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April 2014
Moments of Courage

Tom Hogue  April 2014

Life is a funny thing. At certain points along the journey, I like to turn around and reflect on how I got to where I currently am. The past is often riddled with mistakes and regrets, but also with rebounding, rebuilding, and renewing. But none of that happens, without courage. I can remember clearly some times in life where tough decisions have to be made, and my bravery (or some may call it insanity) made all the difference.

Here are some examples of courage that I am proudest of.

Sitting at that table with my buddies at a company Christmas party, when a young salad girl we worked with for months walked in, almost unrecognizable, and every bit as beautiful as a model. When Jorma commented, “Oh my God, is that Rachelle?” And then Bob tapped me on the arm, and challenged me, “I dare you to ask her to dance.” I was very lucky that I had the courage to approach her when the slow songs came on, and held her in my arms for those 10 surreal minutes. Over the next three months, I would have the courage to ask her out every two weeks, until she finally relented and said yes to that first date. And later the courage to stand outside the restaurant with a single red rose on Valentine’s Day to hand her as she entered work, that changed the course of my life forever.


In business, I’ve had the courage to approach people that I recognize as rare talents, to add them to my team of superstars. The moment I asked Amber to sit with me as she was managing a restaurant, and asked her about her career goals. Or the conversations I had with Mike as a Subway manager, who would sit with me and share a sandwich while discussing his dreams and ambitions. Both are now cornerstones of our amazing company, and I couldn’t imagine life without them.


I’ve also needed the courage to weather some tough storms in the company as it’s been necessary to part ways with leadership that may not be a good fit. It takes courage to rebound from the effects of those changes, and sometimes the loss of good clients. Most recently I’ve discovered it takes great courage to more clearly define a company’s strategic vision, values, and commitment to excellence. It requires a lot of hard work and commitment to doing the right things that will eventually pay off in spades.


So to myself and the readers of this blog, I encourage staying the course and remaining strong and steadfast. Remember, courage is not necessary when things are going smooth, rather only in tough times or uncomfortable situations can courage shine the brightest.

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