Purpose is where all motivation begins. At least half of it that is. Purpose though, or, as I would like to put it, the left brain logical, factual statement of our goals is inseparably connected with the right brain emotional desires of our dreams which I like to pack within the word “passion”.
In this four part blog, because I have a little bit of a history with archery as a kid, let me use the phrase “Ready, Aim, Fire!” Let’s begin with the metaphor by focusing on “Ready” which is made up of purpose and passion. In this blog let’s talk purpose.
When I was a youngster, a freshman in high school, I had been playing football for a few years in the youth program but I was really nowhere with the sport. I wasn’t born with a big body, strong muscles or fast legs. I didn’t even have that much confidence. I wasn’t the kind of kid that a coach would think of when it came to the idea of either “Let’s give him the ball and let him run with it” or even “Let’s put him on defense, he has an aggressive attitude about him”. No I was the guy the coach ended up saying “Um, where do we put him? Oh, how about offensive guard”? And so it was.
I wanted to be more though. Even while in the youth teams my Dad would take me to High School Varsity games. Those were the guys I started to admire and wanted to be like when I became a senior. As a freshman I finally found myself in High School but I had no idea of how I could become one of those guys three years down the road.
I got lucky though. A real hero came into my life. For the sake of anonymity let’s call him Jack, Jack Barnes. Jack had been a College All-American Linebacker who had been drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers not long before I met him. He was good. He had the potential to become one of the greats on the first Super Bowl winning teams in my opinion now, but, before his first game with the Steelers he blew out his knee in practice and was done. Back to normal working life. Though Jack was unlucky with the Steelers it was my luck when he moved into the neighborhood and became friends with my Dad.
I could not see how I, an averaged sized, slow, mediocre freshmen football player could one day start on the Varsity team as a senior and make a name for himself. Jack however did. My Dad, ever supportive of my athletic endeavors bought me a set of weights. Jack taught me how to use them so I could become strong. Jack also taught me that if I ran sprints and learned how to become fast I could indeed become fast. As for my size, well, eat well, drink protein and have patience. As for attitude, Jack’s personality demonstrated an aggressive nature whenever we would play street football or when he would demonstrate how to tackle a ball carrier with me as the career. Confidence he said would come.
For the next three years I became a focused fanatic about lifting weights, running sprints, doing agility drills and making my purpose, that of starting my senior year and becoming one of the best, a reality. I certainly had the purpose and was emotionally invested to the point that I never lost my passion for the dream. In my mind the path that Jack had pointed down was clear and specific.
Would you like to guess what happened? Thanks to Jack that purpose became reality. By the time I was a senior I was fast, strong, agile and I had the confidence and the attitude that allowed me to move over to defense and start my senior year. I had made a bit of a name for myself thanks to Jack as well as coaches and players. I won a few awards and got to go on to play at a local college. Purpose realized.
You say “Jeff that’s fine but that is High School. I’m trying to succeed at my business here. What do you expect me to learn from this?” Same thing I did. Jack taught be more than just lifting weights and running. He taught me to find a purpose. He taught me to have passion to fuel that purpose with passion. Every week, every month and every year that purpose was broken out by goals, stepping stones to my dream. I learned that you have to see your goals as well as your dreams clearly and specifically. Every time I lifted, every time I ran, I could see the end result.
I took those lessons into my selling career in later life. Selling is tougher than football. The stakes are higher. It’s make the sales and pay your bills or not. “Or not” is a scary prospect if we are without purpose and passion. Even scarier if you have a wife and kids who depend on you. When I started in sales at 17 I walked into a boiler room of telephone salespeople calling from the phone book offering people HBO or Showtime subscriptions. I was there because salespeople make more money and I thought I could do it. Problem, I had zero training. I quickly learned that I had to do more than just show up. I had to grow up and learn how to sell.
There I was again. I was a freshmen. This time in the university of Selling. Since that day though I have applied what I learned from Jack. See what you want to become. Your purpose. Figure out what you need to become that person. Work on those skills and do it with passion. I did. I started with books. Tom Hopkins’ How to Master the Art of Selling was my first. After that there were hundreds more. There were tapes. There were seminars. There was practical selling experience and lots of it. There was failure. There was success. Eventually at Sales University I made the Varsity team. Purpose, Passion. See your goals and dreams clearly and specifically.
Whatever happened to Jack? Last I heard he had mastered sales and became a successful company executive.
We will get more into the topic of Passion more next time.