January 13, 2013

Ray Tabbita on defining a task, the power of decision, and long term work ethic.

We met Ray through an interview Nik did on SOFREP radio.  Ray, a long haul trucker based out of Michigan, was fired up on Paleo and decided to call and talk with us about Paleo Treats, and talk we did!  

45 minutes into our conversation we were convinced that he was a perfect choice for our next ambassador; driven, capable, and the kind of example American citizen we'd like to hold up to the world and say, "See, THIS is what we're all about."

Of course, it doesn't hurt that he can tear a phone book in half or roll up a saucepan with his bare hands, or hammer a nail through a board with his palm, but those are just external manifestations of the qualities we really admire.  

When we asked him if he was interested, he gave the classic Midwestern answer: "Let me think about it".  

Man, we LOVE people who take the time to do things right, whether it's making a decision, building a table, or driving a truck route.  Here are his responses to our 2013 Ambassador questionnaire.  Enjoy!

Ray Tabbita

1. What thoughts do you think when you're focused on a task?  Is there a consistent refrain that runs through your head? RT - First I define the task and make it as simple as possible.  I tighten it up so I can focus.  As I'm going along, I make sure that I am heading in the right direction, accomplishing what I am supposed to do.  I ask myself, "Did I accomplish it?"

2. Which has more personal growth value for you, failure or success?  Can you give an example? RT - My answer is I learn from both.  If I fail, I ask what I did wrong, find out what I can learn from it, and what were my mistakes.  I also do the same thing with success.  I find that if I succeed, I want to know why. 

What did I do right?  I give them both equal weight.  An example is when I got my job driving a truck.  At one point, I was unemployed and went for interviews and they told me I would have to relocate to another state.  That was intimidating because they wanted me to relocate very quickly, like the next day. 

I decided that I was going to make this happen.  The job was that important to me.  I jumped in my car and didn't know where I was going.  I had an address 400 miles away.  I got on the expressway and decided I was going to get to that address by the next day. 

Nothing was going to stop me.  It happened, I succeeded, I got there, interviewed, and got the job.  I had to overcome fear and ignorance of where the place was and what they wanted. 

I could have said it was too fast, I didn't know where I was going, I couldn't afford the gas, the car could break down, I don't have the proper resume, who do I think I am? Instead, I said I needed that job, wanted that job, it was a good job, and I was going to get this done.  (PS. I have worked there for 25 years!)

3. What was one huge obstacle you had to overcome to get where you are? RT - Long term work ethic.  By that I mean when I was younger, I had a lazy streak in me.  I would see these older guys that would work really hard, and I would look at them and wonder why they worked hard, day in and day out, without goofing off like I was doing?  At certain times, I would watch them and I would admire that they were working so hard, and I realized that this was a good quality to develop. 

I talked to one of the guys and asked him why he worked so hard, when he really didn't have to - no one was looking.  He told me that his daddy taught him that if you were going to do a job, to do it right.  I've heard that before and thought it was stupid, but I also knew that he was right, and that the problem was with me. 

I should try to develop good work ethic because if you goofed off in one area, you were going to goof off across the board. I knew it would help my character to be a good worker even when I didn't have to, even when no one was looking. 

It sounds simple, but it wasn't.  I would stay on the wagon of working well and doing anything and everything I could, but that lazy streak would come back and get me again.  I knew having work ethic was important, and I wanted to keep working on it.  It took a long, long time for me, like a decade, to ingrain that in me.  I wasn't competing with anyone but myself to be better.

4. We see ourselves at Paleo Treats for what we are; a cookie company.  We're not saving the planet or creating world peace, so we're always a little surprised at the intensity of the response when people taste our cookies.  We think it comes from the relentless pursuit of excellence, which is what drew us to you.  We know where our drive comes from, is there any moment or person or time frame that developed that pursuit of excellence in your own life?

RT - When I was about 12 or 13, I started lifting weights.  I wanted to get better, and I knew if I trained really hard I would get better and better.  I realized that the hard work was helping me make progress.  But when I hit 16 or so, and started doing other work that I didn't see a benefit in, where I could goof off, there didn't seem to be progress from the work. 

The work no longer mattered, so I got lazy.  The man who I mentioned above, who had such good work ethic, reminded me that everything you do, from the time you get up to the time you go to bed, should be excellent;  the best you can do.  I realized that he was right.  That was my "a-ha" moment. -Mudflap Over and Out!

Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?

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