September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - October 2002

Dream weavers are change catalysts who champion the improvement of all situations they encounter. They work as smart as they work hard and are amazingly productive.

2002-2003 ASSE President Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE

Managing Your Career: Dream Weavers

SH&E professionals can learn much from successful business people. The most successful business people I have encountered are dream weavers. They have a deep-seated belief that there are people who will help them pursue their dream and vision. This energizes those who work with and for the dream weavers. Martin Luther King did not galvanize an entire race by saying, "I have an objective." He did it by saying, "I have a dream."

Dream weavers cultivate that same kind of emotion in their people. They make the difference between excellence and mediocrity, largely because they virtually eliminate small thinking and adversarial relationships. What distinguishes these visionaries from others?

Return often to the right source. Dream weavers drink deeply from sources of internal security-sources that renew and recreate them. These sources nurture and nourish them, enabling them to grow and giving them insight, inspiration, direction and peace of mind.

Seek solitude and enjoy quiet time. Dream weavers practice reflection and contemplation. They find opportunities to be alone in order to think deeply and enjoy silence. These leaders make time to reflect, write, listen, plan, prepare, visualize, ponder and relax. For example, when I travel, I don't take a pager or a cell phone unless something critical is going on with the company. This gives me "down time" to think through things-a scarcity during the nonstop work week.

Sharpen their saws regularly. Dream weavers exercise mind and body each day. This means reading and listening to things with which they may not agree. They are confident enough to examine opposing views and discuss them openly. Serve others. By returning often to nurturing sources of internal security, dream weavers restore their willingness to serve others effectively. They conduct themselves with a certain measure of humility, and take delight in anonymous service, feeling it is the rent paid to live in this world. By serving others without self-concern, they are rewarded with increased internal security.

Lead balanced lives. Dream weavers know current affairs and events. They read The Wall Street Journal, Time and Business Week, the local newspaper and nontechnical books, as well as technical materials-things that widen their perspectives. They are active socially and intellectually. Their sense of self-worth is manifested through their courage and integrity-and by the absence of a need to brag, drop names and borrow strength from credentials, titles or past achievements.

Believe in others. Dream weavers don't overreact to negative behaviors, criticism or human weaknesses. Instead, they look inward to correct problems and hold themselves accountable for their errors. They are mentors to others with no requirement for a return on their investment. These leaders see the dividends as the growth of those being mentored.

Radiate positive energy. Dream weavers are cheerful, pleasant and happy, their attitude optimistic, positive and upbeat, and their spirit enthusiastic, hopeful and believing. This positive energy surrounds them and attracts others. Everyone wants to be part of the success.

See life as an adventure. Dream weavers savor life. Their security lies in their initiative, resourcefulness, will power, courage, stamina and native intelligence rather than in the artificial safety of their home camps and comfort zones. These visionaries push the envelope to make the most of every event. They are synergistic. They are change catalysts who champion the improvement of all situations they encounter. They work as smart as they work hard-and are amazingly productive.

Are you a dream weaver? Success is what you make of your given situation. Most of our success is based on our attitude-how we react to what happens to us. We can't control what happens, but we can control how we react. Take the time to stop and smell the roses, think, reflect and ponder.

Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE