Have you ever taken a red-eye flight across the country to say goodbye to a friend who is dying? That’s exactly what I did five days ago on Easter Sunday. Bill Ball, my 44 year-old best friend, was in ICU at the Cleveland Clinic and his body was betraying him after battling leukemia and being hospitalized for the last four months. He was in full-blown organ failure. Other than his heart, kidneys, liver, and bone marrow, the rest of his body was doing great. But apparently those organs are somewhat important, at least according to the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic. Who knew?
Before we go any further, I want you to know that Bill has rallied big-time in the last 72 hours! He is out of ICU and all of his organ are responding, including his kidneys. (I haven’t been that excited to see someone peeing since my kids were potty training.) He still has a long row to hoe, but his doctors are now very encouraged (and encouraging) that he will be back on track by the end of next week. If things go as planned, he will have a bone marrow transplant then and be on the road to recovery.
So what does this story have to do with success and sales? EVERYTHING!!!
In Allen Iverson’s infamous 2002 rant, he said “We’re talking about practice…” 17 times in just 1 minute and 39 seconds. If you haven’t seen the video, it is embedded below. (Just click the picture of Allen to watch.) Allen attempted to minimize the fact that he had missed a practice by saying that he always answered the bell when the game was being played. Allen claimed that he understood that he was supposed to be a role model for his team mates and lead by example. But he also intimated that HE didn’t need to practice anymore…. That he had arrived. Allen was dead wrong, and so are you if you think you can skip “practice” and just turn it on during the game.
Malcolm Gladwell suggested in his book Outliers that to get world-class at something it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice/performance. I’m sure Allen has his 10,000 hours in, but to stay world-class you must continue to work on building your skills. As anyone who has been stupid enough to take up the game of golf will tell you, you can’t work on your swing/game while PLAYING golf. You must pay the price on the practice range.
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It’s not uncommon in our world to applaud workaholics. Hold them up as heroes. You’ve seen this type of highly charged entrepreneur or independent salesperson. They race around, cantankerously announcing that they are exhausted, so busy, swamped, slammed. They’ll tell you there isn’t enough time to get everything done. They think they’re successful, you think they’re successful, and they definitely seem prosperous to the world. But, if you think about it, that really doesn’t make much sense. You can only TRULY be successful if you can actually reap the benefits of your hard work.
Look, I’m probably the last one that should point fingers. I ran 60 – 70 hours a week for close to two decades, never taking a true vacation. (A cell phone or beeper was always strapped to my side.) When I began to take stock of my life, I realized that I had not taken a vacation longer than 7 days since I’d begun my commission-selling career in 1979. I’m not sure I was completely present to my wife and daughter during my go-go years. I still struggle with that now, even in semi-retirement.
How do I know you suck at saying no? We all do. It’s part of the human condition. But if you are going to build your Voluntary Benefits business into something that provides you true abundance, you are going to have to get much better at saying no. That’s not just my opinion. James and Claudia Altucher, in their book The Power of No, make a compelling case that the word ‘no’ can bring you health, abundance and happiness. (To find out more about “The Power of No” just click on the picture of the cover.) Apparently Nancy Reagan was right! We can, “Just say no…..”
On Monday I wrote about the power of what I call the “one more.” (Read it here.) In fact, I gave you my 8 “One Mores” that make all the difference.” So I think it’s only fair that I give you 8 things you must remove from your business to experience abundance. After all, the great sculptor Michelangelo was quoted as saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” In other words, he felt that the angle wouldn’t be perfect until every ounce of marble that didn’t belong was gone. The only way to remove the following 8 things is to just say no to them.
Can you believe that one freaking stroke in golf could be worth $720,000?!?!?
If you don’t follow golf, you may not have noticed that 25 year-old Rory McIlroy won his 4th “Major” this past weekend at the PGA Championship. He has now won two majors in a row and is ranked the #1 player in the world. To say that Rory has had a good summer is like saying that Bill Gates has money.
As you know by now, I had the privilege of interviewing Tom Hopkins last week for the Success Is Voluntary Podcast. (Listen to the interview here.) It was a great thrill for me and I have received incredible feedback from many listeners. Even though we spent almost an hour together on the call, I didn’t even come close to asking Tom all the things I wanted to. After we stopped “taping” Tom and I talked for another 15 minutes and he offered to come back on in six months to follow-up with some of the questions we couldn’t get to.
As I mentioned on the podcast, I have studied Tom’s books, techniques and audio programs for 17+ years now and thought I was about as close to an “expert” on Tom Hopkins as there was. Having said that I was taken aback by how much I still learned in less than an hour. Because I was the interviewer, I got to pick the questions that I wanted answers to and was able to ask follow-up questions. Instead of slogging through 300 pages of a book or watching 12 hours worth of a video course and then still getting a generic solution to my situation, I was able to ask THE EXPERT specific, targeted, case-specific, questions. Do you know what that sounds like to me? COACHING!!! (Shameless Plug Warning— I offer a 30 minute free coaching session and a paid coaching solution too.)