We were out with some friends yesterday evening and I was visiting with a friend of ours named Mike who had recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas. When I asked him about the highlights of the trip he said, "Driving a race car on a NASCAR style track!" He proceeded to tell me about driving in excess of 140 miles per hour and the rush associated with it.
"They secure your helmet to the back of the seat so you are pretty much forced to look forward at all times. You can't care about what is going on behind you, you just have to look ahead always." said Mike. That got me thinking about how important the power of focus is when you are flying around a race track at 150 mph. How many times do we go through the race of life focusing on what is going on behind us, and all around us?
We cannot control the events that have occurred in the past. The past relationships, successes, failures, and dreams. What we can control is where our focus is right now. Learning from the past is good, but if you are living in the past it makes it impossible to move forward.
I have visited with a number of business owners, community leaders, and members of the media today regarding the House passage of the Health Care Reform Act. While the vast majority of small business owners are going into "freak out" mode with the prospect of 30-60% tax increases, I encourage everyone to redouble your efforts on pursuing your success.
People don't usually get paid to freak out or to worry. (Rush Limbaugh, James Carville, and others excluded) Focus on growing your businesses and careers. Your economy is much more important than THE economy.
1. Rekindle an old business contact to let them know you are still alive. (A client of mine did that this morning and was pleased to hear them express interest in their product line)
2. Read. You never see a Barnes and Noble next to a "Buy Here, Pay Here" car lot. Reading is muscle building for your brain.
3. Exercise. The late Jim Rohn said, "You can't pay someone to do your push-ups for you!" Do a little something every day to keep your belly at bay!
Last night Shelly and I attended Branson's end of season wrestling banquet. Awards were given, stories were told, and the coaches were thanked. The highlight of the event was when the mother of a boy on the team came up to thank everyone on behalf of her son.
While you wouldn't expect someone's mother to speak on behalf of their son in high school, it is important to realize that her son, James, is autistic. Many children with autism dislike being touched and are anything but social; yet James enjoyed a fun season. Her comment to the coach and his teammates was that James has "different abilities". The coaches and kids embraced James as the fellow teammate that he was and pushed him to do his best. While he did not win many matches, he tried his best and enjoyed the experience. When the banquet was over, many people were touched by her kind words and were also grateful for the kindness and belief that the coaches and team possessed.
That got me thinking about how many times I have seen people try to get some kind of "special" treatment because of this condition or that condition. They invest 100% of their energy on lowering the bar of expectation for themselves instead of pushing themselves to grow. I have had the privilege of working with people who have looked at a perceived disability as a different ability. Some of us possess disabilities that are physical, others possess mental challenges.
My favorite author, Vince Flynn, is dyslexic. Yet that has not stopped him from writing 12 best selling books. My friend, Roger Crawford is missing the lower portion of one of his legs. That has not stopped him from helping people discover their possibilities by speaking all over the world. The world is full of examples of people who have made a decision to embrace life as a participant, not a victim.
The story about James Plavak is not only a great lesson because of what he decided to do; it is a great lesson about what is possible for all of us to do when we embrace the strengths and possibilities of people who have abilities which are different than our own.
How many times have you heard someone say, "I have 20 years experience in this business." While they may have worked in that particular industry for 20 years, chances are their career path looked like this:
- Year One- Worked their tail off. Learning everything they could, reading everything, growing their value.
- Years 2-20- Lived with the "Been there, done that" attitude. They know everything, have done everything, and don't have to read some silly stuff, attend silly seminars, or listen to silly audios.
People wonder why their incomes and their careers have stagnated. Perhaps they should consider the importance of constantly sharpening their life skills, job skills, and value. We cannot control everything that happens in this world, but we can control a lot of our world.
Be part of the 10%! I had an opportunity to meet Brian Tracy the other evening. One of the alarming stats he shared with us is that only 10% of people will seek outside learning experiences. Brian was one of the speakers and authors who I studied very early in my speaking career. Isn't it amazing that 10% of people seek outside learning opportunities, and roughly 10% of people are financially independent? Think about it....
Yesterday, I was visiting with someone who saw me speak a couple of weeks ago. She is part of a large direct sales organization that sells products via home party. We were visiting about her business and she mentioned that she would like more parties on her calendar. "I just want to purchase some of the new inventory that just came out, then I will book some parties and show the new product." she told me. She did not have the extra money lying around to purchase the new inventory but had quite a bit of last year's product on hand. I recommended that she put some parties on the calendar, sell the inventory that she had, and then book additional parties in the future to show the "new and improved" line.
She was committing a huge mistake that sales professionals make every day. She was buying into the "I will when..." line of thinking. "When the kids start school, are done with school, we have new product, have discount product, Saturn aligns with Venus..." You get the picture. There is no substitute for activity. No matter what product or service you are selling, you make an appointment to be exactly where you are today 60 days prior. If you want to be busy and flush with business 30-60 days from now, I suggest you pick up the 300 lb. phone and start setting up appointments. Ask past clients to do business with you again. Ask people for introductions to help you grow your business.
It is very easy to buy into excuses instead of activity. Keep in mind that most people who agree with whatever excuse you may be buying into are not making the kind of money you would like to make. Go out there and go on an "excuses diet!"