Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What do you stand for?

I've always been a person of strong convictions.  I don't need people to agree with me; I respect everyone's right to believe what they want, and my right to walk away from people whose beliefs or actions are too offensive/negative/frustrating to have in my life.

When we purchased this business, I wasn't on social media.  Let's be honest; I was in my first year of grad school when VAX systems gave us email, and in my third year when we got access to the Internet.  I remember the first computer that had a CD player and seeing a movie on a computer screen; it blew my mind.   As someone born on the cusp of the Gen X crowd, I am not part of the generation raised with a cell phone in my hand.

Social media has certainly had a positive impact in how we manage our business, and it's made life easier in some respects.  I don't intend for this post to be a debate on its merits.  I do recall being warned about having to carefully curate what is posted because of the potential effect on "the business."

I've about had enough of that, to be honest.  It goes hand-in-hand with the self-esteem movement, kindergarten graduation ceremonies, never allowing kids to fail, and all of the political correctness crap that has crushed the backbones of so many.

What do you stand for?  Think about it.  Then move the emphasis:  What do you stand for?

In one way, it asks what you are about: your morals, integrity, important issues.  Or, it can mean "what will you tolerate?  How much will you "stand"/tolerate/suffer?

Either way, I believe it is important to know what a person, and a business, stands for, and what they will tolerate.  The two are, by nature, linked.

I stand for honesty, integrity, kindness as much as possible, life-long learning, anti-ignorance, education, self-awareness, personal accountability and hard work.  My business mirrors that.

I won't stand for politeness for its own sake, animal abuse, coddling, hiding my beliefs to get a sale, or the notion that the customer is always right, because they aren't.

I've had people chew me out on social media and say "I won't do business with you ever again."  Inwardly, I sigh and send up a silent "thank you" to the universe.  And I'm ashamed that I haven't had the backbone to just type that.  "Thank you.  Thank you for taking your business elsewhere."  It's an odd thing for a small business owner to say, but as a wise accountant/cabin owner once told me, "when you are spending so much energy on one person, who you will likely never please, then you are wasting energy that could be spent on the type of clients you actually want."

David gets it.  He's not on social media at all, but he's been chewed out on the phone after a guest has been called to the mat about damaging a home, and he just lets them rant and when they realize they are still going to be personally accountable for their actions, they scream "We are NEVER staying with you again."  David just politely says, "Thank you very much.  I really appreciate that."

Maybe it takes getting to a certain age before you stop caring about whether everyone else approves of your standards.  Maybe it takes a certain amount of experience in life.  Either way, the knowledge of who you are, what matters in your life, what you'd be willing to die for, and what is just fluff not worth a moment's thought is freeing.  The detritus falls away and you are able to focus on living your life authentically.  If someone doesn't want to do business with you because your political beliefs are different from theirs?  Fine!  If someone gets offended because you speak the truth?  Fine!  Focus on doing your job well, treating people as they deserve to be treated (think about the wording of that for a moment), and you'll be 100% okay.  More than that, you'll have the peace that comes with knowing you're not a fraud.

What DO you stand for?  What ARE you standing for that you shouldn't be?


  1. Well stated! Having spent 10 years in Radio earlier in life, and being a Communication Major by degree, when social media came along, I looked at it at said "Oh. Another stage-managed platform." And that's how I treat my personal FB page, and my theatre blog: a highly polished version of myself that I one day hope to own up to.

    Sadly, most people haven't had that sort of background, and it's like handing a 6 year old a credit card in a candy store. What makes it so bad is the inherent self-centeredness of Social Meda. It's MY facebook page. It's MY Twitter account. So therefore, everything said is probably about me, and was obviously intended in the worst way possible.

    The 'Net's a tool. Like a hammer, you can build up, or tear down. I love the fact that Social Media keeps me in touch with Above The Rest, and allows me to share one of the best repeat experiences of my life.

    Unfortunately, too many people view these forums as a chance to rant without thinking of who's one the other side of the screen. Don't let 'em get you down.

    And sheesh: talk about first world problems. I can imagine the complaints y'all must get. Bottom line: You're staying in a luxurious cabin in one of God's prettier corners of the planet. What, the wi-fi's out? SUCK IT UP!

    Seriously, keep it up. Life's a little better 'coz Above The Rest is in it.


    1. Thanks Scott! Actually, I was motivated to post this because I made a comment as "the business" about a photograph of a horse at a local stable, training to "show" with a chain on its leg. Racking horses, (Tennessee Walkers, Saddlebreds, Missouri Fox Trotters, among many others) are naturally gaited - they have a distinctive way of moving that is very smooth to ride. Unfortunately, they've been exploited into exaggerated, non-natural gaits through a variety of cruel techniques, including but not limited to, weighing their legs down when they're not moving so that when the weights are removed they will step higher, into that extremely unnatural gait. I questioned the presence of the chain on the horse's leg, and the owner of the stable got extremely defensive rather than just explain it. That told me what I needed to know. She went non-linear about how unprofessional I was. That's fine.

      Other means of getting those horses to "rack" is to use acid, drive nails into their hooves; it's a horrible industry. At a recent meeting of the TWHA (TN Walking Horse Assn) when the inspectors showed up, over 90% of those present to show shoved their horses into trailers and high tailed it out of there rather than have soring inspections done.

      Anyway, I simply asked a question, and I am okay with asking it as a business, because my personal principles and my business principles are the same: my integrity and honor don't change depending on which hat I'm wearing.

      I totally understand what you're saying about the "6 year old with a credit card" and that is the primary reason I shut down my personal page. There is far too much negativity/stupidity/etc. and it's too easy to get sucked in.

      Thank you for your kind words! We're always delighted when you're on the mountain! Wishing you all the best....