What Do You Do When You’ve “Peaked”
by Glenn Shepard
July 5, 2016

Category:  Management


Quote of the Week

Don Felder and Tommy Shaw

Don Felder and Tommy Shaw 


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Dear Glenn,

     I own a lawn care company with 18 employees and 9 trucks. I’m beginning to hear my employees chatting about having too much work, their customers are complaining about weeds and they don't like having to go back and retreat the lawns. Even a new hire employee (less than 60 days) has started to complain because everyone else does. I have come to realize one of my techs is the instigator. What can I do to get the morale back?

- Concerned in Mississippi

Dear Concerned,

    As they say in Kansas City, “Ride him like a Missouri Mule”. As you’ve witnessed, one bad apple really can spoil the whole bunch because others will follow their lead. The good news is that once you get the bad apple to either shape up or ship out, morale will bounce back.
    A doctor in Minnesota told me that things were so much better after she eradicated the poisonous employee in her business that the other employees threw a pizza party and sang ‘Ding dong. The wicked witch is gone”.

Thanks for your question.

- Glenn in Nashville, TN
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In the movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal’s character was depressed about turning 40 and uttered this infamous line:

“Have you ever had that feeling that this is the best I'm ever gonna do, this is the best I'm ever gonna feel... and it ain't that great?”

After going on a cattle drive, he finally found his purpose and a new zeal for life.

But even when people are at their best and it REALLY is great, they still face a dilemma. Watch Super Bowl MVPs being interviewed after winning the biggest game of their lives and notice how they struggle to answer one question – “What are you going to do now?”

It’s hard to imagine what comes next when you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career – especially when you consider that when you’re on the top of the world, the only place to go is down.

Sports Illustrated estimates that 80% of professional football players go broke within 3 years of leaving the NFL, even though the average salary is $1,900,000 a year.

While you’ll probably never be showered with confetti and adored by throngs of cheering fans, you will reach an apex in your career at some point. And no matter how much you make or accomplish, no one is ever happy resting on their laurels.

So what do you do when you’ve accomplished everything that can be accomplished in your career?

The best answer I’ve ever seen was demonstrated by my favorite singer of all time, John Fogerty. He was the lead singer, lead guitar player, and main songwriter of the legendary rock group CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival).

When he was 14, he heard Chet Atkins and wanted to be a good guitar player like him.

He was only in his early twenties when CCR had their first hit (“Suzie Q”), followed by one hit after another, and played at Woodstock.

That was a nearly a half century ago, but you can’t listen to a classic rock station to this day without hearing his voice belting out classics like “Proud Mary” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.

He was named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 singers of all time, and as one of the top 100 guitar players of all time. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Yet the most remarkable thing he ever did came when he was 48. He realized he had never gotten really good on the guitar, and decided he’d better get busy. He said it took him 17 years to finally get good. During those years, he travelled from his home in California to Tennessee, where he took lessons from 10 different guitar players here in Nashville.

He’s now 71, and the guy is playing and sounding even better than when I last saw him 7 years ago.

Though he’s a living legend, he continues to practice for hours every day, explaining, “You realize some of it is God’s gift, but you’ve got to work at it”.

If you’ve accomplished everything that can be accomplished in your career and are wondering what to do for an encore, John provides the perfect answer – "You continue to get even better at what you do".

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard
Glenn Shepard


P.S. I was reminded of this last week when I went backstage to meet Don Felder, The Eagles’ lead guitarist who wrote “Hotel California”, which was voted by Guitarist magazine as the greatest guitar solo of all time. I ran into Tommy Shaw, the lead guitarist of Styx, and wondered what he was doing there. When he joined Don on stage for Hotel California, the amount of talent on that stage was so extraordinary that it was obvious why he was there. Extraordinary people like to be around other extraordinary people, because it helps them remain extraordinary.

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