So, just like the loyal entrepreneur I was I dutifully called Jim back on Wednesday of the following week. He was with a client, but his secretary sent me through to his voicemail. Not wanting to seem like a pest I waited, and when there was no response by the following Monday, I called him again. Once again “Stephanie” answered, and asked me to leave a message, not only did I leave one with her, but another voicemail as well. Jim wasn’t my only client, but I did want to work with him, and like most entrepreneur’s I had been taught that persistency was the key.
Jim went into the weekly call back file for a month, then the bi-weekly, finally a letter, yes good old USPS, explaining that I had another opportunity on the horizon, and if he didn’t hear from me for a few months, to call me. Almost immediately my phone rang. Jim apologized for all the distractions but promised that once he had this next system established he would have all the free time in the world. So, having learned from my time with Phil, I asked him to give me a call when he was done with that system and I’d see what I could do to meet with him.
Apparently that was all the encouragement he needed because his lunch calendar opened up that week. So we met, I outlined my plans for him, he was VERY excited and could definitely see the potential, “But ya know the boy”, his oldest was 7, “just started football, so my weekends will be tied up for most of the fall (this was August), so he asked if I would call him late November. December one I rang his office and was told about all the relatives coming in for the Holidays, and well after the first of the year would be much better. “After all, everyone wants to start their new year off right.”
January 15th, hey I have a life to, I rang him, and “the boy, had just started spring training, and was looking real good.” Now I know we live in the south, but spring training in January? Ok, I’ll check back, at which point he was planning on “seeing America while the kids are still young.” After which, “the boy” was back at football camp, and wouldn’t you know, his little brother (now 6) thought it looked like so much fun, he joined up.
You can probably see what’s coming, but football season led to the holidays which went into spring training, then summer vacation and we were back at football camp. Last year I got an invitation to his youngest son’s graduation party, High School. They had just spent the year traveling to pick out his school, he did get a football scholarship, as did his brother before him. During the party Jim’s wife said, “You know I really wish you and Jimmy had started that business together, he has zero time at home.” So I thought I’d call him, after the boy got settled in his new school.
His wife was very upset, “You won’t believe it, Jimmy was on his way home from the office late one night, it was raining, and he was tired. Of course he insisted on riding that motorcycle and wouldn’t let me come get him.” To make a long story short, the bike was totaled and although Jim’s injuries didn’t appear life threatening, he was having issues talking. I don’t know that they ever figured out everything that happened, if they did, the family is respecting his privacy by keeping quiet, but he will see you at the gas station in the morning and by lunch, forgotten that he’s seen you this year.
His wife is very frustrated, not just with his current situation, after all she was wise enough to begin her own business when the kids were starting school, so their income was secure. But she looks at, in her words, “all the time he wasted.” Apparently, although his kids were in sports, and excelled, he wasn’t quite the ‘football’ dad he led on. Again , it doesn’t matter what was really happening, but now when his wife had looked forward to some peace and quite, and they are both still under 50, they wanted to travel. But Jim can’t drive anymore, the story I heard was that while taking his eye test at the Drivers office he forgot what he was doing and went home.
I read the other day “Any God that is small enough for me to understand is too small to do the Job”, so I don’t pretend to understand the why of things, all I know is that the opportunity that we discussed is still valid and available. Unfortunately, the Jim that could fulfill half the responsibilities needed to bring the idea to fruition is no longer available. Oh he wants to, he even has that spark in his eyes, the same spark he had the day this all started, for about 5 minutes at a time. Then he’s moved on to another subject, and unfortunately completely forgotten what we were talking about.
Obviously, this is an extreme example, I would hope that no one ever has to go through anything like this ever again, but what I have learned in 40+ years on this planet is that if one person has experienced something, it is available for everyone, both good and bad. So in the end, over the course of quite a few years, it all came together, what Phil was trying to teach me, in that Denny’s in another city, about a different business, in what almost seems like someone else’s lifetime. It doesn’t matter what excuse you’re going to use, if you’re going to use an excuse pick one that you like and just stick with it, whether it makes sense or not. If you’re not, brave enough, bold enough, <insert phrase here> enough to admit that you’re not going to do what’s being asked, just pick one excuse that YOU like, and when asked use THAT ONE.
At least then, the folks around you, the one’s wanting to help you. The folks who think more about you, than maybe you do, will know, send a courtesy card, but don’t waste your time. He’s not coming along! Again, in Jim’s case, he was working in a family owned business, that “can’t” fire him (at least as long as granny’s alive.” His wife was savvy enough to jump on a business ‘deal’ that actually has turned out to be one, so she has setup the family for some stability, but there may always be a part of Jim that says , “If only I.”
So, find an excuse that works and get ready to live out your years of unfulfilled dreams, or decide that you’re going to make a difference, you going to do the one thing that no one else can do for you.
You didn’t REALLY think I was going to tell you what THAT is do you? After all, any excuse will do. So pick one, or better yet, maybe check back next time and see what it is that you CAN do to make a difference, a big enough difference to matter in your life, your families future. Get ready.
Remember, if your going to pick an excuse and live with it, than make it a WHOPPER!