I know many of the people who read my columns are doers, not spectators. They love action, are passionate, love their work and dont sit around waiting for things to happen to them. I know these things by the missives I receive from the many people who take the time to communicate with me. One recent letter was accompanied by a book that illustrates that theme. It is titled Take the Stairs.
The book, by Roger Looyenga, the chairman and chief executive of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. (Joe Tye, an author, values coach and speaker, is listed as contributor to the book) uses the idea of stairs as a metaphor for life: In most airports, shopping malls, hotels or other public places, youll be faced with a choice: Do you take the stairs, or do you have yourself hoisted up on the elevator or escalator? Most people choose the easy way, the way that requires the least effort. ... Ironically, even as they stand in line waiting for the escalator or moving walkway to deposit them at their destination, they might be wishing they had more time for exercise. In life, taking the easy way (the escalator, the elevator, the moving walkway) almost always leads to underachievement and frustration.
Dont be embarrassed because all of us at one time or another have opted to take the easy way over going out of our way to challenge ourselves. We use the excuse that its inconvenient or too demanding but thats exactly what life is all about, accepting those things that are inconvenient and demanding as part of living. Doing so builds character, self-confidence and respect for oneself. And there is no greater reward than respecting yourself.
I recently did a column on how many salespeople are unsure of themselves and feel insecure when calling on clients and prospects. Theyve developed an attitude that tells them if they make a personal call and then ask for the order that the prospect is going to turn them down. Its called the I cant syndrome, and Looyenga hits the nail on the head when he says, Anytime you hear yourself uttering those toxic two words, I cant, remind yourself this is probably a lie. In all likelihood, the truth is you really can, and what you are really saying is you dont want to, it wont be easy, or some other excuse.
Too often I hear people tell me they cant do something because they are fearful they will fail. Can you imagine where we would be in this wonderful world of ours if certain individuals hadnt taken a chance and went ahead and did something extraordinary because they were too scared? This country was built with a can-do attitude and so are great institutions and corporations.
Looyenga also touches on the need for spiritual growth when grappling with fulfillment and success. He quotes author James Autry, who wrote: I believe that much spiritual growth is possible through the doing of business because of the simple fact that the doing of business requires interaction with our fellow human beings, and within those interactions are vast possibilities for spiritual connection and growth.
Passion plays a big part in succeeding as well, and yet too many dont give their heart and passion to their work. Looyenga uses a lyric from When You Wish upon a Star to make his point: If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. He says that big dreamers are people who are passionate about their dreams. They make those dreams come true by investing heart and soul into their accomplishment. So for anyone who wants a refresher and road map for succeeding in both personal and professional matters I would recommend Take the Stairs, a worthwhile and meaningful read.