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Posts Tagged ‘success’

two people shaking hands

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It all started with a knock on my door one sunny summer afternoon.

There on my front porch stood a young man…hardly more than a boy, really…who shyly stammered, “Can I m-m-m. Excuse me. Can I m-m-mow your yard for $20?”

“Sorry,” I replied. “My husband likes to do the mowing and trimming himself. Says it’s his summer exercise routine.”

The kid looked so crestfallen it almost broke my heart. “Do you do any other kinds of yard work?”

His demeanor brightened immediately. “F-f-f-for $20?”

“I was just thinking that my flower beds really need some attention. If you’ll help me pull weeds for an hour, I’ll pay you $20.”

“D-d-d-deal!” he exclaimed.

Since I didn’t know if he could tell the difference between a dandelion and a daisy, I put the boy to work on the brick mowing path. Everything growing there was a weed.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“M-m-m. Excuse me. Marcus.”

“Marcus, my name is Janet. Do you live nearby?”

“Yes’m. Next to the f-f-f-firehouse.”

He pointed north, in the general direction of Main Street. I knew just where he meant. A string of tiny, low-rent, minimally-maintained apartments that were likely built in the 1940s or 50s lined that section of the road.

We spent the next hour chatting and weeding. Marcus impressed me with his willingness to do whatever it took to earn the money he seemed to desperately need. When I handed him two ten dollar bills and a cold bottle of water, he asked, “C-c-c-can I come back next week?”

“Sure.”

man person school head

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As the summer wore on, I learned a lot about my new friend. Marcus had just turned 16 years old the week before he first knocked on my door. He shared that little apartment with his grandmother. Neither his father nor his mother had stuck around long enough to see baby Marcus take his first steps as a toddler. And Maw, as he called her, was getting pretty old. Marcus worried that she might not live long enough to see him graduate from high school. He said he liked to cook and that he dreamed that someday he could attend culinary school and learn how to be a real chef.

Marcus was like a sponge. He absorbed every bit of knowledge he could about the vegetables, herbs, and flowers I grew in my gardens. I learned that his favorite meal was fried chicken with a mess of slow-cooked greens and mashed potatoes. When he found out that I write, he declared that maybe he would be a writer someday himself.

One day I harvested more turnip greens, tomatoes, and zucchinis than I had the time or patience to deal with right away, so I offered them to Marcus. His smile and the hug he gave me in exchange for the vegetables more than adequately expressed his gratitude.

“Th-th-th-excuse me. Th-thank you. There’s not much f-f-f-food at our house right now.”

His response made me wish I had fried chicken to send home with him, too. How, I wondered, could there be people going hungry in our town?

After that, I made a point of regularly offering produce from our garden and sometimes a few slices of leftover meatloaf or pork roast. I always cooked more than hubby and I could eat. Why shouldn’t Marcus and Maw benefit from our abundance?

agriculture basket beets bokeh

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Looking back, I realize I could have – no, SHOULD have – done more to help them.

By fall, Marcus could do most of the yard work unsupervised, but I had come to cherish the time we spent together so I often joined him at his labors just to enjoy his company. But the days were growing shorter. School and homework often kept him from having time to stop by looking for chores he could do to earn his $20.

When winter dropped several inches of heavy, wet snow during a particularly blustery day, I had suited up in layers of warm clothing and was trying to psych myself up to go out and shovel when Marcus knocked on the door.

“D-d-do you have a snow sh-sh-sh-shovel?”

“In the garage,” I answered. “But I’m short on cash, Marcus. I can’t pay you to shovel today.”

“M-m-m-my treat.” His grin shined whiter than the snow. “You-you-you. Excuse me. You too old to shovel.”

I would have felt insulted at the age comment had I not been so grateful for his help.

Winter turned to spring and spring into summer and Marcus came to help me with chores about once a week – sometimes more frequently. Early one bright summer Saturday, Marcus knocked on my door. When I answered, he pulled a red polo shirt from behind his back and held it in front of him. The logo of a nearby fast food restaurant punctuated his comment, “I-I-I g-g-got a j-j-j-job! A real j-j-j-job!”

“Congratulations, Marcus!” I hugged him. “And you’ll be working with food. That will be good experience when you go to culinary school.”

“C-c-c-costs a lot of money to go to school. C-c-can I still come and work on my days off?”

“Of course!”

Our friendship continued for several years. He invited me to his high school graduation. I couldn’t have been more pleased and honored than to watch him take that walk. Marcus proudly introduced me to his invalid grandmother.  I later learned that my young friend had pushed Maw over three miles in her wheelchair so she could attend the ceremony.

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

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A couple of weeks ago, as we approached the Memorial Day weekend and headed to Kansas City to celebrate a grand-niece’s graduation, it dawned on me that it’s been almost two years since Marcus last knocked on my door. Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen him walking up Main Street to get to his fast-food job in a very long time, either.

Of the hundreds of questions I’d asked Marcus during dozens of conversations, how is it that I never thought to ask his last name? Or his Maw’s last name? How could I have not paid attention at his graduation to pick up that tidbit of information as the principal called it out while he crossed the stage to collect his diploma?

Short of knocking on every door in the apartment complex looking for Marcus or Maw, I know of no way to check up on my friend. Did Maw pass away, leaving him homeless? Had he flipped enough burgers, mowed enough lawns, pulled enough weeds, and raked enough leaves to pay for his tuition to culinary school?

I may never know.

But I do know this: if I ever win the lottery, I will somehow find a way to locate my young friend and make sure that he has all the money he needs to make his dreams come true. I will pay for a speech therapist to help Marcus overcome his stuttering so he never has to be embarrassed by it again…or say “I-I-I…excuse me.”

Marcus, if you happen to read this, please come knock on my door. I have a ton of yardwork that needs to be done and you know I’m getting too old to do it by myself.

NOTE: This blog post is based on a true story, with some fictional elements added to protect my friend’s identity and privacy. Only stock photos were used and the real Marcus is not depicted in any image.
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Chris DiGiuseppi, guest blogger and co-author of The Light Bringer, shares with us an interview he did recently with the Tom Hill. Tom is an author and life coach, and a generally amazing person.  I am very excited to be among the 10,000 people in The Movement you’ll read about in the interview. I encourage you to visit The Tom Hill Institute website and join us in making 2013 an incredibly successful year.

Following is Chris DiGisueppi’s interview:

Tell us about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised on a turkey farm in Kirksville MO.  I spent 26 years in education where I ultimately worked for the University of Missouri as the Director of Missouri 4H Youth Program where I oversaw 100,000 young people, 20,000 volunteers and 37 staff members.  I left the secure life of academia to take a chance on a career in real estate at the request of a good friend which caused me to relocated to Georgia.  From 1986 to 1994 I went from being a franchise sales person to owning the real estate sales rights of three entire states that brought in approximately $3 billion in sales annually.  I sold my company in 1999 and devoted my life to coaching others on the techniques I used to bring me success.  I am now moving forward on my newest endeavor to start a movement where 10,000 people push toward their life goals – starting in January 2013.    

You’ve been very successful in life, who or what was one of the greatest influences that pushed you toward that success?

Two people inspired my success – Jim Rohn and my wife, Betty Hill.  Jim Rohn laid the foundation for creating the life I really wanted.  His value centered motivational principals gave me a firm and practical base to foster the confidence I needed to believe that anything is achievable.  My wife, Betty Hill’s unconditional confidence and love reinforced the drive that I needed to reach the goals I set – she believed in me before I did.

In your opinion, what separates truly successful people from those who fall short of their goals?

In 1994 I studied people who were truly successful and I found 6 characteristics that separated those who excelled at success and those who fell short.  Those characteristics are:

1.     Committed to personal development

2.     They are committed to learning – readers and listeners

3.     They are networkers – they connect to other people

4.     They have studied principles of other successful people

5.     They had the discipline to carry out those principles

6.     They get the odds in their favor throughout every aspect of their life.

 

How do you attribute spirituality to reaching goals?

Spirituality is our true inner self and until we get in touch with it we will always have a void.  True happiness is not achievable until you connect spiritually.  In my lessons for success one of the primary basics is spirituality.

You’ve talked about professional growth being an 18 month cycle.  Can you elaborate on that theory and what it means?

In 1965 Gordon Moore was quoted as saying “The speed of a computer chip will double every 18 months.” Based on this principle I discovered that it applied to successful people whereas peaks of success seem to come about every 18 months. 

You are 76 years old and still run marathons.  Is that something you also achieve through the same principals you utilize to mentor and coach others?

Absolutely, the discipline, persistence and resilience needed to train and execute the plan to achieve the goal is the same as what I apply to every endeavor, as they are universal principals.  These are the aspects that I aspire to pass to as many people as possible – it is my purpose and ministry. 

 

You seem to be a person who has a strong faith and also believes in the “everything happens for a reason” theory.  Have you ever had a traumatic or life threatening experience which you endured that affirms this belief?

About 1957 I was riding a Harley Davidson 54 down an old two lane asphalt road which had a 90 degree turn to the left leading to a bridge that ran over a deep ravine.  The bridge was narrow and only one vehicle to pass over at a time.  I made the turn then noticed a large plumbing truck entering from the other side.  There was absolutely no way for me and that truck to traverse the bridge together.  I slammed on my brakes and went into a skid and knew that I could either go off into the ravine or aim for the truck and close my eyes.  Closing my eyes, I waited for the impact but nothing happened.  When I opened my eyes I found myself on the other side of the bridge and the truck was gone.  To this day I cannot tell you how I made it across or where the truck went.  I have no idea how I survived unscathed but I guess God had other plans for me.

 

You have this new endeavor to start a movement where you are going to help 10,000 people achieve their life goals.  Can you tell us about this about this?

In the summer of 2011 I woke up with a message in my mind which told me that I was going to touch 1 million lives within the next 6 years.  I had no idea what it meant or how I was going to do it.  This wasn’t something that I wanted to do or had set as a goal but it was imbedded in my conscious thoughts that morning and seemed to be a distinct clarity of purpose.  About 3 months went by and I had forgotten about this vision until a friend of mine named Gary Baker called me and offered to be my manager.  I had never had a manager nor ever thought that I needed one, but Gary began to articulate this grand plan for me to move toward impacting lives on a large scale.  The vision came back to me as I began to put the pieces together from that morning three months prior.  Today that endeavor has evolved past my wildest imagination into a life changing project that will touch the hearts of many people.  I have witnessed the personal growth and development of many amazing people which has led me to believe that we can now move the masses toward incredible accomplishments.  This January I will be launching this movement to motivate 10,000 people to reach their life goals based on those things that I’ve used to be successful in my experiences and join this incredible network.  The resources that we’ve accumulated are vast and diverse which yields unlimited success. 

 

If people are interested in partaking in this movement, how do they join?

Visit my website at www.tomhillinstitute.com.  This will truly be a life-changing experience.

 

You are a published author who participated in writing on one of the Chicken Soup books.  How will this endeavor help other authors

One of the aspects in writing is building initial confidence.  I remember two friends of mine who came to me back in 2009 with a manuscript that they were skeptical to show anyone.  Through coaching, mentoring and utilizing the amazing people I have come to know in my network they surpassed their goals.  Today they have two published books and an agreement with a production company for a T.V. series.  As I’ve said to many people, one person who’s attracted to you because of who you’ve become can change your life forever – it really works!

 

You have had a great deal of experiences in your life and seem to have acquired wisdom from those experiences.  In closing what advice would you give to people who want to live a fulfilled and purpose driven life?

Determine your priorities.  This was the first things I did after studying Jim Rohn which pushed me into a billion dollar business.  After much truthful reflection I found that my successful order of priorities are as follows:

1.     Spirituality

2.     Health

3.     Relationship

4.     Emotional

5.     Intellectual

6.     Financial

 

Then set your goals based on your priorities!!

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