I’m not sure who the first motivational speakers were. Aristotle, Plato and Socrates come to mind, though it could have been Adam & Eve’s parents.
Then there was Friedrich Nietzsche who said, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I have said that death will catch you someday so just go for it. And years ago I was captivated by Tony Robbins and his concepts of pain vs. pleasure.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of being motivated by Jack Canfield, best known for his “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, which along with writing partner Mark Victor Hansen has reached 225 titles in 47 languages with 500 million copies in print.
Canfield presented at the Saturday METal breakfast group in Los Angeles. At one point he had about 100 of us standing and swaying like drunk sailors at closing time. More on that later.
Canfield said his original book idea was rejected by 144 publishers in 18 months. They said the title stinks or the concept was too cute or not edgy enough. He never quit.
Neither did a man who had a Lexus auto dealership, according to one of several stories by Canfield. Business had been fine until the 1990 recession struck. Sales hit the skids. Rather than wait for potential buyers to come in the man went to where the customers were instead. He started visiting country clubs, golf clubs and other upscale places. The opportunity soon came for the man to make a sales pitch. Sales boomed.
“He took the Lexus to where the buyers were,” said Canfield. “It’s easy to blame something or someone else. Your goal should be to change your response to events. Navigate and shift. Don’t let yourself get stuck.”
Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t have. Don’t focus on the problem but instead a vision on how to solve it.
And focus on Big Hairy Audacious Goals, an term coined by Jerry Porras and James Collins in their book “Built To Last.” What can separate leaders from losers is the use of ambitious and outrageous goals.
“Think big and create a breakthrough goal, a quantum leap goal,” said Canfield.
If you reach for the stars you might might not get there but you could land on the moon.
“Along the way you’ll grow. It’s not the achievement of the goal, it’s who you become trying to reach that goal,” he said.
It’s like what businessman and entertainer Jimmy Dean (1928-2010) once said, “I’ve been broke a lot of times, but I’ve never been poor.”
Another success story is about Albert “Cliff” Young, an Australian potato farmer and childhood sheep herder who won a 544 mile ultra-marathon at age 61. It’s a true life story of the tortoise and the hair. He arrived to the race, in 1983, wearing overalls and rubber boots. He ran at a slow loping jog and lagged far behind the leaders.
“He had an advantage know one knew,” said Canfield. “He didn’t know you are supposed to rest, get some sleep sometimes in a race that long.”
He ran while others slept and eventually won my a large margin, finishing in five days and 15 hours, shattering the old record. The lesson here is that what you think is right might be the thing that’s holding you back.
“Don’t let your thoughts block you from being successful,” said Canfield. “Believe in yourself. Understand how powerful the mind is.”
You can read more about Canfield from this blogger here.
Now, back to the swaying sailors at the METal breakfast hosted by Ken Rutkowski. Canfield had the breakfast group stand up. The lesson was that your whole body can sometimes provide you answers the mind can’t. In the standing position ask yourself questions that have a true/false, yes or no type of response. Notice which way you body leans when the answer is yes and when the answer is no. This exercise can provide clues on which direction to lean toward when you’re not certain of the answer.
I am leaning toward wrapping up this column to focus on some big ol’ hairy goals. I will wind up with something Canfield said about the state of our nation.
“We are a country right now without a vision,” he said. “No one is excited so we are divided. We are focusing on what is wrong rather than what we want to create.”
So let’s create something big and hairy.
Strength & honor,