September 16, 2009


Life is about focus. It doesn't matter if you're the man who paints the Mackinac Bridge, the company that razes a classic structure, a teacher in a classroom, a tile installer, a manager at a tool and die, a trainer ... It doesn't matter. Focus is the name of the game.

Back in '97 or so when Kirk Gibson released his "autobiography" Bottom of the Ninth, I might have been the only person at the book store in Mt. Pleasant repeatedly asking when it would arrive. It's not like today when you can pre–order on and receive the book a couple days before the release date.

It's an inspirational book. Written with Lynn Henning, longtime Detroit newspaper man, Gibson covers his career from high school through college and the minor leagues. The book focuses on what he learned throughout, but mostly the lessons he learned in the Major Leagues.

The best part of the book, though, is the quote:

Keep your eye on the prize.

This post is not about baseball. This post is about selecting a direction and going in that direction.

My college roommate and now longtime friend Brian Plemel had an uncle. Uncle Harris would visit us at Central Michigan University during the '90s. He was wise fellow and Brian respected him greatly. One day, I noticed Brian had written "Stay the course" on a sticky note and stuck it on his bulletin board.

"What's up with that?" I almost laughed. Grammar, I guess.

"Rick, you have to have a goal, know where you want to go and how to get there, and then do it," Brian replied. "Uncle Harry taught me that long ago."

Stay the course.

Brian's goal was to work for one of the Big Three. For those of you who don't remember ... (no, I'm kidding, if you're reading Rick's Writing Again, you remember when Detroit ran the country ...) Out of college, he hooked up with a position in human resources at at Ford plant in Illinois. Not bad. He now works for Harley Davidson. "Great place to work," he told me.

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