We all serve a purpose in life. Find time to show appreciation to those you care about. The reward and memory you will create is better than any successful profit metric you could meet and achieve.
By John Paglia III

January always seems to be a month to motivate yourself, your team and others with new resolutions, goals, and ultimatums. Depending on who you ask, to form a habit, good or bad, it could take on average 60 to 90 days. Our industry, at it roots, has remained the same, but the challenges have only evolved. We have not had 60 to 90 days of status quo to evaluate a metric and work towards achieving the goal set. Society has shifted to an instant gratification mindset, putting pressure on business leaders of today that did not exist in years past. Adapt to the change or get left behind, is something that has stuck with me in my professional career. I have taken it one step further and driven myself to be the catalyst for change. Whether it is a large or small idea, believe in achieving a goal backed with passion and integrity, and you can go as far in your career as you can dream.

Spending Time with Loved Ones
The unfortunate reality is that no matter how hard we try, ultimately there is not a way to pause time. Time continues to tick forward for all of us. It is very easy for all of us to get stuck in a habit of “being too busy” for anything but work. I made it a goal of mine this past year to stop doing that. Our industry requires a sense of urgency no matter what department you try and relate it to, but we must remember we should never be too be distracted to forget about the things that really matter—your legacy and the relationships this industry will forge. Without dwelling on the past, we have all dealt with unexpected losses personally since the wrath of COVID came into existence. The industry has lost veterans paramount in their roles of changing the industry. I find myself racking my brain for the last memory I had the opportunity to spend with an individual no longer here with us, and I seem to hold onto a common theme and question: Did this person know I cared about them? Did they know that I appreciated our time together? More than ever before, my mindset has become to live like every day is your last and never miss an opportunity to spend undistracted time with those you care about.

In December, the week before Christmas, I had one of my longest tenured relationships in town. It is a known fact that when we get together, we cannot help but talk work and industry, but always have fun when doing so. When I was contacted by my family-like-colleague about his passing through town, it would have been very easy and responsible to decline our day to get together and kick it to a later date due to my current workload. I am proud to say, I did not miss the opportunity to spend time together. Like I said earlier, we never know when our time on Earth is up, and I would not be able to live with myself if I had a window of time available, but I was too distracted by the tunnel vision of the business to see the real opportunity in front of me. During our time together, I did not pass up the opportunity to not only tell him how much I cared and appreciated our personal and work relationship, but I showed him by working my tail off to make sure I sent him home with coolers full of fish. We have talked about fishing together for years since our last adventure. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a passion for my family and friends, the industry, then an even third and fourth for hunting and fishing. What makes life special is when I get to live my life spending time with those I care about, creating memories in activities I am passionate about.

Set Your Goals
I say all of this to hopefully trigger something in your brain to appreciate the opportunity and people in your life. It is perfectly fine to have a mission in business to grow it or stay status quo. I encourage you to set your own goals; do not feel the need to compete with the pace of your friends or colleagues. We all serve a purpose in life. Find time to show appreciation to those you care about. The reward and memory you will create is better than any successful profit metric you could meet and achieve. In fact, I argue, with better forged relationships and treating others how you wish to be treated, it will only make your challenging times easier, especially when you need a favor. It also is way more satisfying navigating your mission in the industry and developing and maintaining lasting relationships along the way. In 2021, I made many new relationships, many of which I am excited to see how they develop in the future. I wanted to kick off this year of articles with letting those know that I appreciate our relationships—new and old. If I can ever be of help to anyone, personally, spiritually or professionally, I am here to share my experiences with you. Happy New Year to all and I wish you all health and happiness in 2022. | WA

John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man and President of IMG, the parent company of Florida Express Environmental and United American Recycling. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world that we live in today. He continues to cultivate his passion for business leadership, innovation, and education through his memberships in the National Waste and Recycling Association, SWANA, NWRA’s Legislative Affairs Committee for Florida, National Interstate Insurance Corporation, and the Future Industry Leader Association. He is also an active member of the Detachable Container Association. In the fall of 2021 John was nominated into Florida Trends 500 Most influential business leaders across the entire state of Florida. John can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.floridaexpress.us.