Kevin Jones January 27, 2020 I recently had an opportunity, a long time in the making, to go back to my hometown in Ashe County, North Carolina and address the latest graduating class of a wonderful regional leadership development program, Leadership Ashe.
While I certainly took a few moments to reminisce about the past, I found it appropriate to think along with these impressive, selfless folks about how we shape the future by how we approach the present. While not an original concept—it’s often attributed to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and seen in faith devotionals—I love the idea that “today is day one.”
What a great idea that is for approaching the new year that’s upon us, the notion that today is day one. It’s about so many things, depending on your context. In a faith journey, for example, today is day one often means shedding the burdens of yesterday, those areas where you fell short of your best, the ways in which you hurt others, or the guilt you carry from these times of your life. Being our best selves means not being self-defeating.
I consistently think of the today is day one concept and try to apply it to my work here at Celero. And when I do so, it’s almost the opposite of that faith journey, where you’re setting yourself free of yesterday’s troubles. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for leaving failure behind, after taking your necessary lessons from that to make yourself stronger. Rather, it’s more about the concept of the value we bring, to our company, to each other, to our customers.
As we sit here in January of 2020, the beginning of year two at Celero, after a very successful first year, it’s still day one. The journey still lies ahead of us. The mistakes, beliefs, and achievements of the past certainly help dictate our starting point, but it’s all in front of us yet again. And most importantly, to stay fresh as leaders, we have to come in and look at things with the perspective that it is our first day on the job. That’s how new leaders and consultants are initially impactful. They don’t have the legacy skeletons, pride of authorship, relationships, and barriers built slowly over time. They come in with fresh eyes, identify the issues, and solve them. I challenge myself and my generals to do the same every year: “What would you do if you knew nothing and no one and this was your first day?”
I love how this concept applies to everyone, whether you’re a young high school student, somebody’s grandmama, or a 48-year-old fintech executive like me. Thinking about one of my favorite Avett Brothers lyrics—”Decide what to be, and go be it”—my own concept of day one means that we start all over again. We start all over in proving our value to others, fulfilling our individual purpose, providing for others in our lives, and impacting our communities. I must do all of these things in my role as CEO at Celero, and day one means being accountable to everyone in my life and my pre-ordained purpose in this world, to use my gifts and the qualities others develop within me to shape a better future.
Yesterday’s gone, today is right in front of us, and tomorrow is coming like a rocket. What will you do today, on your day one, to shape a better future?