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Are you polishing the brass every day?


A friend of mine was in the Coast Guard for many years. At one point in time, he had the opportunity to tour a Navy ship. From what my friend shared at that time, it seemed like the Navy had nicer ships overall than the Coast Guard did. Now, I've never been on either a Coast Guard ship or a Navy ship, so I can't tell you personally if this is true. But that's the impression I got from what my friend shared.

He said when he was touring the Navy ship, one thing in particular stood out to him. He said he was impressed with how shiny the brass details were throughout the entire ship. Now, he was touring a Navy ship. I'm sure there are lots of impressive things on a Navy ship, but the shiny brass is what stood out most.

Throughout the tour, several other people commented on how shiny the brass was as well, so it wasn't something that only my friend noticed. At the end of the tour, the group met with some of the leaders on the ship, and one of the guys asked how they kept all of that brass so well polished.

The answer? They polished the brass every single day.

The tour group was a little surprised. They couldn't believe that every piece of brass on that ship got polished every single day.

One of the ship's leaders went on to explain that if you don't polish brass every single day, it will tarnish, and it starts to tarnish immediately. Polishing the brass every day was also reflective of the larger philosophy of the ship to consistently take care of the little things.

It's a good lesson for all of us, too. What are you doing to polish your brass every single day? What little things are you doing to get better every single day?

Just like brass, the minute you stop looking for ways to improve, you're going to tarnish. But if you consistently make a small effort to improve over time, you'll stay shiny and ready for what's ahead.

Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall

Crandall is the Principal of Sandler in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He works with business owners and motivated individuals to create and implement Professional Development Strategies to foster the growth of individuals, teams, and organizations.