When John MacDonald first proposed to build the great New York Subways people laughed at him. He went to one “big” financier after another and the answer of all was the same: “Dig a tunnel under all these streets and houses, with their maze of pipe lines and electric cables and gas mains and sewers? Impossible!”
According to Robert Collier, in his book Life Magnet, John held on to one main idea: “You have a cellar under your house, haven’t you?” He asked each person he approached “and you dug it without much trouble didn’t you? Well, I’m not thinking of building a tunnel the length of this island. I’m planning to dig a string of cellars – and THEN connect them together!”
Needless to say, we know the end to this story! John finally found a man big enough to see the idea AND to back it!
We often think we have to be skilled in a particular area in order to bring an idea to life from that area, yet history is filled with men and women who excelled in areas that were completely opposite to what they did day to day.
Pasteur was not a doctor, yet he did more for medical science than any doctor. Bell was a professor of elocution. Morse of telegraphic fame was a portrait painter – NOT an electrician. Dunlop (tyre maker) was a veterinary surgeon. Gillette was a traveling salesman.
Mr. Collier wrote Life Magnet in 1927 and definitely had a possibilities mindset. He said “In this day of miracles, it would be a hardy spirit that would say that anything is impossible. The time is not far distant when men will harness the tides, get motive power and much of their food from the air and from the tropic seas, talk to anyone anywhere and see them while they talk. These and a thousand other inventions even more wonderful are in the very air. Why shouldn’t you be the one to start some of them?”
We now live in an age where Collier’s predictions have come to pass…. where Skyping is normal. We have no idea what’s possible or what we’re truly capable of, but nothing happens unless we start something.
Many think that we need some kind of boost, some measure of pull to help us up out of where we are. We envy those born in a particular area or into a family business, or with more money than we possess. But this external gazing will only make us green and keep us stuck.
My grandmother was fond of saying that necessity is the Mother of Invention. What we need is a PUSH not a pull to help us along. Robert makes an interesting observation: “Unfortunately, most of us are so constituted that, unless we have to put into the fight, all our strength and energy, we just jog along in a slothful, ambitionless sort of way, getting nowhere. The saving event in many a man’s life has been the blow that knocked the props out from under him and left him to look out for himself.”
So the next time you are inclined to envy others with more luck, or money or privilege remember to pity those folks because they have lost the greatest thing there is in business and life – the need for INDIVIDUAL INITIATIVE!
How then do you make the leap from mediocrity into the successful man or woman you were meant to be?
There are four broad areas of daily activity that successful, self-made men and women undertake more effectively and consistently than most people. I stole this from entrepreneur Lewis Schiff.
Together these four words spell out LEAP.
Learning – successful people expend more time and effort discovering what they do best and pursuing opportunities related to what they do best.
Earning – successful people take on projects and make deals that maximize the dollar potential of those opportunities while limiting their downside risks.
Assistance – means that these successful individuals actively cultivate networks of friends, associates, and partner so they can get help and advice on all the tasks beyond the bounds of what they do best.
Persistence – all successful people take an authentic interest in their setbacks as an important AND necessary aspect of the success process.
As I coach and collaborate with others on creative projects, I have found that the weakest link is in the learning and discovering of what one does best.
On a recent Miami business trip, I visited a very nice wine bar called Uvaggio. It’s described as a place unlike any other, fusing old world European charm with modern day Miami, perfectly marrying hand selected boutique wines with tasty bites. My colleague Nigel and I were blown away by the energy in this eclectic wine bar, and the service was excellent. I asked Heath Porter, one of the owners, what was distinctive about them. He did not hesitate to share and it was no generalized spiel about we provide quality yada yada and great food. They were definitely focused on their wines and everything else was created to align with those wines including the food.
Do you know what is distinctive about you? What you do best? When you consider that 1 in 3 employees is able to say that “at work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day,” according to polling by Gallup.
A recent coaching client expressed her fears about making the leap from salaried to self-employed status. She was worried about how she might go about getting a loan from the bank without a steady salary. I questioned her about where she was putting her faith and trust. I shared with her my own ability to secure a loan with the bank sans salary.
The Law of Compensation is constantly at work. Collier says “when men grow to put too much dependence upon the fortune or the institution or the position that has been given them, these props are suddenly removed. When through grim necessity they have learned not to rely upon anything short of the Infinite the channels of supply are reopened to them.
Put not your trust in some other man or institution. Go direct to the Fount. Don’t tap some other man’s channel. Go direct to the main Source of Supply!”
There is a definite place for you in the Divine scheme of things. There is definite work that you are to do which no one else can do quite as well. Choose your goal and then concentrate all your efforts, thoughts and energies in that one direction. Don’t fritter away your time or energies. Focus like the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass. Do that and you will definitely be on your way to STARTING SOMETHING!