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Living in the Arena

By Sadie Hess, Founder & CEO

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt

The first time I heard this quote, I cried.  Mr. Roosevelt truly understood what it is like to run an SLS and ILS agency!

It has been a year of living in the arena.  I can’t believe it’s been a year since we came up with the grand concept of Renaissance. And what a year it has been! I knew that we were undertaking a lot but now I realize we were moving huge boulders to bring ourselves back into closer and tighter relationship with both our clients and our staff.

 

As painful as the process has been, and as much as there’s been to do to make it all happen, I would do it all again in a minute. This journey has been about something of the utmost importance–relationships. When it all comes down to it, the thing that makes the world go around is relationships. It is the messy, raw, real part of us that reaches out and touches another messy person. It is the arena.  It is the place where you fall and must get back up again.

 

 

I won’t say that the Renaissance process has been smooth and there were things that we could’ve done differently, but in the end, I’m proud of us. I’m proud that we were brave and willing to go back to our roots. I am delighted that we were willing to look at ourselves and make important, hard changes. I honor my team for digging in, sucking it up, and utilizing the resources that we had. Our face is marred with dust and blood and sweat. 

This is living your values out loud. Excellence is not just a place you arrive at and then you’re done. It’s not a day on the calendar you mark. It is the grueling every day process of looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing what is good, true and real, but at the same time, looking at what needs to be improved, changed and reborn.  We spend ourselves on the worthy cause of doing something great together—we are not just a service, but a community of people demonstrating what real relationships look like, act like and share.  We stay in the arena together. 

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