Today at 8:52 am, I woke up to a ringing phone. It was my good friend and partner, Frank Donohue. Frank and I have been associates in several businesses for the last 3 yrs. We talk almost every day, tossing around business and marketing ideas. Frank is a brilliant marketer that has a great quality of, nothing only telling great stories, but also breaking down difficult concepts into small chunk size bits so that people can understand them. But this is not a post about Frank (although I highly recommend you visit his site, http://www.frankdonohue.com ). This is about an interesting conversation we had this morning. It was a wakeup call for me. Allow me to share it with you.
Yesterday Frank was at Christmas party for a local business associate. Frank was telling me how the owner, who is a young entrepreneur in his early 30’s, gave his company a great speech. He said the speech began with, “I hear there is a recession going on, although we haven’t felt it here.” This young entrepreneur built his business over the last few years from 0 to over $5,000,000 a year. They are thriving even in today’s economy. Even more impressive, this young man was working in a retail food store, at a little more than minimum wage less than 10 years ago.
People often hear me say, “Success leaves clues,” and hearing this story intrigued me so much that I started asking questions about this young entrepreneur. Frank made an interesting comment, “It seems like Anthony (the entrepreneur) just completely ignored the recession, set his focus on big goals, fired up his people to jump on the dream, and went to work.” “Interesting” I thought. Frank also mentioned that Anthony is a type of guy that goes around the room shaking hands offering his help to anyone and everyone. “So what’s the big deal?” you ask.
The big deal comes in two forms. First of all, this Anthony fellow isn’t buying into the “Doom and Gloom” that is being portrayed by all the media. He decided to by-pass the recession and build his business anyway. Just like Bill Gates did in the “Big Recession” of the 80’s.
So many people are catch up in all the negative news that they stifle themselves into inactivity. Fear is a powerful emotion that paralysis us if we let it. On the other side of the coin we have inspiration. Inspiration moves people to action. And the choice is always ours, do we choose to allow fear in, or do we generate our own inspiration?
The next lesson we can take from Mr. Anthony is that his focus is in, not only on creating and putting together his goals, he is also focused on helping others. That is also connected with his willingness not to acknowledge the “Doom and Gloom.” Had he focused on the negative, he would be worried about surviving and not helping others. When a person is in survival mode, they are looking to help themselves, not others.
Many ”realistic” people reading this will say, “Mike I need to be informed! Are you telling me I should just close my eyes to the world’s current events?” I agree you should be informed, but the question is, are you being misinformed? Are you hearing about all the good that is happening this very second? And, who is informing you, and do they have an ulterior motive?
We each have the responsibility to filter out anything that goes into our mind’s that doesn’t serve us. The question we should ask is, “Is this inspiring me, or is it producing fear?” Remember, fear leads to immobility, inspiration leads to success. If we look at the world’s greatest leaders, they didn’t project fear, they projected inspiration. Inspiration has the power to move people, fear shuts people down.
So, how do we use this? I am challenging you for the next 30 days to ignore the negative, and seek out inspiration. In fact, don’t just seek it out, live it and share it. Inspiration is contagious. It is one of the greatest traits in leadership. Be the person who inspires others and people will begin to flock to you. Why? Because so few people today are being inspired.
By seeking out inspiration I mean connect with those people that you find inspiring. Pick up the book that triggers inspiration for you. See the movie that shows what the human spirit can really accomplish when it is fired up. Seek inspiration, and then pass it on.
So my idea today is, just as Frank Donohue wake me up and started my day with inspiration, I want to do the same for you. Take on the challenge. See how great people are (you included) and inspire them to release it. Introduce them to the challenge. Ignore the so-called limitations. After all, no matter what limitations others may try to impose on you, no one can stop you from dreaming big or helping others. The great teacher taught us that, “Service to many leads to greatness.” So serve and inspire others for the next 30 days. I challenge you to be great!