Number One

I want you and everyone I have ever met to be number 1. That is, to be as much themselves as possible. I am myself. I am me, and I have never met another like me. I have no intention of glorifying myself. I simply mean that I am myself and want others I relate to be themselves.

Throughout my work with children, young adults, professionals, and entrepreneurs, I not only wanted people to be themselves but also did my best to make this happen. Promoting self is vital to me.

To clarify, the desire to be oneself is central to me. I also realize this is difficult if your history is about not being.

The other night, I dreamed that I was at the Kitchen Table, sitting across from my two-year-old son. I was reading the paper and enjoying a cup of coffee, and the child across from me said, “Dada.” I slowly put the paper and coffee cup aside, grabbed the child, and held him close.

I said, “I love you,” and held him even tighter. “What do you want to say?” I asked him.

Instantly, I had another dream segment. I heard the child say, “Dada,” yet continued to read the paper and drink my coffee. I did not ask for more. I heard him but kept my nose in the paper, ignoring him. What message did that send?

All of us are born unique. We are one of a kind. Yes, strong similarities exist, but we are not identical. I believe in the specialness of every individual on this earth and treat each person with whom I meet and live in that special way.

When I hugged my son in my dream, I not only told him that I loved him but was ready to hear more from him.

During my many years as a leader of leaders, I always listened to my employees and friends and never treated anyone with less than respect. I listened, asked questions, and took care of what needed to be cared for. 

As a leader, I was, and am, also a role model and teacher from my behavior and by simply being me. I know I have power that must be exercised wisely. It is what people see me being. If I want people to be themselves, I must acknowledge their efforts. 

A major problem is one’s history. Moving past the childhood environment is challenging to deal with. Even one’s present life at home and with family is not a small thing. 

My approach to people is consistency, respect, and regard. It is imperative that my message and support for a person is to be as much themselves as possible. This could not happen if I treated them as things. 

To me, everyone is a number one. They may see themselves as a 2, 5, or 8 because, without question, that is how they were treated as children. None of this is inherent in blood or DNA. All is conditioning. I know for a fact that in healthy and loving relationships, people can come to be number one. They are born with this potential, which remains with them, even if buried deep by their family. When I worked with individuals, their history made no difference to me. I treated them as number one, and guess what? That’s what they became.

You and me are one—Not me ahead we are one—I will help you be

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

One thought on “Number One”

  1. It was some forty years ago, when I was a young pediatric dental specialist struggling with staff management issues that I first heard about Sy Ogulnick. He was a psychologist and a communications consultant who could help me manage my growing staff. Little did I realize that Sy Ogulnick would not only help me manage my dental team but also help me manage my life in the process.

    His quarterly visits to my office were part of a greater process toward personal growth, which helped me communicate with my staff at the highest level. I learned about vulnerability, presence, and congruence as a means of connecting with my team members – not as employees but as human beings and equals, all working towards a common goal. He permitted no manipulation of others in the process. For this to happen, I had to develop trust between myself and my team. I had to learn to listen more and talk less. I could see from the start that there were going to be no quick fixes to these staff communication issues.

    Once my employees realized that it was safe to express themselves freely, our staff meetings became productive. I discovered that we are all very different people with different backgrounds, different life experiences, different skill sets, and different baggage. As team members began to feel heard, understood, and respected, they opened up and contributed to the growth of our office. They could share valuable perspectives I couldn’t hope to have myself. We learned to delegate responsibilities to those who were best suited to handle tasks they enjoyed. The environment thrived, and my practice grew. My office became a happy place for my staff, my patients, their parents, and myself. I began to receive phone calls from physicians whose kids I treated. They had heard from their spouses about our incredible office, one in which everybody seemed to be truly happy at work. They wanted to know how I did it.

    It was all about the wisdom of Sy, who once told me that we have no earthly idea of the impact we have on those around us. I thought of my high school wrestling coach, who convinced an entire team that we could win any match we competed in. He worked us hard, prepared us well, and turned us into champions. When he passed away, I realized that I never told him how much he meant to me. Sadly, he had no earthly idea of the impact he had on me.

    Sy Ogulnick has been that mentor to me and so many others. He extrapolated the teachings of philosophers to formulate his own thoughts on leadership, power, and the abuse of power. He compiled these thoughts and sent them out to those he worked with in the form of these single-page papers. Sy states that quality leaders teach primarily through being who they are and, in the process, become students to those they teach. In this remarkable series of essays on subjects ranging from leadership and power to insights on aging, he graciously shares with us his philosophy of life. Sy touches our hearts as he inspires us all to become our true selves.

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