In February of 2011 I was working as a manufacturer rep for Bart Turner & Associates in Dallas, TX and our primary line of furniture was KI. KI is based in Green Bay Wisconsin, the home of “Cheeseheads“, Vince Lombardi, and the famed “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field.
When it was announced several months prior that our national sales meeting would be in Green Bay, I was initially excited…until I considered what the weather would be like. Green Bay in February is one of the coldest places in the country as it was a smokin’ 18 degrees as we shuttled from the airport to our hotel. The cabby informed me that 18 was the high with the projected low for the night at minus 0….yippee!!
Thursday was a travel day with no formal meetings. After registering at the hotel, I made my way to my room to find a pleasant surprise in the form of a “goody bag”. Beyond the basic bottled water and snacks, there was a gift card to Amazon.com and an unlikely book…The Little Red Book of Sales by Jeffrey Gitomer. I thought “Wow!”, I’m a huge fan of Jeffrey Gitomer and have most of his books including this one. And with that I set my goody bag aside and went down for dinner…having no idea what was in store for me the next morning.
Friday morning we gathered in a HUGE ballroom where hundreds of people from all over the country were mingling around waiting for the opening ceremony. My team from Texas had agreed to sit together and as I was making my way through the throng of people trying to find our table, I ran into this guy:
He was dressed as you see him in the photo above. At that point, I had been following Jeffrey Gitomer through his weekly ezine and books for roughly eight years. He had become a “mentor” to me if only through his written word and now he was standing five feet in front on me in his trusty “Sales Maintenance Department” outfit.
At first I didn’t know what to do or say as our eyes locked onto each other. I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or give him a hug. The best I could muster was to ask “What are you doing here?” He replied that he was the opening speaker. I felt like such an idiot because it was never mentioned who our speakers were going to be. Even when I found his book the day before in my hotel room, it never dawned on me that he was going to be there.
We did shake hands and chatted for a moment before he departed to the front of the ballroom in preparation to take the stage for his talk. How cool to meet someone you think so highly of and it be a total surprise. Jeffrey Gitomer gives more than 100 presentations a year to companies over the country and has done so for years. He’s a New York Times best selling author and all his books have been bestsellers on Amazon.com.
Needless to say, he was AWESOME and the audience loved him! After his talk, I made my way up to the stage hoping to have the opportunity to say thank you. We were able to speak for a moment but it was brief as there was a long line of people waiting their turn to shake his hand and offer their regards.
While he covered a number of topics, my take home point from his talk really centered around one thing…education. He challenged us to work daily on improving ourselves through reading, listening to audio books, and writing. He really hammered on the fact that sports talk or news radio is the biggest waste of time ever which really hit home with me. While not a fan of news talk radio, I have spent more than my fair share of time listening to Randy Galloway with Galloway & Company on 103.3FM in Dallas.
“If you want to build wealth, first build a wealth of knowledge.”
Back in my room that night with Jeffrey’s foot squarely stamped on my “butt” I took action with my Amazon.com gift card and ordered three new educational audio books. Further I felt the need to thank him again and actually had a question. Having exchanged business cards, I fired off an email thanking him for such a great talk and posed a question regarding “communications” where I hoped he would have some insight.
Jeffrey was kind in replying to my message within the next couple of days however I was not expecting the answer I received. You see, I had asked him how to deal with people who are “conversation hijackers”. You know, the person who either finishes your statement for you or just jumps ship and runs off with the conversation in a completely different direction not allowing you to finish your statement.
There were several important people in my life at the time who were the ultimate “conversation hijackers” and I was seriously looking for Jeffrey’s advice on how to deal with these people. His not so subtle reply was “You need to work on your attitude!”
Jeffrey said if my attitude was better, these people would not get under my skin. To show his conviction and offer his help, he offered to send a free copy of his Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude...the audio version…under one condition.
Jeffrey said I had to promise to listen to it until I “got it” and then share back with him the results. Well, I agreed, and I did “get it”, and I faithfully followed up to share per our agreement. That little book changed my life. While I have most of Jeffrey’s books and have physically read or listened to the audio version of literally 100’s of hours worth of content, his Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude remains the game changer for me.
Attitude has been taught for ages as one of the great keys to success in life. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived said in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I shared in my tribute posts to Zig Ziglar and John Maxwell how they both taught me the necessity of having a positive attitude. However, Jeffrey still remains the number one influence to me on the importance of working on my attitude daily.
“Positive attitude is yours for the taking, all you have to do is read, study and apply – everyday.”
“Attitude is something you give yourself over time. Day by day. And others can catch it from you.”
As so many others have taught, attitude is a choice and it comes from your mind and your heart. It is not based on outside circumstances. You should live your life like a thermostat…not a thermometer. A thermostat dictates and creates the environment its in. A thermometer is a reflecting of the environment its in. A positive or as Jeffrey puts it “Yes Attitude” does not come free. It takes a daily effort to build and maintain.
It’s like nutrition and exercise for your body. If you pay the price daily by eating healthy foods and getting at least a minimal amount of exercise, you will reap the rewards of a healthy body. If you neglect either of these disciplines, you will reap the rewards of poor health. Attitude is the same way. A positive attitude will be a blessing to you and to those you come in contact with. A negative attitude will absolutely hold you back in life and literally drive people away.
For me, a positive attitude is a standard of excellence that I strive for daily. Now by no means am I bullet proof to the sucker punches that life will throw, but now after four solid years of consistent study, I’m a different person. The best example I can give is that when I do allow outside circumstances to bring me down, people tend to let me know about it.
I will get a “What’s wrong with you? You’re always so positive.”
“In order for you to be the BEST you can be for others, first you must be the BEST you can be for yourself.”
Jeffrey and I have remained in touch since that “cool” Friday morning in Green Bay. I will send the occasional email and he is always kind enough to reply. I know how extremely busy he is and I’m very careful not to abuse the relationship.
Because of Jeffrey’s influence, I have a presence on the web including my web site, ezine, Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (a work in progress). He is a huge proponent of building your personal platform with Social Media and he has the fruit on the tree to back his teachings.
Oh…and I have my positive attitude. Thank you Jeffrey!
Closing Thoughts for My Readers:
What are you doing daily to build and maintain your positive attitude?
If the answer is little or nothing, start with the following which are all highly endorsed by Jeffrey. These are all a part of my library and I continue to study them on a regular basis.
Little Gold of Book of Yes Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
The Power of Positive Thinking by Normal Vincent Peale
For a complete offering of Jeffrey’s books and other resources, go to www.gitomer.com.
The following are in my personal library and I highly recommend them all as excellent!
The Sales Bible
The Little Red Book of Sales
The Little Red Book of Sales Answers
The Little Black Book of Connections
The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!
The Little Book of Leadership
The Little Teal Book of Trust
The Little Green Book of Getting Your way
Customer Satisfaction in Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless
21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling
Artwork courtesy of Google Images