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The Code of the West

By Sam Sterner

Six and a half years ago, I moved to Laramie, Wyoming, and began the next five years of my life as a college student at the University of Wyoming and member of the Wyoming Cowboys football team.  On the first day of fall camp my freshman year, then head coach Joe Glenn introduced to me an idea that has impacted my life ever since.  It was a reading from a book called Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From the Code of the West.  The main points of the book are summed up into what is called “The Code of the West”.  This is nothing more than 10 bullet points every person should base their life around, and every company should as well.

  • Live each day with courage
  • Take pride in your work
  • Always finish what you start
  • Do what has to be done
  • Be tough, but fair
  • When you make a promise, keep it
  • Ride for the brand
  • Talk less and say more
  • Remember that some things aren’t for sale
  • Know where to draw the line

Two of these stick out to me as something that I feel is needed more in this world, for both businesses and people.  They are “Take pride in your work”, and “Ride for the brand”.  Both of those reflect off each other.  They represent doing things right the first time, and being proud of the product you put out.  It is a way to show you enjoy what you do, and no matter what, your best effort is put forward.  In my time spent visiting with business owners and managers, it has been a real pleasure to see the people who I feel “ride for their brand”.  They put forth an attitude and a work ethic that becomes contagious, and I have learned from many ways to better myself and effort in dealing with others.  I would encourage others to find those people who lead by these ten examples, and see what you can learn from them as well.