Personal Development

The rules for survival

Since we went on our Alaska cruise, my wife and I have come to love everything about the 49th state.  We have spent many enjoyable moments appreciating the vastness and beauty of the land and have even taken a bush plane to north of the Arctic Circle to see the fabulous Northern Lights.

We have also become addicted to watching many of the Alaska shows that feature various characters living and working in different parts of that vast state. Among our favorites is “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” a Discovery Channel series that features the Kilcher family, who live on a homestead near Homer, Alaska. 

Good television shows are always about the characters, and Jane Kilcher, who is married to a grandson of the original homesteader – is a wonderful character. Even though she is from Alaska, she is a city girl.  She likes pink and pretty things, but is also gutsy and tough. She speaks her mind freely and is willing to give anything a try.

One of the episodes features her 5 Rules for Survival – and I think these lessons are priceless for entrepreneurs and leaders alike, as well as for anyone who is striving to be the best version of themselves.

  1. Never give up. This doesn’t mean don’t adjust your sails or modify your course. But it does mean to keep your eye on the prize. Others will help you if needed.  If you stay focused and continue, the reward is usually worth the sacrifice.
  2. Expect the unexpected. On the show, the Kilcher family has dealt with mudslides, earthquakes and wildfires. We see these kinds of natural disasters regularly on the nightly news. We can’t ignore reality. Real life has better and worse, sickness and health, sadness and delight, triumph and tragedy. We need to be prepared to deal with life as it is.
  3. Always be teachable. Somebody always knows more about a subject than you. Be willing to grow and learn and appreciate the lessons that surround us each day. Keep an open mind. One of the absolute requirements to join a Vistage Group is that the member needs to have that open mind and be willing to learn and grow.
  4. Be willing to do anything that needs to be done because it builds character. I remember when I first reported to Marine boot camp. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, I was scrubbing bathroom floors on my hands and knees. It was humbling, but I realized that somebody had to do it, and those drill instructors were trying to build my character. And Jane points out quite accurately that a healthy, positive attitude can move things along.
  5. Know your strengths and weakness. If you don’t know, trust me, your spouse and your closest friends will be happy to fill you in. Leverage your strengths, and likewise identify where you need to improve and work hard to build up that area of your skill set.

Thanks for the great tips on surviving life in the Alaskan wilderness (and in the office), Jane.  We’ll see you in our living room!

Category: Personal Development

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Michael Malone About the Author: Michael Malone

Michael Malone has spent more than 41 years in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve. He has been a CEO and senior executive in several technology companies, and has been a Vistage Chair since 2005. You can learn more about becoming …

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