Why Are You Listening To Advice From Someone Who Has Their Head Up Their Rear?
Ask the Right Questions “Have You Done It?” and “How Did You Do It?”
**This chapter was written by the founder of DJ Connection Tulsa Wedding DJs, Cherished Traditions / Juliet Films & Tulsa Wedding Videography Service, U.S. Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year, U.S. Chamber National Quality Award Winner, Founder of the Tulsa Bridal Association, Author, Tulsa Motivational Speaker & Tulsa Business Coach – Clay Clark.
Imagine walking into a fitness club. When you walk inside you immediately encounter a dude who is quasi overweight. He’s 5’ 10 and weighs 220 lbs. He’s wearing wind pants and one of those tops / shirts that comes included with the purchase of the wind pants. He smells like smoke and he looks like he had his hair last cut a few Presidential Administrations ago. Thus, when you look at him you can’t really tell what you are dealing with here. Is he fat? Is he thin? Is he a chain smoker? Is he in a band? His face looks a little heavier. You know he is definitely a shape. You just can’t figure out what shape he is in. Then he extends his hand to greet you and shake your hand, you reluctantly shake his hand wondering where his hands have been. As he says, “Hello and welcome to Globo Gym, I’m your personal trainer Rusty!” all you can think about is overall aura and complete lack of confidence you have in him. How would you feel about your new trainer? Would you listen very closely to him when he gave advice? From this point forward would anything he says even matter?
Imagine walking in to see a Bankruptcy Attorney. As you walk in you, you are very careful not to make too much eye contact with the other people around you so that you don’t get a stigma attached to your name. While waiting in the lobby, a man named Richard strikes up a conversation with you. Richard seems oddly comfortable in the waiting room of this attorney. Over the next few weeks you see Richard in passing. On one such occasion you strike up a conversation with Richard. Shockingly, you learn that Richard is also going through bankruptcy. He opens up to you and begins to tell you how this is his third time through the process. He gives you all sorts of “shortcuts” on how you can get through “the system” in a faster way. A few weeks later with your bankruptcy behind you, you decide to enroll in a financial planning course to get your finances in order for once and for all. As you walk into the banquet hall where the course is being held you see Richard. You immediately rush over to say hello to the familiar face. Then Richard says, “Hey boss. Welcome to the class! Tonight I’m going to be teaching on…” From that point on does anything else Richard says during the class really matter? Is his opinion valid anymore?
My friend life is just like this. Divorced people loving giving advice to married couples. Fighting couples love to give advice to newlyweds. Bad musicians love to criticize Grammy-Winning artists. Local starving actors, love to criticize that actor’s performance who just won his 2nd Oscar. Poor Uncles like to give you business advice. The co-worker and long time sales veteran seated next to you at work who hasn’t sold anything significant since the Cosby Show was popular loves to give the other sales guys advice. The divorced woman who is terrible with men loves to teach you how to deal with men. Although you can’t ever stop unsuccessful people from attempting to give you advice. You can decide that you will no longer listen to their invalid advice and opinions.
You can’t look for our culture, your co-workers, the neighbor, your Mom or your Dad for advice, unless they have shown themselves to be experts in area in which you are seeking advice. Look at their fruit and ask yourself, “do I like the kind of tree I see here?” You wouldn’t plan a pine tree in your backyard if you are focused on growing apples would you? Look at the fruit of people’s lives and candidly ask yourself if they are producing the kind of fruit you want.
Is it possible that some people are experts in some areas while being completely ignorant in others? Absolutely it is. Your Uncle might be in great physical shape and he might also be financially destitute. He might be the best fitness guru in your community and he might have a financial track record that makes MC Hammer look like a Financial Management Genius by comparison. He might have abs of steel and arms that are so muscular he looks like a Marvel Comics hero. Thus, if this dude wants to give you fitness advice you had better listen. If you are looking to get in great physical shape, then you should seek out his advice. But if he even starts to give you some Financial advice run for the hills.
So what is the fastest way to get from point A to point B? How do you get ahead quickly in life and in business? What is the most direct way to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time? What is the most efficient way to reach the peaks of your potential? My friend you must seek out the advice from those who have already done what you want to do. Then you must ask them, “how did you do it?”
When I was a new Father I quickly discovered that I was an idiot. I soon learned from my beautiful wife that I was not meeting her expectations as a husband and a father. I was providing a great income, but I was not physically there for he. I was emotionally not there for her. I was clearly not operating at the “Guru Level” as a husband and father. Thus I made list of all of the business men I could think of that were truly experience success in their business and in their home lives. I wrote down the names of Terry Fisher and Clifton Taulbert. Just as simple and quick Google search of these guys will showcase to you how successful these two business gurus have been. Terry and his partner started a company called Trinity Chemical Industries. His company owns an unbelievable amount of railroad cars. He owns real estate and he is an epic father of three incredible girls. All of his girls have grown up to be great women. All three of them married great dudes, and his wife is his wonderful as well. He’s been married to the same woman since he was a young man, and he is what I wanted to become. Clifton Taulbert is a New York Times Best-Selling Author. He helped introduce the StairMaster into the marketplace. He is a serial entrepreneur and he has even been nominated for a Pulitzer-Prize. He has traveled the globe as a speaker and workshop leader. He has his wife Barbara have been married since they were young and they are both great parents. Clifton Taulbert is what I wanted to become. Thus, I decided it would make sense to seek out their advice.
(This video features footage of Clifton Taulbert speaking at a Tulsa business conference in 2011).
I decided that it would be wise to seek out their advice and counsel on how to earn financial wealth while developing rich relationships with my kids and my wife. When I picked up the phone to dial these gurus it became very clear that they were successful a reason. They had become successful because they had made a decision to become successful. Once they had decided to become successful they have actually scheduled time into their schedules to become successful. When I wanted to meet with them I found that they were both hard to reach. When I finally did reach them I found that they were serious about the use of their time. They both had a reverence for their time because they both realized that time was their most important asset.
When the time finally came to sit down with them I was amazed at success just seemed to radiate from both of them. When I entered brother Clifton’s office I was amazed at how neat and orderly everything was. Everything has a specific place and success was on display for all to see. Plaques, awards, books and articles were on display. I was amazed by the wealth of experience Mr. Taulbert had. When his assistant greeted me at the front desk they told me that Clifton would be free in 5 minutes, because I was 5 minutes early. Like clockwork, 5 minutes later Clifton opened the doors and lead me into his personal office. Everything about him and his organization was prompt and orderly.
As we sat down to talk I noticed that Clifton dressed like a million dollars. I thought to myself, “does this guy dress like a million bucks because he is worth a million bucks or did he start dressing this way before he earned his millions?” Mr. Taulbert then informed he wanted me to be his guest for lunch. Next thing I knew I found myself in his beautiful Mercedes SUV en route to lunch. Within a few moments we pulled up to the gates of the prestigious Southern Hills Country Club. Southern Hills is the home of PGA tournaments and it is the nicest, most regal and most highly-regarded country club or club of any kind in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I couldn’t believe he was a member. I guess I just figured that the Carnegies and the Rockefellers were the last two memberships they had sold. As we had lunch together everything about the experience greatly expanded my brain, my vision and my overall expectations for life. When I went to the bathroom there was an assistant-type-guy in the bathroom that actually offered me cologne, mouthwash and a towel. The food was phenomenal. But what really blew my mind was my conversation with Clifton.
He knew the answer to every question I asked. He answered every one of my “deep life questions” with the greatest of ease. I asked him, “how a man is supposed to achieve big financial success while developing rich family relationships.” He candidly explained to me that ambition has a price. And that I was going to have to sacrifice sleep if I wanted to be successful in business and in my family. He explained to me that my wife and kids wouldn’t miss me I got up at 5:00 AM to start my day. He explained to me that they would become resentful and frustrated with me if I was too lazy to get up early, and thus I always had to stay late to get the extra work in that ambition requires. Mr. Taulbert blew my mind! I sincerely believe that conversation with him alone improved by life by 5%! When we finally returned to his office I left feeling exhilarated and motivated to be the best father and businessman ever! The limits I had been placing on myself all disappeared in the face of the greatness I had witnessed first hand.
When the time finally came to meet with Mr. Fisher I had a similar experience. It seemed as though business success and family success just came with ease to him. He was physically in shape, financially wealthy and his relationships with his daughters and wife were amazing! One of his daughters actually told my wife while in college that “she wanted to marry a man just like her father because he was amazing!” Wow. What a compliment! I have four daughters now, and I sincerely believe that is the best compliment a man could ever have from his daughters. Business awards are nice, but having his daughter sincerely and enthusiastically say this openly just blew me away.
After briefly talking with him on the phone he suggested that we meet at restaurant named “Tin Star.” Because he is smarter than me, I listened to his suggestion. At the time of our meeting, I was really struggling to figure out how to be a great father and a great businessman. At the time I was winning business awards struggling to develop rich relationships with my wife. Because of Cliff’s guidance I was now home more and I was now motivated to be a good father, but after much self-evaluation I can honestly say I was probably a C- father (almost a D). I desired desperately to be an A level father like he was. As a husband I was probably approaching a solid C, but I wanted to be an A level husband as well.
Just as with my meeting with Clifton it seemed as though he knew the answer to every question that I had previously considered to be super-deep and ultra-complex. As Terry spoke I began to realize that his life was not nearly as complicated as I made mine. Terry saw the world in terms of black and white and right and wrong. Terry did not have the “situational morality” that is so common in business today. Terry did not have grey areas that he operated in. When I asked him what his keys to success were, he knew the answer immediately. It was almost as his success philosophies and principles had been a part of his life for so long that they had become a habit for him. There was no “business ethics” with Terry, there was just ethics. As Terry explained his success philosophy to me, he pulled out a napkin and began to draw a circle. He then divided that circle into three parts. In one-third of the circle he wrote the world “spirit.” In another third he wrote the word “physical.” In the final third he wrote the word “financial.”
Mr. Fisher then went out to explain to me how he believed that if I would focus on the spiritual and physical wellness aspects of my life that financial success would inevitably follow. He passionately explained to me that without a Christ-focused life, it would be impossible for me to make good moral decisions and good business decisions. He explained to me that God’s Laws worked in business because God’s laws are Universal. I had never thought of it that way before. Many years before I had read, “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and this book changed my life because it was a study of the world’s most successful business people and the philosophies that had made these people successful. As I implemented the principles in the book I began to treat people better because of the “Think & Grow Rich” Success Law known as the Law of Reciprocity. This law basically states that if you render greater value to your customers than they expected, they will feel obligated and motivated to tell the world about you. Now I was beginning to see that when Luke 6:31 in the Bible reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to two philosophies ran parallel. Up to that point I had thought that the Bible was a quasi-Socialistic and outdated book about how to be a better person, if you were willing to pick and choose your way around the bizarre stories and the confusing language. Now I was beginning to see it as the “Great Foundation” for all success and success philosophies. Terry explained how his Biblical beliefs, morals and faith shaped every aspect of his life. He explained that he treated his wife in a kind and loving manner because the Bible commanded him to and promises to bless him if he does (and he is blessed).
As Terry went on to explain to me his values and belief systems, I found myself changing the way I thought about fitness. He believed that fitness was the duty of the well disciplined man because God calls us in 1st Corinthians 6: 19-20 to do so, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Terry treated his wife and his daughters well because of his faith in the Trinity (the Christian belief in the Father, Son & Holy Ghost). He treated others well because of his belief in God. He took care of his body through eating a good diet and working out because of his faith and he even named his business Trinity Chemical Industries because of his faith. It all made sense to me. Aha! I got it. Take care of my spirit and my body and the rest will all work out. I started see the practical application of everything Terry was saying. I felt like God himself was taking out a giant glowing marker and was connecting the dots of wisdom that I had read in the biographies of so many business greats. I now knew what Carnegie meant when he said, “Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration. Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration.”
I now understood why Terry never struggled with motivation over the years as he went from nothing to something. Terry wasn’t working to please anyone other than God. Andrew Carnegie once wrote, “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” However, he could have said, “People who don’t have the self-discipline to treat their bodies like a temple and the drive needed to treat others as they want to be treated they will fail.”
Within 30 minutes time Terry has shown me the key to being decisive in management moral clarity, how to be a great husband, how to be a great boss and how to be a great Dad. It almost like he knew more than I did. It was almost as though he knew how to do it because he had already done it before.
“A Carnegie or a Rockefeller or a James J. Hill or a Marshall Field accumulates a fortune through the application of the same principles available to all of us, but we envy them and their wealth without ever thinking of studying their philosophy and applying it to ourselves. We look at a successful person in the hour of their triumph and wonder how they did it, but we overlook the importance of analyzing their methods and we forget the price they had to pay in the careful and well-organized preparation that had to be made before they could read the fruits of their efforts.” – Napoleon Hill – Best-Selling Self-Help Author of All-Time, Advisor To FDR, Man Commissioned Directly By Andrew Carnegie to distill his success philosophies into the best-selling self-help book of all time (outside of the Bible), “Think & Grow” Rich.