Avoiding the Hamster Wheel

By: Katie Kershman

Mark Hoog, a captain with United Airlines, successful motivational speaker, and bestselling author was a guest speaker this week for Bill Shuster’s marketing capstone students. I found his presentation interesting, motivating, and moving and thought it was something important to share with all of you. During his time with my class, Hoog gave a brief explanation of his history. He is a relative local from Loveland, Colorado. At twenty-one he became a pilot for United Airlines. There he met one of the most influential people in his life, Jason Dahl captain of United Flight 93 that crashed on September 11. After a performance review, they became close friends. During the performance review, Dahl asked what Hoog would be remembered for within the company once he was gone? The question resonated with Hoog, and inspired him to take the next steps in his career that eventually led to his motivational speaking.

At the opening of his speech, Hoog explains that most people spend their life on a hamster wheel running as fast as we can with no direction and ultimately never getting anywhere. Successful people find what makes them unique. They focus their energy on their unique differentiation and it powers them to excel. This success boiled down into four categories he referred to as freestyle, passion, leadership, and contribution.

Freestyle focuses on your individual gifts. What it is that makes you a unique and special person? What do you do that is better than your competitors? Along with this idea is the second category, passion. Hoog challenges us to find our purpose. What really makes us excited? Passion is something you can’t fake. The third category changes gears and looks at the individuals around us. To be a good leader, figure out how to take one person to the top. Hoog explains that people do not want to be managed. They want to be led. The key to getting rich is figuring out how to make those around you wealthy. The final category of contribution is to live life without limits. Everyone is waiting to be noticed and given an invitation, don’t be afraid to take an interest in other people’s lives. Invite people to join in the game of life.

Hoog closed with the proclamation that the market place will always make room for excellence. The economy will turn when people stop being on the ‘hamster wheel.’ Ask yourself what it is you do to make a difference?


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