the standards crystal clear – no room for misunderstanding what was expected of me. The GPA target was reasonable for me and I was able to do what I wanted and really enjoyed working more hours at my job.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is I need to be willing to accept the terms, the standards of excellence and conditions of performance required to achieve my goals.
“The action I call you to take is to identify a goal in your life that you feel so passionately about that you would ‘sign a contract,’ change a behavior, or live by a restricted code of conduct to achieve.
“The benefit you will gain by accepting the terms of high-standard agreements is you will achieve your short-term goals and set in motion the patterns of living required to continue to exceed your best.”
My comment to Sheila’s class – we need more moms and dads who spell out the standard of behavior required for success in all areas and certainly before special gifts are bestowed.
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