Have you had a “boot camp” experience?
Ever been on a path that was not in the direction you REALLY wanted to go, or you were proceeding at a pace much slower than you had hoped for? Then, you had the “opportunity” to go through a (challenging) process in which you grew SIGNIFICANTLY and experienced the realization that you COULD achieve something MUCH BIGGER in life than you had originally anticipated?
For many, this involves joining the military where the starting point is boot camp. I don’t have experience with the military version of boot camp (but certainly have the utmost in respect for those who have taken that route – THANK YOU, VERY, VERY MUCH!!!).
I like one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of boot camp: “a short but very difficult training program : a program or situation that helps people become much better at doing something in a short period of time.”
Given the above definition, I do have a boot camp experience, that made a big (HUGE) difference in my life!
In a prior post I mentioned that in my early 20’s I was involved in a Network Marketing business. Several, as a matter of fact. The “products moved” included (but were not limited to) vitamins, lubricants to make your car run longer, long distance calling services, food, clothing and soap.
In short, the products didn’t matter. REALLY!
What mattered was what it took to make it happen: the acquisition of key skills and discipline.
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” ~ Jim Rohn
Achieving any level of success required the below skills, all of which I have since found to be “table stakes” for success in any (significant) endeavor:
- Interpersonal – The ability to work effectively with other people.
- Time Management – Doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. And, ALWAYS being on time.
- Public Speaking – The ability to deliver a message to an audience to inform, entertain and/or persuade them to act.
- Selling – The ability to persuade others to make an exchange (product/service for money) or to take some action.
I know, I know. You are not a sales person. WRONG! If you are able to convince me that you are NOT “into sales” you have just proven the point that you are! EVERYONE is in sales. You are selling when you try to convince your kids to “do the right thing.” You are selling when you are sharing an idea / approach to getting the job done at work. And, believe it or not, you are in the position of selling EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY while on the job. That is, if you don’t actively sell yourself to your employer every day (by doing the best job possible, regardless of your pay) you may soon have your next sales opportunity (pitching yourself to new / prospective employers).
In my early 20’s I had virtually NONE of the skills mentioned. How did I acquire these (and other) skills “in a very short period of time?” I did what I’ve been sharing in this blog. As guided by a mentor (a.k.a. sponsor, in Network Marketing terms):
- I became a voracious reader (of positive / instructive / constructive material): At least 15-30 minutes EVERY day.
- My vehicle became a “university on wheels” as I listened to positive / constructive material during my commute. For many years this totaled “at least” 1.5 to 2 hours each day. When there was a traffic jam I received extra training that day 🙂
- I attended training programs and seminars on a MONTHLY basis.
- I exercised my newly found and developing skills during my “day job” and while building my network marketing business(es) during the evenings and weekends.
- When an employer offered a training program I jumped all over it!
- When an employer asked me to take ownership of an important initiative (that I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how I would accomplish) – I TOOK IT ON AND GOT IT DONE!
After several years in Network Marketing and our 3rd child was born I decided to spend more time with my family (those nights and weekends) and continue to apply my skills to absolutely NAIL my day job. While I left Network Marketing behind (in the early 90’s) I can honestly say that I would NEVER exchange that boot camp experience for anything!
I’m not suggesting you need to participate in Network Marketing (although that is certainly one approach). I am suggesting that “if” you’d like to achieve something more, you can self-impose the above boot camp experience to acquire key knowledge and skills. It is ONLY a matter of time.
You CAN live YOUR dream.