The Three W’s

Some people want stuff. Some people wish for stuff. Successful people work for stuff. 

I remember when the Mall of America was being built. It was a huge shopping mall that opened to much fanfare. I, in my infinite wisdom gave it a year. I was sure it was going to be a white elephant, destined to one day be bulldozed into oblivion. 

It’s undergoing a major addition as I write this, 23 years after it first opened. Pretty soon I’m going to have to admit that my prediction may not happen at all. 

The Mall of America now attracts more visitors each year than all the Disney theme parks from around the world… combined. I guess it’s doing okay.

I remember something, or more accurately, someone else from the time the mall was getting ready to open. His name was Bob, he was a pretty good sales person. He wasn’t flashy or especially polished but he was one of the hardest working sales professionals I’ve ever met, even to this very day.

Well Bob worked for a food service company and his goal was to sell his services to one or more of the many restaurants that would reside on the fourth floor of the mall. Most of the restaurants were national chains not based in Minnesota and he faced huge challenges just figuring out who the buyers were.

He met one road block after another. This guy said to talk to that guy, that guy said to talk to someone else. I’m certain most salespeople would have simply stopped trying.

But Bob kept working. He discovered that his biggest challenge was that one of the major restaurants was to be run by a management company out of California. So he pursued the buyer for the management company.

He found him and through a relatively brief conversation discovered he was the first salesperson who had gotten through to him. He also discovered something else….the management company was actually going to manage most of the fourth floor restaurants.  

Bob had struck gold…he sold ALL the accounts at once. It was a huge success and it was a huge sale.

As Bob shared the effort required to find all the people and put the deal together he kept repeating how lucky he was. Lucky to find the management company, lucky to find the buyer, lucky to be the first salesperson to get in. Yes, Bob was one lucky guy. Of course, his “luck” was completely created by his hard work. 

Bob demonstrated that the harder you work the luckier you get. Bob focused on the third W! 

You can want stuff you’ll never have, you can wish for stuff that the “lucky people” have or you can work for both and have what you earn. 

It is a life choice…I didn’t say it was an easy choice but it is a choice. In most cases those who would say the ability to work is not a choice have already made theirs.

3 thoughts on “The Three W’s

  1. Steve, I never tire of hearing these stories. Thanks for sharing.

    Success is about outworking everyone else. That’s the bottom line.

    Bob is probably in the top 5% or 10% in his industry. What separates him from the rest of the pack is his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This is a cliche we hear time and time again. But it’s the truth.

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