In 2010, I was beginning to conduct an interview with Patrick Henry Hughes.
Patrick was born without eyes, and he is unable to fully straighten his arms or legs, and despite, or perhaps in spite of that, he has gone on to realize many astounding achievements (See Oprah appearance, Opening for Lonestar, Grand Ole Opry Performance, University Honor’s graduation, Louisville marching band member).
I opened by my interview with Patrick with a question about whether his “disability” has slowed his progress in his opinion, and his response stopped me in my tracks.
He said, “Corey, I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who has their sight, but I feel I have an ability those with sight don’t have in that I don’t have the luxury of judging someone by the color of their skin, by how much money they make, or by how they look. I simply judge the person inside.”
I firmly believe that Patrick’s choice of perspective in this regard has played a major part in his astounding success, and in thousands of interviews before / since, I’ve discovered that choosing one’s own perspective, and attitude, has been more times than not, a major key to their success.
Steven R. Covey, in his brilliant book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People might call this ability to choose our reaction to what happens to us as BEING PROACTIVE. Enter the first key I wish I knew when I was younger.
I wish I knew that we had THE POWER TO CHOOSE OUR PERSPECTIVE AND REACTION TO SITUATIONS regardless of the obstacle or challenge we face.
Late in 2012, I was conducting an interview with Comedian Gerry Dee (CBC’s Mr. D, Last Comic Standing) when I asked him about the second thing I wish I knew years ago: THE POWER OF SAYING NO, and knowing what to say no to.
I explained to Gerry that I have discovered the high achievers of today, and even those who want to become tomorrow’s high achievers; these people seem to understand the importance of saying no to the wrong things, so they can focus their energy (and their yeses’) on the right things.
Gerry explained that he discovered the importance of this when he accepted a stand-up booking on Halloween one year and missed his daughter’s second Halloween all together. He noted that he would never say yes to a gig on such a special occasion again.
The power of saying no to the wrong thing (from your perspective) so you can say yes to the right thing (from your perspective) is almost difficult to measure.
If you fully want to discover how powerful this can be, say no to your I-Phone or Blackberry as often as you can when you’re in front of customers or colleagues…you’ll be amazed at how much of an impact this little action can have on every part of your life.
At 27 years of age, when I read my first book from cover to cover, I discovered the POWER OF LEARNING, and my life has never been the same.
I wish I had known much before this that reading would allow me to “hang-out with” Thomas Edison, Anthony (Tony) Robbins, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and Stephen King all in the same day.
In fact, I wish I had known years earlier how powerful the exercise of learning could be.
I also wish I knew this 4th insight sooner.
In 2006, when I recorded my 3rd, very independent, CD, I had the good fortune of having close to 50 people who came together to make the CD possible; and therefore to make the CD what it was.
This included, but was not limited to, my fellow band members, my producer, the gentleman who did the mastering, the photographer, the caterer, the cover designer, the printer and duplicator, and many more.
Had I not worked with these key people during the process, the CD would not be what it is. This is the POWER OF SURROUNDING YOURSELFWITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
My question at this point is, what actions and strategies do you take to make sure you’re are surrounding yourself with the right people as often as possible?
For me, it means mapping my disassociate list, associate with more list, and limit association with list at the beginning of the year, and revisiting quarterly.
It also means determining at the beginning of each quarter, and then revisiting throughout the quarter who I want to interview, and learn from, and proceeding accordingly. It takes work to make sure you’re always surrounding yourself with the right people, but it is more than worth the effort.
People ask me in Seminars regularly if I could give them just one strategy that could transform their lives, their employees’ lives, or their organizations, what would it be?
Without hesitation, I always say, and this is based on the findings of thousands of interviews and thousands of hours of research, you need to discover your purpose and passion, or help your team or individual team members discover their purpose or passion, as quickly as possible.
It is then that you can dedicate your time to serving that purpose.
In fact, in our interview with Leadership Guru Robin Sharma he mentioned that his father gave him similar advice when he asked his father how to achieve success and fulfillment.
I’m paraphrasing here, but he noted it involved, “FINDING YOUR PURPOSE, AND DEDICATING YOUR LIFE TO THAT PURPOSE” – perhaps this is why when we asked former World Champion Trish Stratus the trait she felt The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan shared, a trait that made them arguably the 3 most successful people in the sports entertainment business, she noted their level of PASSION was perhaps the most noticeable.
Had I known these 5 insights earlier, I can only imagine how much that would have impacted my trajectory.
However, perhaps I had to fall down the manholes I have, so that I could point some of them out for you.