It is not possible to know when you are about to be taught an important lesson. You seldom see those types of lessons in advance, but you are usually able to look back on them for the rest of your life and never forget them.
Somewhere around the age of twelve or thirteen, thoughts of one day becoming an engineer or even an entrepreneur never entered my head. This particular summer, my thoughts and my focus were centered on a much more important goal. It was a goal that I had set for myself without any encouragement or consultation from anyone.
That goal was to become the fastest runner in not just my neighborhood, but all the surrounding ones as well. With absolutely no bragging involved, I was naturally quick compared to most anybody I ran against. So, with very little effort I had won nearly every race that I could remember at the time.
What Does This Have To Do With Business?
In some ways, nothing. But if you think about the lessons I learned, it has everything to do with business.
While preparing for the big race which was just a few days away, I saw a commercial on TV. It advertised the “fastest sneakers in the world!” I had never ever seen that commercial, but I just knew that I had seen that ad on that day because of “divine intervention”. I was meant to have those sneakers and to win that race. I had no doubt about it.
So, I approached Mom to plead my case and to ask her to buy those sneakers for me. My plea did not go well. In fact, it fell flat. So, I went to Dad and he countered quickly by asking, “What did your mom say?” Dang Gum It!
Now, this was getting very serious, but nobody seemed to understand just how serious, so I went into high gear with my pleads to Mom. Finally, she made me a counter offer and I knew that was the best that I could get. She knew that I had some personal money that I had been saving from odd jobs and that I always hated to spend MY money. So she did something that caught me completely off guard.
She reached out and kissed me several times and when I relaxed, she “sucker punched me” with an offer I wasn’t expecting. Her offer was that she would match whatever money I chose to use from my personal savings, but she warned me that she and Dad would not replace my money if I use it for these sneakers because I had perfectly good sneakers already.
Well, I took her up on that offer and I drained my piggy bank! Mom kept her word and matched my savings. And my lessons began.
Money Always Leaves You Much Faster Than It Arrives
The amount of money I had when I reached the department store was all that I could gather. Being young and not very smart, I was on my own to make the purchase completely on my own – Mom’s idea.
I told the salesman what I wanted to buy. He came back with the sneakers. They were just so beautiful that I gave him all the money that I had. His reply, “Son, is this all the money you have? It is not nearly enough for these sneakers. These sneakers cost quite a bit more.”
I stopped breathing. And after what seemed like forever, I think the salesman noticed that I was about to faint and he grabbed me and said, “I can tell that you want these shoes – so here is what I am going to do for you. I can’t sell you the sneakers you wanted, BUT I can give you my word that I have a pair of sneakers that are just as good and YOU DO have enough money for them. These other sneakers have not been advertised to the public yet. They are still very much a BIG SECRET! Son, You can trust me on this as I am a sneaker salesman and I don’t make promises that I can’t keep“.
All Promises Made Are Not Always Automatically Kept
Well, believe it or not, the price of these other sneakers turned out to be EXACTLY the same amount of money that I had that day. I was amazed by that and considered that I was being given another sign that these “secret sneakers” were meant for me and this big race.
Decisions Made In The Dark Will Look Different In The Light
I kept my “secrets sneakers” hidden until just before the big race. I slipped them on, laced them up and proudly approached the rest of the guys. Somebody spotted my shoes and made an announcement – “Look at those shoes! Man, he must really be ready!” I certainly felt that I was ready. And, so the race began and as quickly as I had paid for those “secret sneakers”, I realized that I was no longer the fastest runner in the neighborhood. I had actually just lost the race and I had no idea why because I had always been faster than even the guy who won the race.
You Are Always At Your Best When You Are Being Yourself
My “secret sneakers” were placed in the back of my closet. I never intended to wear them again. But, a few days after the big race, one of buddies said something that I had not known. He said, “Remember that big race we had? I really thought you would beat that guy, in fact almost all of us were shocked when you lost. So, they all asked me to find out why you changed the way that you run?” I told him, “I didn’t change the way I run. I only know one way to run.”
He disagreed with me. He told me that in the big race that I wobbled funny and that it definitely was different from how I used to run. So we set up another race, but I used my old sneakers that time.
I won the race against the same guy who had just beat me. And, I was told that I ran my old way, not the wobbly way. That news really made me curious, so I pulled out the “secret sneakers” and ran a race with them only to be told that the wobble was back and I wasn’t nearly as fast again.
My “secret sneakers” had some kind of an irregular toe design to them that caused my toes to become squished in an odd way . . . making me wobble when I tried to sprint.
No wonder that salesman said the sneakers were still a “secret”.
Lessons Lived Are The Ones Best Remembered
This article was written by SDK Hunter Consulting Group
About The Author:
Sherman Hunter and SDK Hunter Consulting Group staff consultants provide global moneymaking opportunities and proprietary strategies that quickly accelerate business activity. You may familiarize yourself with these unique concepts by visiting the SDK Hunter Consulting Group blog located at: http://sdkhunter.com
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