A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

Getting to Did! (Coming Out in February 2009)

We’re closing in on the publication of my next book. “Getting to Did! How to Get Rid of Your Big BUT and Live a Life without Regret.” Working on getting the cover done and final editing. 

For your reading enjoyment, I am including the introduction below. There will be more information in the weeks to come. Keep your eyes open for pre-publication ordering specials.

Enjoy!

 

Sam’ Crumbling World

Sam’s world was crumbling. Have you been there? Are you there? Are you afraid you are going there? Then you know how Sam felt. Not that his world had ever really been that big or that stable. But it had been his. It had been comfortable. Had been. Now it was collapsing.

Sam was 49. He had been semi-happily married to Susan for 25 of those years. His oldest son, Sam Jr. was 23 and a recent graduate from Sam’s alma mater. Sarah, the lone female, was 20. Scott was 17 and would be starting his senior year in high school in just a few months. The youngest, Sid, was 14 and going into the eighth grade.

Seven months ago, Sam was at the top of his world. A few years earlier, he had been promoted to Vice President of Sales in the company that had pursued him as a salesman when he was 32. He and Susan had finally bought that bigger home. Since Sam had been given a company car, he bought Susan the Lexus she always wanted. Things were good. But then Sam’s company was sold. The buyer wanted to keep several workers in Sam’s company, but wanted to rely on her own management team. Sam no longer fit. She let Sam go the week after Christmas.

He was given a decent severance package, promised a good recommendation and then politely escorted with his box of office paraphernalia off company property, where he called Susan to pick him up because he was no longer allowed to use the company car. She handled the news relatively well. Sam cried for a week.

For months he called it his worst Christmas present ever. However, in years to come he called it his best.

Realizing Susan’s income, supplemented by the severance package and their meager savings, could support their lifestyle for about a year, he started looking for another job.  “Really,” he thought, “I don’t know why I’ve been so depressed. I’m highly qualified. I have a Bachelors degree in business and marketing and a Masters in accounting. I’ve worked for the same company for 17 years. My track record is good. Who wouldn’t want to hire me?”

Sam, however, learned that “overqualified” was the politically correct and lawsuit safe euphemism for “too old.” None of the companies to which he applied wanted 49-year-olds with good track records. They were too busy head hunting 32-year-olds with promising futures.

 Though he was only halfway through his severance package, Sam felt he was at the end of his rope. As he often did when particularly stressed and depressed, he manicured his lawn. Keeping his yard “green and pristine,” as he called it, was about the only joy he had. It gave him time alone to think, provided a sense of accomplishment and, if nothing else, hid from the neighbors the turmoil going on inside the house.

He had just finished and was sitting down on his back deck with a glass of ice water, when his neighbor, Dave, came around the corner of the house and said, “Hey Sam. How’s the job hunt going?”

“Great Dave, just great. You trying to pour salt in the wounds?”

“Still no luck, huh? Keep trying. Something is bound to come up.”

“I hope so, but I’m beginning to doubt it. Right now, however, I’m more ticked at Scott,” Sam unloaded.

“What? I thought Scott was the good kid.”

“He is, but we’ve been fighting a lot lately. He’s going to be a senior this year and I’ve been on him to get his application in to the ols alma mater. But he keeps putting it off. I told him if he keeps waiting, it’ll be too late and he’ll be stuck going to the local community college. Do you know what he said?” Without giving Dave time to answer, Sam continued, “He said, ‘So? I’m not sure I want to go to your alma mater anyway.’” Sam gave an exasperated “you know how dumb kids can be sometimes look” to Dave, but Dave didn’t respond.

Sam simply continued talking, “I told him I was only looking out for his own good. He needed to go to a good school, study hard, make good grades and then he could get a good secure job and provide for his family. You know what he said then?” Sam plunged on, “He said, ‘You mean like you?’ Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.”

“Well, Sam, he does have a bit of a point. It’s hard to take that kind of advice from a guy whose good secure job has left him so insecure.”

Sam, his eyes wide, spluttered, “Well… yeah, I know. But I just want what’s best for him. My dad went to that school and so did his dad. It’s done all of us well. I mean, didn’t you want Dave Jr. to go to your alma mater?”

“I guess I might have, if I had one. But, I never went to college. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted Dave Jr. to go. I thought that was important, and I told him so. But I didn’t think it was so important he should sacrifice what he thought was important.”

Sam sat in stunned silence for a moment. Dave the most successful men he knew didn’t even go to college? How could that happen? He owned several restaurants and a few apartment buildings. In fact, it had always amazed Sam that Dave lived in his neighborhood, when surely he could have afforded something much more. Dave and his wife Deborah always looked happy. In fact, despite their having been married over 40 years, Sam always had the impression they were newlyweds. He chalked that up to no longer having kids at home. On top of that, he had heard Dave’s kids were also pretty successful.

“You never went to college?” Sam questioned, words tumbling out in gusts. “How on earth have you done so well? Did you get a big inheritance? I could sure use one.” Sam slouched back in his chair.

Dave smiled slightly. “I guess you might say I got a big inheritance, but not the kind you’re thinking of. I consider my dad one of the most successful men to have ever lived, but he never had much money. There were some things he always DID however. He always DID his best. He always DID what he enjoyed. And he always DID take care of us. He died while I was still in high school.” Dave paused, looked up and smiled again as though he had just relived some great moment. Then he continued, “He DID leave me a legacy of knowing how to get things done. That’s why I’m successful. That’s why I was able to start my first restaurant when I was 25 and then invest in several franchises over the years. That’s why I was able to get into real estate investing. That’s why I was able to quit working for money in my 40s.”

“Yeah, I coulda started my own business, but I was newly married and I needed the benefits, you know what I mean?”

“Sure, I know,” Dave responded. He continued after a brief pause, “Exactly what are those benefits doing for you now, Sam?”

“Well, I shoulda handled my money more wisely, but my wife and kids were always wanting more and I wanted to give them the best. You know, I wanted them to have what I never got.”

“How much longer are you going to be able to do that, Sam?”

“Come on, Dave, I woulda got a job by now, but all those companies want young guys. I feel like I’m in my prime. Fifty is the new thirty, you know, but they think I should be put out to pasture. I wish I had done things differently, but hindsight is 20/20. I’ll just have to live with my regrets. Right now I just need a job.”

Dave fixed Sam with a hard gaze. He paused for a moment as if measuring the words in his mind before letting them slip out of his mouth. “Sam, if you want my advice, you need to get rid of your big BUT.”

“What?!” Sam squawked nearly spilling his drink as he jumped forward in his chair. “You…you think my weight is holding me back?”

“Wrong ‘butt,’ pal. You’re filled with COULDAS, SHOULDAS and WOULDAS. Then you cap them all off with a big BUT. That’s why you’ve got so many regrets. You need to turn those into CANS, SHALLS, WILLS and DID. That was the inheritance my dad left me. He taught me to get rid of my big BUT, to reach my potential, getting past COULDA, SHOULDA and WOULDA and get things done. Or as I call it, GET TO DID. That’s what’s helped me be successful. That’s what’s helped me live a life without regrets.”

“Wow…I think,” Sam said, scratching his head. “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Sounds like some kind of crazy PMA stuff we used to get from the home office.”

Dave responded, “No, it’s not just PMA and you probably do know what I’m talking about. You just don’t realize it. You can’t possibly have been as successful at sales as you have been without following some of the principles I like to share with people. You just don’t realize how they apply to everything in life, even trying to make ends meet after losing your job. Somebody told me that Plato said all learning is really remembering. I don’t really know what he meant by that. But I’ve found that when someone passes on a true principle to me, I really already knew it in my gut, I just needed someone to formulate it into words to give it power in my life.

“I’ve been watching you and hurting for you, Sam. I normally wait until someone asks me for advice to give it, but we’ve been friends for a while and I’d like to ask you to trust me and let me give you some real help. In the end, if you think it’s crazy and my friends and I are just flukes or flakes, you can go back to hunting for a job your way.”

Sam crossed his arms and cocked his head to one side. “So you think you could help me by GETTING TO…what was it you said?”

GETTING TO DID. No, I COULD not. I steer clear of the COULDAS. Rather, I CAN, I SHALL and I WILL. In fact, consider it DID.”

Sam’s face said it all; he didn’t get it. “Dave, what you just said didn’t make a lick of sense to me.”

“Of course not. You don’t know the tools yet. But if you’ll let me give you just a few opportunities to talk with my YES MEN and me, you’ll understand all of it.”

YES MEN? I already don’t like the sound of this. I’ve never liked those kind of people.”

“That’s because you’re thinking about a completely different kind of YES MEN than I am. But again, that’ll be something you learn  when you talk with my friends. How ‘bout it?”

“Alright, Dave. This sounds crazy, but I think you must know what you’re talking about. I mean, I guess it can’t hurt,” Sam gave a weak laugh, “When do we start? I only have about six months to get things on track or it’s foreclosure and dog food time.”

“Let’s start in the morning. I’m already having coffee with one of my advisors then. I call him my TRAINER. I’ve stayed in touch with him for years because he helps me turn my COULDA into CAN. I’ll let him know you’re coming. I CAN get him to clear some time for you and let him teach you the first step on the journey to DID. Meet me in my driveway at 5:45.”

 

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October 23, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, My Books, Success | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yes, Sam, You Need Some YES MEN

 

In Getting to Did: How to Lose Your Big “But” and Live a Life without Regret, my upcoming book, Sam’s world craters, leaving him unemployed and foundering as he tries to find a job. Enter Dave, Sam’s successful neighbor. Dave introduces Sam to three friends who help him get rid of his big “but” and turn his couldas into cans, his shouldas into shalls and his wouldas into wills. Check out what Dave’s COACH taught Sam about Making the PLAY and how you just can’t do that without “Yes Men.” I know, sounds odd. But check out this excerpt and let me know what you think.

 

 

          Sam said, “Okay, I get the PASSION, LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, and ACCEPTING NO EXCUSES. But what is up with this YES MEN thing? I’ve always hated that.”

         The COACH responded, “Yeah, Dave told me you were already upset about that one. The normal connotation of YES MEN is dreadful. We don’t want people who just always say, ‘Yes,’ even when they disagree in order to get on our good side. That, however, is not what I mean by YES MEN. We want people who will challenge our thinking and expand our vision.

         “These YES MEN are people with whom you surround yourself to encourage you and hold you accountable. They are the people who tell you, ‘YES, you CAN,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I can’t.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you SHALL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I shall not.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you WILL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I won’t.’

         “Your YES MEN are your accountability partners. Dave and I get together regularly along with the TRAINER and the PROFESSOR to act as each other’s YES MEN. Further, we get together with many of the other people we have helped along the way.

         “I hope you don’t think it’ll be a cake walk from this point on. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had this conversation with who end up settling for mediocrity in their lives. They don’t step up to the plate. When you talk to them today, they’ve just grown their big ol’ BUTS back again. Without fail, each one started back into their old habits of COULDA, SHOULDA and WOULDA by neglecting their relationship with their YES MEN.

         “As you pick out your YES MEN, don’t pick out the ones we often think of as YES MEN, the ones afraid to state their convictions and disagree when it’s necessary. They won’t help you. Pick the ones who’ll push you. Pick the ones who’ll force you to get up when you have fallen. Pick the ones who’ll question you and make you clarify your vision and your course of action. Pick the ones who’ll ACCEPT NO EXCUSES. But make sure to pick out YES MEN who are willing to say ‘YES, you CAN,’ even when no one else has before.

         “When you have established your council of YES MEN, be completely open and honest with them. Let them know your plans, dreams and visions. Let them know the obstacles you see and the struggles you face. Let them know your fears. Then listen respectfully to their advice. Remember, it’s just that, advice. You SHOULD still be you and you must make your final choices. Good YES MEN will ACCEPT NO EXCUSES from you, not even, ‘I did what you YES MEN said I SHOULD.’

         “Here are the benefits of YES MEN. First, two heads are better than one. Even with all of your INSIGHT into your work and life, it’s still hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. It’s always good to get advice and counsel from others with differing perspectives.

         “Second, you’ll be surprised how often your network of YES MEN can actually help you with your projects in practical ways by connecting you with others or with needed resources. For instance, when I first started working with this high school, you may remember the team had maintained a losing record for several years. The school board had cut the budget. We were in desperate need of new equipment and didn’t have the funds.”

         “Oh yeah, I remember that,” Sam said. “I remember little Sam complaining about some of the outdated and dilapidated equipment. One of the local sporting goods stores stepped in and made some donations didn’t it?”

         “That’s right. What you don’t know is those donations came because I laid out my troubles to my YES MEN council. The TRAINER had a connection with the upper crust at that store. Dave had an accountant friend who explained the tax advantages of making such a donation. Voilà, our equipment issues were resolved.

         “The third benefit from YES MEN is they help pick you up when you fall down. Before I moved here, I had an experience so devastating I was ready to throw in the towel. I had made a few mistakes in my first head coaching job. Instead of letting me learn from them and grow, one of my assistant coaches, a man I thought was a friend, went behind my back to get me ousted so he could have the job. It was my introduction to another aspect I hate about this job—school politics. I was down and the ref had counted to 9. That was when Dave really came into my life. He had been my landlord for a few years. One day he was just checking out his property and struck up a conversation with me. I guess I needed someone to talk to because I just opened up to him like he was my best friend. He taught me about GETTING TO DID and ever since he has acted as my YES MAN, picked me up and helped me move on. I’m just going to tell you, you can’t replace that or manufacture it on your own.

         “Fourth, maybe I think this because I’m such a people person, but life is just more fun when you’re sharing it with others. Your council of YES MEN gives you people to laugh and cry with. It gives you people to support and people who support you. It gives you people who will pat you on your back when you do well and kick you in the backside when you slack off. It just makes life more interesting and more fun.

         “Finally, when it’s time to do battle and go toe to toe with the ones who’ll try to knock you down and keep you from reaching your goals, your YES MEN provide you with support and strength you WILL never have alone.

         “My game is a game of YES MEN. I have yet to see the one man football team. No PLAY in my game is ever made by a single player. I never let my team forget that. We have to support each other, defend each other and bust heads for each other. In the end, I’m convinced there’ve been some games we won simply because we ‘YES we CANned’ each other through it.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | My Books, Success | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment