In a business planning session, my client, Rich, shared, “There is a local company that really inspires me. The owners, two brothers, started with nothing and grew a really impressive business. I see them around town and I think, ‘Good for you. You and your team, you’ve created something magic. You raised the bar in your industry and became a legend in our town.’ That is what I want. For people to talk about us that way.”
We spent the afternoon discussing and documenting what a company like that would look and feel like. We explored a Mission Statement and set Goals for the next year. We updated the Organizational Chart and who on the team was ready to step up. Rich and his team committed to projects – rebuilding their training center, selecting a new accounting software, updating their price books – that would move them in the direction of the goals. It was a really positive and inspiring day.
“That’s what I don’t want.”
As we were wrapping up, Rich said, “I feel better. We’ve been getting stale. The other day, I was in the supply house. The guy, Carl, behind the counter has been there for thirty years. I’ve watched Carl grow old and cranky. Whatever fire was once inside him has burned out. That’s what I don’t want to happen to me.”
And that is what it takes. A spark. An awareness of what you don’t want and a commitment to what you do want. I was happy to be a part of this moment. He captured the spirit that has become the magnetic core of their company. They are on their way to legendary status.
“Where’s the spark?”
I’m intensely aware of how fleeting and precious this lifetime is. I’m proud of all that I have accomplished, however there are still things I intend to achieve. I’m making this year my best year yet. To kick it off, I committed to interviewing over twenty of my favorite people, friends and business mentors. I asked them what ‘sparked’ them, and how they keep the light burning. Here’s some of what I learned from a couple of experts…
The author of Stop Your Drama, Marlene Chism used to work on an assembly line. Uninspired, stuck, she had the courage to face her fears and quit a secure, benefits-heavy job. She went back to school, studied business and behavior, and embraced her own spiritual journey. She has made a career of helping people deal with the inevitable drama that is part of the human experience.
Super Salesman Jeffrey Gitomer kind of fell into a sales job. Then, he realized that, as he got good at it, he could make a career out of helping others be successful. However, he suggests that providing great service is a nice consequence, but not what drives him. Instead, he aims to make friends and do right by them. It makes him happy. Jeffrey prioritizes his own happiness and everything else falls into place.
For me, the spark ignited when I figured out how to make money. When you charge more than it costs, you manufacture profits and cash. Wow. Honorable, profitable business expands peace, prosperity and freedom across the planet. I embrace the adventure and generate the energy because it’s a blast to help others build winning businesses, too. It drives me, it fuels me, and I am getting all pumped up just typing this.
What’s it going to take to get you fired up? Do you want to be Rich? Or do you want to be Carl?