How Are You Doing Today?

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

How are you doing today?  Hope you, your family, health and business are doing well.  I realize these times can be challenging, especially if you live in Houston or Florida.  So how do you handle the tough days, when life seems overwhelming?

I use a Mohammed Ali story to illustrate how important it is to never give up.  This comes from Art Zorka, who is a consultant and professional magician.  He was in the New Orleans airport, had just finished up a meeting, when Ali walked up to his gate and said ‘put em up!”  Zorka was not sure what he meant.  Ali had noticed Art’s briefcase, it had a message on it: Magic, a vanishing act!  Ali wanted Art to show him some illusions before getting on the plane.  So he does.

Art boards the plane, settles in, when the flight attendant tells him he needs to move.  Art says he is in the seat assigned, flight attendant says Mr. Ali would like you to sit next to him.  So he moves up to first class, sits down next to the champ.  Not sure if you have ever sat next to someone rich and famous, it is hard to know what to say, how to lead into a conversation.  Art gave us the perfect intro: what is the greatest lesson you have learned from life?  Mohammed did not hesitate, said it was Feb 25th, 1964, when he fought Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Championship.  Sonny was a formidable opponent, he had been in the ring many times against bigger, faster men, and had recently defeated Floyd Patterson in a first round knock-out.

Sonny came out the first round fast and hard, looking for a quick victory.  Ali was quicker and dodged the first attack, came back at the end of the first round with a combination that showed he had power and this was not a walk in the park.  By the third round Ali was doing well, had actually hit Liston with a series that opened up a cut under his left eye, the first time he had ever been cut.  Fourth round, Ali came back to corner with blinding pain in his eyes, told Angelo Dundee to cut off his gloves, throw in the towel, he was done.  Dundee refused.  It has been rumored that Liston had ointment used to seal up his cuts applied to his gloves, that was what was blinding Ali.

Fifth round, Ali was exhausted, too tired to go back in, and his eyes were really bothering him.  The story is that when the bell rang, Dundee pushed Ali back into the ring, told him not to come back to his corner until he was the Heavyweight Champ of the World!  In that round his sweat and tears had rinsed the irritation from his eyes, he came back with a vengeance.  When the seventh round bell rang, Liston did not answer the bell, Ali wins by a TKO.  When asked why he did not answer the bell, Liston claimed a hurt shoulder.

A rematch was scheduled for the next year, May of 1965.  Ali knew he had to move fast, Liston had concrete ribs, and could take a punch.  So he scored a knock down in the first round, at 56 seconds, called the phantom punch, since no one saw it!  Liston goes down, later slow motion video showed Ali did connect, but did not go to a neutral corner, so the ref did not start the count.  Liston got up after a count of 20, but the fight was stopped shortly after, lasting less than 2 minutes.  Ali won by a knockout.

So Art says, what is the greatest lesson: keep on keeping on, fight through the pain, never give up?

Ali says no, the greatest lesson is to have someone in your corner who will push you to do things you think you cannot do, and you don’t want to do.  That is the greatest lesson.

Brings me to my typical application question: who is in your corner, who is pushing you to do things that you may have thought were impossible.  In some cases it is a spouse, or family member, someone who knows perhaps better than you what potential you have.  I have a favorite saying, you never know how far you can go until you have gone farther than you have ever been before.  You may have a business coach who is engaged with helping you succeed and prosper, helping you to move the profitability needle upward.  It may be you are in a best practices group that meets on a regular basis and looks at every aspect of your business.  Could be your distributor rep is an accountability partner, who makes sure you are doing the things you have committed to do.  Perhaps you have a partner in your business helping you achieve higher levels of performance both personally and in the company.

In any case, we all need the gentle (or not so gentle) nudge to move forward, even when it hurts, when we are tired and just don’t want to go back in the ring.  Go for it, you may just win the belt!  Ali did at 22 years old, he was the youngest to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson took the title when he was 20 years later.

So get into a group that will look at your operation and help you make positive changes, sign up for a coach to help you with business, ask your distributor how they can help.  And let your wife, husband, or significant partner know you want them to push you when the going gets tough.  It will pay dividends.  Literally.  Thanks for listening, we’ll talk later.

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