Articles providing practical, field-tested advice to sales professionals.

Location: Houston, Texas, United States

Monday, March 28, 2005


by Carl G. Stevens, CPAE

“We’re all created equal. After that, baby, you’re on your own.”
- Fortune Magazine Advertisement

We didn’t have much choice on how we were created, that’s in the past. We do have every choice over what we will create, that’s in the future.

Nobody’s going to hand you success on a platinum platter. If you want to make it you will have to choose to make it on your own. Someone has said – if it to be… it’s up to me.

Nobody is going to arrest you and make you successful. You have to choose to create your own success. Choice is a divine gift, given to us by our Creator. Your prerogative to choose is your most awesome privilege and responsibility. You must choose to use your own drive, your own guts, your own energy and your own ambition.

Yes, ambition. You don’t have to apologize for it anymore. Society has decided that now it’s OK to be up-front about your drive for success.

If you want to be on the fast track, if you want to be a mover and shaker, you must decide how to move and what to shake.

What is it that can give you that vital step on your competition? How do the superachievers do it? Why do the winners win? What will it cost you to win? What will it cost if you lose?

Maybe we can learn from one of the most famous winners of all time. A world-class legend has left a classic example of how winners win! Let’s see what we can learn from the super horse with the super heart – SECRETARIAT… who chose to be a champion!

SECRETARIAT, Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973, captured the hearts and imaginations of all Americans, bringing new life and pride into the sport of racing. Turf experts have called him the greatest horse of the 20th century.

In 1973, just when the elusive and enshrined Triple Crown was thought to be obsolete, in strode the magnificent chestnut affectionately known as “Big Red”. With unbelievable speed, SECRETARIAT broke century-old records, winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. SECRETARIAT defied all the odds, rewrote racing history and his records still stand.

There are a couple of interesting footnotes to add to this story:

1. It turns out that SECRETARIAT was not created equal: his final physical exam revealed that SECRETARIAT’s heart was actually twice the size of the average horse’s heart! Reminds me of the old song – “You gotta have heart”. SECRETARIAT did indeed have the heart of a committed champion.
2. The Belmont Stakes was the site for one of SECRETARIAT’s most exciting races. Exciting because he beat the other horses 32 lengths! He was not running against the other horses he was running against his own potential. SECRETARIAT must have believed – you either make dust or eat dust… and he made his choice. There’s a moral here – if you aren’t the lead horse the scenery is not going to improve.

It was exhilarating having had lunch with a man who had just given away $10,000,000.00. I got there late! He gave $1,000,000 to ten different colleges. As we ate lunch, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mr. Stevens, we are keeping score wrong.” I said, “What do you mean, Mr. Russell?” He replied, “We should judge an individual by how well he runs against his own potential instead of how well he runs against the pack.” And, I thought about SECRETARIAT and the Belmont race!

Do you care enough to prepare to do your very best? How much time, money and energy have you invested in yourself in the past year? If you continue to what you have been doing what kind of results will you continue to get?

Reminder, the race is never won on the day of the race! The key is to choose today to commit to prepare and do the things other people will not do. Today’s preparation and training may well determine how big you will win tomorrow.

Now may be a good time to review and reprogram your career. Reexamine your past… ponder… and commit to professionally preparing yourself to go get what you have always wanted!

A frustrated individual was broke at 25. He said he became a multi-millionaire after a new employer asked him these three questions:

1. How much money have you saved in the past six months?
2. How many books have you read in the past six months?
3. How many self-improvement programs have you completed in the past six months?

Please, read these three questions again. Write your answers. Now quietly ponder your answers. Have you ever won? Have you ever lost? Which felt better?

SECRETARIAT had a choice and chose to enjoy that winning feeling – so can you!


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