September 21, 2021 at 2:41 pm #121352Site Administrator / Forum ModeratorKeymaster
Would You Sleep in a Queen-Sized Bed with Four Other People for Five Years to Realize Your Dreams?
I have read more than a hundred biographies about rock bands and remarkably, the stories are pretty much all the same. As a matter of fact, I have come to believe, that if you are willing to pay the price, you can be just about anything you want to be. If your dream is to be in a successful rock band, famous around the world, it can be done, but there is a price to be paid to make that happen. Are you willing?
While talent is important, believe it or not, it is not the key ingredient to getting started and launching you to superstardom. For example, the book titled “Walk This Way,” by Stephen Davis, the autobiography of the band Aerosmith, describes the struggle of the band members in the early years. All five members lived together in a small apartment in the Boston area. They practiced the same 20 songs, 12 hours a day for a solid year before playing in front of an audience. Two of the members had virtually no experience with music. They were in the band more because of the equipment they were able to provide, not for their talent. The frontman for the band, Steven Tyler, had never been a frontman prior to Aerosmith. He had been a drummer in several bands in the New England area.
After practicing for more than a year, they spent the next five years playing to small crowds in dumpy bars and frat houses for little compensation. When they needed to travel for an overnight gig, they typically slept in one hotel room with one or two queen-sized beds for themselves and their small road crew to share. During that five years, they graduated to being opening acts for well-known bands that played larger venues, they did so while continuing to make little to no money and sleeping in seedy hotel rooms, while driving show to show in an old, rundown beat-up delivery truck.
After reading the rock biographies that I have, if you are willing to do the kinds of things I just described, I have no doubt that you have about a 95% chance of becoming a rock god. Think about it. We all have that one friend that is an incredibly talented musician or singer. They are better than many of the people you pay big money to see in concert. So why are they not the ones headlining shows around the world? Simple, your friend was not willing to sleep in a cheap hotel in the same bed with four bandmates and a crew while getting paid practically nothing to do it. In short, they were not willing to pay the price that stardom requires.
The same principle applies in the business world. Just as I believe that almost anyone can be a rock star, I am also convinced that pretty much anyone who wishes, can be a millionaire many times over IF they are willing to pay the price and make the personal sacrifices it requires to do so. I get asked all the time to explain the difference between an average service advisor making $75,000 a year and one that earns $100,000 or more. The answer is simple. The one earning $100,000 or more was willing to “live with their bandmates” and make the personal sacrifices necessary to achieve that level of income. So, what does a service advisor’s sacrifice look like? What does the “seedy hotel and queen-sized bed” look like in a service advisors world?
1. You must be committed to achieving complete and total success at any cost within the legal limits of the law. This does not mean that a service advisor will mislead or take advantage of others, but it does mean that their goals are so big that they cast shade on any obstacles they may face. The rockers made it clear to their friends and family that they were sacrificing everything. They were not going to allow anyone or anything to stand between themselves and superstardom. I did the same and made it clear to my family and friends what I was setting out to accomplish. If you wanted to be on that bus with me and enjoy the eventual fruits of my labor, you had to understand what I was doing to make my dreams a reality and to support that effort. I was single longer than I wanted to be, but I held out until I found the right partner, someone who shared in my vision and was willing to make the sacrifices I was making. It was worth the wait. My wife has had a significant hand in my success.
Those closest to you will have to be with you and believe in your dreams. If not, your goals will be nearly impossible to achieve.
2. Being the first to work is a must, as is staying late, and being the last to leave at the end of the day. Although this is a trait that could subside as your career advances, for the truly committed, it rarely does. Achieving success and maintaining it is a life-long commitment that means sacrificing in other areas of your life. That said, the good news is that by doing so, eventually the queen-sized bed will turn into a California king, and with any luck, your bandmates will be replaced by your soulmate. It happened to me. Once I realized that I could not roll out of bed at eight or nine in the morning and work just a few hours a day, things started changing drastically for me.
3. Service advisor “rock stars” are willing to work on days off without hesitation when needed. This may require working an additional full shift or more. It may mean going into the office when not scheduled in order to accomplish tasks that will assist in being best prepared for the workday. These tasks include making follow-up calls, sending out thank you notes, updating customer notes, working on promotions, etc. It may also mean working from a home office to do whatever it takes to ensure success.
4. Missing out on family and social events is a sacrifice that the truly successful are willing to make. It does not mean that you have to miss a sibling’s wedding or the birth of a child. It will likely mean missing a child’s sporting event or a family dinner here or there. It will also mean missing televised sporting events. For instance, my family was very disappointed when on my 50th birthday, I was a few thousand miles away in Lexington Kentucky at a Dealer 20 meeting. However, when I took them to Hawaii several months later, on a five-star vacation, they got it. I know that I have disappointed them many times over the years when they wished I was at one event or another, but they understood and accepted it because they knew the sacrifice and eventual payoff for all of us would be worth it.
5. Eliminating the naysayers and non-believers is a sacrifice you will definitely have to make. This will be one of the hardest things you will have to do, but it will be necessary if you have lofty goals that differ from those around you. This may mean that you need to hang out less with immediate family members and friends. I had some very close friends that I had known since grade school.
Although they initially had goals that were similar to mine, they were not willing to make the sacrifices required to accomplish them. I had to make a choice.
Either continue to hang out with them and not get where I wanted to go or make hard decisions and follow my dreams. It was difficult. It wasn’t like I went to them one day and said I can’t be your friend anymore. I just started doing what I knew I needed to do to get where I wanted to go. They were the ones who stopped calling me.
“Hey Jeff, want to come over and watch Monday Night Football?”
“No, I have some thank you notes I need to get out, so I will be staying at work to get that done.” After a while, they gave up and stopped calling. I did do things with them here and there, but less and less because of the commitment I had made to accomplish my goals. This was not a surprise to them. We had always talked about what we wanted to do with our lives. When I went down the path of making things happen, I think the only thing that surprised them was that I was actually going for it. I was willing to make the sacrifices they were not. I knew that for me to get what I wanted there were habits, family, and friends, that I would have to leave behind and you will, too. Also, when your life goals vary enough from your friends and family, you start to have less in common with them, so drifting apart becomes a natural result. People like hanging out with people that they have things in common because it is comfortable. I have been very lucky with some of the highly successful people I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend. Of all the successful people I have met, I have never met one that did not have to leave people behind, people who did not want to “get on the bus with the rest of the band.”
6. To advance, you will have to risk what you already have. This is where a lot of people stop and reassess. This is where many must settle for less than what they really want or what they thought they really wanted.
They discover that they are not willing to make additional sacrifices it will take to go all the way. They like the idea of a bigger house, a nicer vehicle, and more frequent vacations but when the next rung on the ladder exposes itself, they decide not to step up and seize the moment. Why? Because they are not willing to give up what they have – a bird in the hand, so to speak. They are not willing to take the risk. There is nothing wrong with reassessing your goals. It is important to understand why you are changing direction. Stepping up and advancing almost always means more sacrifice.
“I would have taken the new territory, but it would have meant that I would have to travel more.”
“I would have loved being the new manager, but I would have had to give up more of my evenings.”
“I had the chance to grow my business, but I would have had to move out of state.”
For some, they find that as time passes and they age, their life takes shape, and they are less inclined to increase the sacrifices that are necessary to push to the next level. In life, with very few exceptions, you must be willing to take the risk in some area, if you hope to achieve higher goals.
7. Staying current can only be accomplished by being a life-long learner. You must make a commitment to studying, reading books, listening to podcasts, attending workshops, and continuing your education.
Intellectual development must become part of you if you are to remain relevant. The top 1% of income earners in the world commit at least an hour or more to studying each day. This used to be a very time-consuming thing to do, but with today’s technology, you have the latest information at your fingertips. You can be expanding your knowledge on any topic while you are exercising, driving to and from work, getting ready for your day, or cooking dinner. Anytime can become study time. This is the most enjoyable sacrifice, and in my opinion, hardly a sacrifice at all. Studying and reading are like a drug. It may take a little discipline to get started, but once you do, you will be addicted. The payback is huge, compared to the time invested.
As you can see, getting what you truly want will require that you do things that you may not want to do or enjoy, but that’s what it means to pay the price for success. In nearly every rock biography I have read, there are chapters dedicated to the early years. Playing in dingy clubs to small and unappreciative audiences. Making just enough to barely get by. Road crews that quit at the last minute leaving the band to set up and break down their own equipment. Nobody enjoyed this, in fact, they despised having to make these sacrifices, but they did it anyway. Their inner hunger for complete and total success was bigger than being eaten up by the road, as they say. They understood the price to be paid. All successful people do. Sacrifice is the price of admission. In my early days, I used to get concerned when I would learn that someone was going to start a consulting firm, knowing that eventually, the firm would become a competitor. I quickly learned not to pay very much attention to new start-ups because I saw that most were never going to make the sacrifices necessary to compete at my level.
They were never going to go to the grocery store to buy cereal and milk, knowing that those items were not only going to be next week’s breakfast, but next week’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were never going to give up their 1,000 square foot apartments to live in a 350 square foot studio. They were never going to let a bill or bills go unpaid for a month or two and risk having the electricity and gas shut off. They would never drive a broken-down car and hide it around the corner at night just in case the bank may be looking for it.
Even today, whenever I place an ad for a new trainer, at least one-third of those applying are doing so because their own recent start-up consulting firms failed. Not because their product was bad, but because they ultimately were not willing to risk their house and or lifestyle to fulfill their dreams. They were not willing to sacrifice and take a step back from their current lifestyle to achieve a higher level of success. I do not think less of those who were unwilling to make the sacrifices that total and complete success requires.
Success is different for each individual and what makes one person a success can be very different for another. I know many who have raised wonderful families, had beautiful homes, taken great vacations, and ultimately retired very happy. Success can only be defined by the person pursuing it. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to setting life goals. Your success will only be realized by taking the necessary steps to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
Whatever it is that you want out of life, you must understand that self-sacrifice is the key ingredient to success. Our country was founded and made possible because of people who were willing to make sacrifices. In America, whether you are a service advisor, a politician, an astronaut, a military soldier, a business tycoon, an athlete, a small business person like me, or a rock star, sacrifice has always been and will always be the cornerstone to our success. If you are at a point where you are living your dreams, you know what it cost in personal sacrifice to make it happen. If you are not realizing your dreams, when you look back, you will see that it was because, at some crossroads, you determined that the sacrifice that was necessary to go to the next level was not worth it for you.
Jeff Cowan – [email protected]
Nationally recognized Fixed Operations Expert, Sales Trainer, CEO of Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk, Inc., and Keynote Speaker
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