Hal and I had a really interesting conversation earlier this week.
He and I have never met, live in different cities and have been “phone pals” ever since he called to challenge one of my blogs several years ago. He has often said that one day, when we meet in person, he would share with me his story of a life-changing event.
He called to say he was visiting a relative in Calgary and it was time to finally meet.
Hal has spent his entire life “getting by, being mediocre and certainly not setting the world on fire.”
He has been in the insurance and financial services business for almost 20 years and has always done well enough to survive each month but never more than that.
He has seen many new people come in to the business who have overtaken him and built powerful careers for themselves but he has never quite figured out how they have been able to do so.
All of that changed some two years ago when Hal watched a news story on TV that changed him forever.
What Hal saw that evening was an interview with a man who, the previous day, had pushed his way past firefighters to rush into a burning house.
The man had just come home to discover his house engulfed in flames, three fire trucks outside his property and no sign of his wife and four-month-old daughter.
One of the firefighters explained that they were unable to enter the home until they gained more control over the blaze but he was not listening.
He darted past them, threw himself at the front door which instantly gave way and disappeared into the house only to reappear a few moments later, dragging the two most important people in his life to safety.
The interview Hal was watching was in the man’s hospital room where he was recovering from life-threatening burns to more than half of his body. His wife and daughter were both recuperating in the same hospital.
The man was being lauded as a hero and the interviewer asked him what had driven him to go into his house when even firefighters would not.
And it was his answer that transformed Hal from the mediocre producer he was to the superstar he is.
Hal makes a point of always watching the evening news and as he often gets home after the news has ended, it has long been his habit to record it every evening.
He pulled out his phone and shared with me the recording of what this man had said.
The man painfully turned his head towards a reporter and said, “The moment I realized Audrey and Kayla were in the house only one thing mattered in the entire world.
“My vision narrowed. I lost all awareness of everything around me and I could only think of one thing – get them out.
“The danger didn’t matter, pushing past the firefighters didn’t matter, getting burned didn’t matter, losing my life didn’t matter.
“Only one thought entered my mind. To do what-ever was necessary to get them out NOW.
“I knew I had to act immediately and I also knew I could not live with the consequences of not acting right away.”
He ended his explanation with these words, which transformed Hal from who he was to who he is. He said, “If you don’t act with urgency, you’ll never have what you urgently want. When you want something badly enough, there ain’t no force on the planet that can stop you.”
Hal said those last words struck him like a bullet. He realized the reason he had always produced mediocre results was because he acted with mediocre effort. He decided there and then that he would be guided by urgency – that the only thing that mattered when he was at work was becoming the absolute best he was capable of being.
He realized that all those who come after him and had left him eating their dust had done so because of the urgency they brought to getting things done, and he resolved to do the same.
Starting the very next morning, when Hal went to work, he went to WORK. Only one thing mattered – results. He brought enormous urgency to every sales call, every presentation, every meeting and every client.
And the results spoke volumes.
In the first 60 days, Hal did more business than he had done in the previous 15 months and his business has grown every month since.
For the past eight months he has been the top producer in his office and for the last two months, the top producer in his company.
With a huge smile on his face he told me that he doesn’t know any more about the business than he knew before watching that newscast. “It’s not that I know more, it’s just that I do more.”
We have spent much time over the past few years discussing what I believe to be an inviolable truth: we only ever do one thing – we do what is important in the moment.
Hal has simply substituted the word “urgent” for the word “important.”
I don’t know which word has stronger meaning but I think the real lesson comes from the quote by that hero from his hospital bed. “If you don’t act with urgency, you’ll never have what you urgently want. When you want something badly enough, there ain’t no force on the planet that can stop you.”
Hal wanted it badly enough and his results have proven the unstoppable truth of that statement.
How badly do you want it?
Till we read again.
P.S.My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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