I really should have entitled this series of posts differently. I really learned these lessons from my parents, reading Louis L’Amour’s novels just strengthened the lessons. Reading his books made it easier to understand how and most importantly why these lessons are life altering, and in such a demand. These lessons shouldn’t go out of style instead they need to become part of who we are.
Louis L’Amour used loyalty as a central theme in every one of his novels that I recall reading. Whether it was the loyalty to one’s family, which is found in the Sackett novels; or the concept of riding for the brand, which is found in all of his novels, it was a central theme of his.
To us today, it could be defined in both as well. When we’re a part of a family or even a group of friends, we need to be loyal to that group. By that I mean we hold up our end of things, we don’t do things that will damage the group’s reputation or good name.
To ride for the brand means that we are loyal to our clients, we protect them, work for them, advise them, but most importantly we take care of them. Their needs come first, after that we can think about ourselves. In many of his stories, the hero must make a choice, ride for the brand and face danger even death, or look out for his wants.
The loyalty combined with the other attributes that I have written about, integrity and hardwork, make it easier for the hero to make the choice. Most of the characters in his novels don’t even see it as a choice, rather as what they agreed to in riding for the brand. Come Hell or high water, that is what they’re going do.
This all goes back to concept of putting something before yourself, of being ready to give up everything for a greater good. It is the same quality of commitment that our soldiers give us every day. It is what makes them heroes! They are unselfish, brave and committed to follow a greater cause. In our businesses, that greater cause is the needs of our clients, we not are being asked to sacrifice to the extent that our soldiers are, but are we willing to be like them, putting a client first, are we willing to accept that our needs are secondary to theirs?
To me, that is loyalty. That is riding for the brand.
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