Nothing Works Until You Do

I remember back in the days I was selling Dale Carnegie Training. It can be argued that the Dale Carnegie Organization provides the best training in the world. It is most often argued by those people and companies who sell a competing training program. It is seldom argued by people who have completed a Dale Carnegie Course. 

What can’t be argued is that Dale Carnegie is the oldest training company doing business today. They also have by far the most “graduates” around the world. Despite many companies trying, Carnegie classes have never been successfully duplicated by another company. 

Yet when I was working with Dale Carnegie I refused to guarantee that successful completion of a course would result in the desired outcome. That’s because even though I knew the training would work I had no idea if the participant would. 

Many people who participated in a Dale Carnegie course viewed it as a kind of “magic bullet.” They assumed merely completing the course would be sufficient to experience positive growth and change. 

I remember working with one person from a large window manufacturing company. He was fairly desperate to improve his public speaking skills and was considering the Dale Carnegie Course to help him in that area. He had a lot of questions about the course. Particularly about the requirement that participants give a short presentation during each session. He asked if we had a course that could help him learn to overcome his fear of public speaking without having to actually speak in front of a group. 

I sensed he really wanted to get over that fear but he wasn’t ready to put in the effort required to do it. He wanted the course to do it for him. I declined to sell him the course.

I still see lots of people like that guy. They are willing to invest money or time in training programs but not the effort required to make the training work. They want something to change in their lives without being willing to change anything about themselves.

To those people I would say stop wasting your time and money on training programs. The best trainers and the best content will not work unless you’re personally willing to also work. If you lack the commitment to improve yourself you’re simply not going to improve. You are the only person who can make a long-lasting change to your life or career circumstances. 

You can’t buy confidence. You can’t buy the ability to sell more, you can only buy a course to help you develop those skills on your own. 

There is not a professional or personal development program in the world that will work if you’re not willing to work yourself. Not one. If you find someone trying to sell you a program who says their program “does the work for you” then you should know they are taking advantage of your laziness and lack of commitment to self-improvement. 

If you want to get better at anything then FIRST commit to put in the effort. If you’re unwilling to do that then keep your tuition in your pocket, it’ll do you just as much good there.

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Attitude and Effort

Many years ago I received some exceptional advice from a mentor that has stayed with me to this day. He told me to stop trying to control things I couldn’t control. His recommendation was that I focus 100% of my attention on the things within my control. He also said to “block out” the uncontrollable things from my field of view because they were nothing more than distractions. 


Through the years as I’ve considered his advice I’ve discovered there are far fewer controllable parts of my life than there are uncontrollable. I can influence what other people think of me but I can’t control their thoughts. I can try to influence their actions but people will eventually do whatever they think is best for them. The list of stuff I can’t control could go on forever. 


But that’s okay because through the years I’ve also discovered that I can control, completely, two areas of my life which have the greatest impact on my success and happiness. 


Those areas are attitude and effort. 


In his timeless book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Viktor Frankl describes the “last of the human freedoms.” He says that last freedom, a freedom that can be taken from no one, is the choice of one’s own attitude. Every human on earth is free, regardless of their circumstances, to choose their own attitude. No one and nothing can take that freedom away from you. 


Before you say “well Viktor Frankl never worked where I work. He never experienced how tough my life is. He just doesn’t know,” before you say any of that you should know that Viktor Frankl is a surviver of Nazi Concentration Camps. He knows.


He would tell you that his choice of a positive attitude was literally life saving. 


I can only imagine, actually I can’t even imagine, how tough a fight it must have been each day for him to choose a positive attitude. But he fought the fight and won. 


The choice of a positive attitude is a big fight for me even in my relatively cushy world. I lose that fight too often but this much I’m certain of: every single part of my life is better on the days I win that fight. 


The question for you is will you consciously engage in that fight or will you allow other people and things to make the choice of your attitude for you? 


When it comes to making an effort I realized early on that there was a direct correlation between the level of effort I put into something and the results I received from that effort. When I really want something I remember the words of the immortal Yoda who said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” 


You alone control the level of effort you’re willing to put into any endeavor. You can allow obstacles to stop you or you can learn from them and use them as launching pads to your next level of success. You can make excuses or you can make progress. It’s hard to do both. 


As Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” If you allow yourself to be beaten you can be assured there is someone close by willing to put in the effort to do just that…beat you. 

If you adopt Yoda’s thinking then you won’t try to succeed you’ll do it.