Oddly enough it was not the personal catastrophes, pain or losses that pushed me to the point of death. It was instead, the people who believed, who believed in me more than I.
The biggest changes came from two things:
Introductions - A friend or associate had just enough appreciation 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. It was not the clever wit that helped to improve connections. 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 an 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 don't want to admit it, but 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, heavy debris over both lanes forced me to slow to a crawl.
My first thought was about the delay. As I slowed and glanced to the left, I noticed a vehicle upside down about 40 feet off the highway. Curious, I maneuvered through the debris, parked the rental car and began to walk towards the unusual scene.
I will admit that I jumped to the conclusion that someone was neglectful, stupid or lazy. My second thought was “who would be crazy enough to camp out in the middle of a desert?"
And then I heard the screaming. There was screaming not from one but three voices.
I grabbed the cell phone hoped for a signal in the middle of nowhere. I was thankful the 911 signal was available in the middle of the desert and made the call. I described what I saw to the 911 operator and rushed more quickly to the car that I found flipped upside down.
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 since the three were screaming in pain, I could only wait 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 found very few resources that proved to be helpful. Over time we had a group of people with low skills and few tools but very willing to do anything 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 little was 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. (The father had passed on.) 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 seat belts and very slowly pry the mother out of the vehicle. It was obvious that she had major damage to her back and legs. Looking at the smashed car upside down, I knew it was a miracle they had lived. Even to this day I think about this family.
Over the years you might hear me say: "My favorite age was 8 years old when everything was fun." This person whose favorite age was 8 years old, full of 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 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.
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 say 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
Commitment beats clever. - People with a high commitment and a dash of clever are special.
Make more introductions. - Lives change because you introduce people to others, 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 first. - If I had assumed the car included a family of weird bums, I would not have stopped.
These six points may help you start your own success checklist whether it is for sales, happiness, relationships, career 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 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.