Oddly enough it was not personal catastrophes, pain or losses that pushed me to the point of death. It was, instead, the people who believed. They believed in me more than I.
The biggest changes came from two things:
Introductions - A friend or associate had just enough appreciation of my hard work to introduce me to another who would change my life.
Invitations - They would make an invitation and ask me to attend an event, a club, a meeting, a dinner, etc.
With each introduction and invitation I have connected with people who leave me humbled and appreciative. Those I connected with did not appreciate a person with clever wit, no matter how clever or how witty. Instead they acknowledged and treasured commitment, compassion, loyalty and action.
Where can you find such people who have a truly selfless commitment, loyalty and the willingness to take action?
This true story happened when I was 55 and is one example of where you can find such people:
Late one afternoon, in the middle of the Nevada desert, I was racing the sun in a rental car. I would not want to admit that I was racing over the speed limit to beat the sunset. Arriving at my destination before dusk was a top priority after a serious car accident the previous month. During one particular long stretch of desert highway it was necessary to slow down because of heavy debris spread over the two lane highway.
My first thought was of how the debris was going to delay my arrival. As I slowed and gave a glance to the left, I noticed a vehicle upside down about 40 feet off the highway. Just to be sure (with my mind still on my destination), I maneuvered through the debris, parked the rental car and began to walk towards the unusual scene.
I will admit that my thoughts were mostly about someone full of neglect, stupidity and laziness. My first impression with thoughts about people who would “camp out” in their vehicle in the middle of a desert included, “Who could be so crazy?"
As I walked closer, I heard the screaming. There was screaming not from one but three voices. The cell phone instantly became my new best friend and I was hoping for a signal in the middle of nowhere. I was thankful the 911 signal was available in the middle of the desert and with each step towards the car I described what I saw to the 911 operator.
The car was flipped and I was the first on the scene. The mother was trying to crawl from the front passenger seat to a rear window which had broken but she was caught in her seatbelt. Two babies were in the back seat and I would bet their lives had been spared because of the car seats. These same car seats which had saved their lives had become a trap as they screamed non-stop, just as loud as their mother. There was no pause for breath, only crying in agony. I found the father in the driver’s seat trapped and lifeless. Since he was sitting in the drivers seat and appeared to have first impact, if he was still alive, the pool of blood and crushed car gave me little hope for life. I passed my observations on to the 911 dispatch operator. The closest town was many miles away and the volunteers had to be notified. The 911 operator said, “The best we can do is 45 minutes”.
Traveling in a rental left me with no tools and there was no communication possible to the three in pain so I stood and waited with only a hope and prayer. Over the course of the next 45 minutes a car here and there would stop. They would rummage through their trunks and we found very few resources that proved to be helpful.
One by one cars would stop about every 10 minutes and soon we had a group of people with little skills or tools but who were very willing to do whatever it took to help. By the time the EMT vehicle arrived we had about five people trying to be of assistance but without the tools or training we were getting little accomplished. Upon arrival, the EMT volunteers were immediately in motion and giving directions to the newly formed team of complete strangers.
There was no hesitation, there was no “I am not getting paid.” You did not hear “It is not fair the he is on the phone and I am working harder than him.” Everyone stood ready to help. There was an invisible bond and understanding, “We are going to do this.”
There was a truly a selfless commitment to do whatever it took to save the mother and her two children. Those in this newly formed team were, at that moment, truly selfless, committed, loyal and willing to take action.
The mother continued to scream and the babies continued to cry. The EMT team was able to finally cut the seatbelts and very slowly pry the mother out of the vehicle. It was obvious that she had major damage done to her back and legs. Looking at the smashed car upside down, I know that it was a miracle that they had lived. Even to this day I wonder about them.
I have often said: "My favorite age was 8 years old when everything was fun." This man who thought that his most favorite age was 8 years old with wit and cleverness; he died that day.
The witty and clever me who always had the perfect quip to offer, morphed into someone more serious. The thought of having total freedom and the option to pursue any adventure I chose became less important. The loss of a father and husband, the survival of a mother and wife, and the two children whose lives had changed… this changed my paradigm.
While I died at 55, here I am today ready to shake your hand and make your day. In the old days I would have been thinking of how to take advantage of every opportunity to get more, make more and be more. In the old days I would have been more opportunistic for my own benefit.
The focus is now on you, your family, your health, your job and your business.
What is the answer to creating success? Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy may have said it best:
"If you help enough people get what they want, you surely will get what you want." - Zig Ziglar
"Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'" – Brian Tracy
Consider putting these on your list of principles to follow:
Commitment beats clever. - Yes, people with a dash of clever and great commitment are very special.
Make more introductions. - Lives change because you introduce people to other people, and also to ideas, solutions, and possibilities.
Make more invitations. - Lives change because an invitation is made to an event, a meeting, a moment, or an adventure.
Take action with a purpose. - When you connect with others, before you do anything else: Don't just sell. First, make their day.
Every day is a blessing, make it count.
Avoid being a Know-it-All and assuming. - If I had assumed the car included a family of weird bums, I would not have stopped.
These six points can help you start your own success checklist. Whether it is about sales, success, happiness or job satisfaction that you are looking for…
Sometimes you have to be willing to give up something good in life
… to get something even better. Giving up ‘good’ may be the hardest thing in life to do.
Whether at an event or meeting, there is a high likelihood that you will meet people such as those I met during the unhappy incident in Nevada who were committed and amazing. They are the right people to connect and build success with. Watch for them. They may be closer than you realize.