Rockport, Massachusetts is located about 30 miles northeast of Boston on Cape Ann. It is there where I found myself fantasizing about sailing, and where I decided to start a small business that would eventually finance my very own sailboat. This is just one of my stories that will involve sailing.
At the time, I was flying a small kite off the rocks and was enjoying the breeze, the blue sky, the salty air, and the peacefulness of simply enjoying a Sunday afternoon. That is when the idea hit me. My new company would focus on kites and other toys that flew.
I soon came up with the name “FLYING HIGH,” and I began waiting for a storefront to become vacant. When I saw that the old toy store would soon be closing down, I pounced at the opportunity to secure a lease. I was in business and would soon be the owner of my own “sloop.”
The problem was, I was still holding down a full-time job nearly five hours Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I reminded you of how important first impressions can be. We left the Theta Chi House at The University of Colorado in Boulder and began flying to the gold coast. We ended up in Fresno and, in particular, Fresno State University. Reread last week’s story to be brought up to speed. We made an interim stop in Salt Lake City before continuing our journey to Fresno, CA.
We knew where the inexpensive beds would be from our stay in Boulder. We began hunting for the Theta Chi Fraternity house. Before long we found the familiar OX sign above the front door, only to find the house was locked up tighter than a drum. No problem.
Foolishly believing that this was “our” house regardless of the location, I was boosted up to the second floor where I gained entry through an unlocked window Read the rest of this entry »
One of the more bazaar self-induced challenges I experienced in my life came during the summer of 1970. I had just completed my sophomore year. I was home from the University of Massachusetts, jobless and growing more restless by the minute. That’s when I decided to test my survival instincts by grabbing a crisp $100 bill and began heading west in my pale blue Chevy Malibu sedan.
At the last minute, I decided to “swing by” the Boston area and talk my college football teammate into joining me. He gave a 24-hour notice to his job at 7-11 and grabbed a C-note of his own. I have since looked unfavorably at such expeditious job notices. (That was the exact moment his mother began to dislike me and the influence I had on her son.)
My Malibu 287 4-speed had plenty of rubber at the time and enough power to get us to Read the rest of this entry »
Here is another major lesson stemming from my days working with Maritz, while pursuing the Ricoh Copier account. This lesson involves a separate division of Ricoh, but I also consider this to be another life lesson.
After months of trying to schedule an appointment with Ricoh’s sales trainer, I managed to set a day and time to finally meet. Due to the importance of this meeting, my boss thought it best if he joined me for this ice-breaking introductory session.
We arrived on time and were escorted to a meeting room where we were to wait for Dan Piccoli. There was a large cake in the middle of the conference table surrounded by a full bouquet of colorful balloons. Our first thought was a birthday was being celebrated, or perhaps a promotion for one of Ricoh’s long-time employees. I remember thinking, “This is our lucky day. Everybody will be in a good mood, and we are about to enjoy a piece of cake.”
We soon learned that we were wrong in both assumptions Read the rest of this entry »
A common mistake rookies and amateurs make when it comes to competitive sales is arriving at the “last straw.” I remember all too clearly when I first fell victim to this fatal error.
I was working for Maritz Motivation at the time. My division of this highly respected motivation company sold supportive meeting services. What we referred to as “deliverables” often sold for six digits (often over $300,000).
One of my target accounts was Ricoh Copiers, and I worked for months trying to schedule an introductory meeting with the key decision-maker. You name it… I tried it. Regardless of the time, day, month, weather, position of the stars or phase of the moon, the end result of my persistence was always the same… no meeting… no sale.
I remember becoming exasperated before reaching for a computer to draft my final salvo. I can’t remember my exact phrasing, but it must have sounded something like this Read the rest of this entry »
I guess you could safely say that flying was embedded in my DNA. My grandfather was the President of Republic Aviation and was responsible for building the P47 Thunderbolt. My dad flew in World War II, and my Uncle Al also flew single-engine airplanes. It only seemed natural to earn my private pilot’s license back in 1983.
Today’s story involves a near land-based catastrophe. It was colder than expected the morning when my Uncle Al and I were going to satisfy our urge to take to the skies over Morristown, New Jersey. The sun was shining brightly when we arrived at the airport but the overnight cool air lingered, which made it difficult to start the single-engine.
Rather than jeopardize the remaining juice in the battery, Uncle Al Read the rest of this entry »
They say you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. If this is true, and I believe it is, I should be one smart desperado. One of these painful lessons comes to mind back when I was trying to decide which university I would bless with my football talents. (I was one cocky dude back then not knowing I would soon be receiving a sobering lesson of a lifetime.)
Although Maryland is an easy drive from New Jersey, I wanted to know what it felt like to be flown to a meeting with a college coach. I was picked up at the airport and transported to the athletic department of The Maryland Terps. I eventually found out that a terp is a turtle; not exactly the most intimidating mascot if you ask me.
I was called into the head football coach’s office and managed through the introduction stages of the meeting, without Read the rest of this entry »
It often amuses me how things come to be. Some favorable outcomes appear to fall right out of the sky without warning or merit. This, however, is more often the exception. Most positive outcomes are the result of some form of action. In other words, we are all basically responsible for our futures. As the ear-torn saying reminds us, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
I remember the phone call. My good friend and speaking competitor shared his exciting memories from a recent European river cruise experience. He was literally “over the top” with good things to say. This single phone call fueled my interest, and motivated my writing a letter that would soon alter my life for the better.
A river cruise was prominently listed on my personal bucket list for some time. I wrote a letter to the president of a river cruise company Read the rest of this entry »
This is another true story that comes attached to a very pertinent message. Almost everybody has somebody they would like to meet. This may be a movie star, a sports celebrity, an author, or a TV personality. It may be a politician, a famous physician, or even the guy or gal living down the street. People are quick to identify their “wish-lists” but, more often than not, they fail to do anything proactively to make a future introduction.
Not long ago, I asked my wife if there was anybody she would like to meet. Without hesitating, she replied by saying, “I would like to meet President George H. Bush… and his wife Barbara.” I would be candy-coating my reaction if I said this selection surprised me to no end. I was ready to hear the name of some heartthrob. But President George H. Bush?
Priding myself as somebody who practices what he preaches, I begin to go to work Read the rest of this entry »
I was a senior in high school in 1967. It was a Friday afternoon when Mr. Zuckerman, my guidance counselor, informed me it was time to present my credentials to a number of colleges in the hope one would grant me admission. At the time, high school graduates had two choices: Attend college or get fitted for army fatigues before being shipped out to Vietnam. In most cases, this choice was considered a “no-brainer.”
The problem was, I had not given it any thought up until that Friday afternoon. Mr. Z suggested I go home and discuss my options with my parents before reporting back to him on Monday with my plan of attack.
I told my mother that it was time to identify a few college choices. She asked, “So where do you want to go?” I remember thinking of a reputable place where they played pretty good football. The name of the school shot into my head, and I said, “I think I’ll apply to Read the rest of this entry »
If there is any truth to the belief that a good story is both entertaining and memorable, you are about to enjoy the information in my columns for the next few months. I am about to share with you my personal experiences that come equipped with some valuable lessons.
The first of these lessons come to you from 2500 feet above sea level. It was during my check ride, which requires a passing grade while flying alongside an FAA flight inspector. I was in the left seat of a Cessna 152 and I felt I was prepared for the “exam.” I read the books, practiced my landings, and Read the rest of this entry »
Fasten your seatbelts travel professionals. You are about to play a major role in a New Year consisting of successes, failures, challenges, wins, losses, good ideas, bad ideas, and a whole bunch of “head-scratching” scenarios that are sure to upset your stomach. You can also get ready to do a lot of smiling. And I will be back to help you along the way in an attempt to keep you focused, motivated, and refining your own personal “happy dance.”
Similar to past articles I have been sharing, the next twelve months will consist of thought-provoking reminders you can identify with, and use to your benefit.
In the interest of time (your time), each week’s Read the rest of this entry »
This is the time of year when just about every writer, author, coach and/or consultant gives a send-off to the previous year while forecasting better things to come in the new year. Not this time. Not today. Not me.
I decided to end the year with a final reminder worthy of some pensive thought. This lesson features a walk in my backyard, where I hit a few golf balls now and then with a short iron or pitching wedge. More times than I like to admit, I push the shot a tad to the right Read the rest of this entry »
These four words popped into my head recently and, in addition to recalling a little tune sung by Bobby McFerrin, I found myself thinking of retirement. Yes, I have not been confused for a spring chicken for many years now; and I often have to stop and think how I managed to get out of bed yesterday. Some call it age, while I prefer to consider it as experience. But I digress.
Due to age, experience or whatever you want to call it, my days of actively pursuing new business have slowly gone the way of Seinfeld reruns. But here comes today’s million dollar thought of the day: Read the rest of this entry »
Nothing Ventured … Nothing Gained.
In today’s message, I am going to try to drive home an important point by using a number of well-worn phrases. Some may be more familiar than others. Here goes:
First the message.
The painful truth, according to me, is that one of your biggest problems is that you don’t fail enough. Your number one problem in most cases involves your visibility factor, but let’s focus on your number two problem today… not enough effort resulting in Read the rest of this entry »
If by chance you are not creative, or you feel you do not have a creative bone in your body, I am here to tell you that you CAN become creative—if you remove yourself from your current comfort zone.
Yes, I am giving you permission to get up, get out, and make more of the right people glad they know you. For some of you, this will prove to be a real stretch. For others, it will take a certain degree of discipline. For a few, it will be “a piece of cake.”
The first thing you must do is to rid your vocabulary of much of the negative self-talk you are Read the rest of this entry »
I recently got home after speaking at a conference in Orlando, after months of inactivity. It felt good to get up in front of a group of eager professionals and share my personal experiences with a bit of panache. (Flamboyant confidence of style or manner.)
Regardless of how hard I try, I still find myself resorting back on the tried-and-true strategies and tactics that work year-in and year-out. As most people are drawn to the latest flavor of the week, or lured toward the latest magic formula, I know after over 35 years in the business that it is the basics and fundamentals that will make your business work.
One of the formulas I have been touting over the years still hold water today Read the rest of this entry »
I recently read a post from Seth Godin which got me thinking. (His words usually do.)
He referenced the early automobile and how roads were built to provide a path for leisurely drives out into the country. Families would take a ride on a Sunday to enjoy the scenery and perhaps stop along the way for a picnic. Hence, the concept known referred to as the Sunday driver.
You can picture pops behind the wheel, with mom and her bonnet secured tightly around her neck bouncing along a dirt road with no particular destination in mind. To me, that conjures up a delightfully civilized picture in Read the rest of this entry »
I remember thinking that things would be different once I reached my age. I believed things would be easier. I thought the hard part would be yesterday’s news. Wrong again Mike-O.
This has been proven not to be the case. But, if you stop to think about it, life would be pretty boring if we all had it together before the boys headed for the showers and the “fat lady” sang.
Marketing is simply why some things work, and why things don’t work Read the rest of this entry »
There are a few phrases I hear myself saying more often these days. One of which brings me back to my early years, when I spent summers on my grandmother’s farm. “Make hay while the sun shines,” reminded us that when you made a living which depended heavily on the uncertainty of the weather, it was in your best interest to take advantage of favorable conditions while they presented themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
A former National Hockey League All-Star, Wayne Gretzky has been given credit for the phrase, “You miss 100% of the shot’s you don’t take.” This reminder, in and of itself, is quite logical. But if these nine words are not obvious enough, there are more ways to drive home this valuable message.
- Using golf as the source: “Never up. Never In.” All putts fail if they do not reach the hole.
- Sales: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
- Tom Peters: “In order to strike oil you have to dig a hole.”
There are more examples, but I think you are getting the gist of today’s memo.
Just last week Read the rest of this entry »