Building Courage

blog post 12When I was in training, our instructors would have us run for hours. This was no light jog; it was a sweaty, gasping-for-air marathon. They’d watch until they saw us begin to struggle. But did they let us stop? Not a chance. They’d push us to run through our exhaustion and draw from energy stores we didn’t even know we had.

This might seem excessive to someone without military experience, but there was an important reason for this exercise; it built courage. It prepared us for that inevitable moment when we’d have to make a tough choice between satisfying our bodies’ needs (in this case, taking a much-needed rest) and doing the right thing (trusting that our instructors had our best interests at heart and following through with the training).

Wondering what this has to do with courage? Imagine you’re on a ship. You’ve been working hard all day, performing tough physical tasks in harsh conditions. You’re exhausted. Your muscles are aching and you’ve strained your back. You’re on your way to bed when someone shouts the words that you never want to hear at sea: “Man overboard!”

What do you do? There isn’t much time, so you need to make a snap decision. Do you cross your fingers and hope that someone else steps in and fishes him out? Or do you push past the fatigue and the screaming muscles and dive in after him?

The running exercise was designed to help build both the courage and the stamina to go after that person. Our instructors wanted to know that if someone needed us, we’d find the courage to help, even after we’d reached our limit.

Would you have ignored the shouts, leaving that man to someone who was able to conquer their exhaustion? If so, I’ve got good news for you: courage is a habit that you can develop. Start making the right choice on a regular basis, and when the going gets tough, you’ll be more likely to find the courage to do the right thing. Think about it. If you start cutting corners on the little things, how are you going to respond when real courage is required?

When I was at one of my first big business meetings, I remember being astonished by all the people who weren’t taking notes. After all, how would they remember what they had learned? Building a business is tough even with advice—I couldn’t understand why would they make it harder on themselves by failing to preserve that important knowledge.

Pushing Past Rejection

Pushing Past Rejection Claude HamiltonWhen was the last time you were rejected? Were you presenting an idea to your boss? Initiating a new relationship? Making a sales pitch to a client? No matter what the situation was, I’m sure it was rough. Being rejected is hard, and regardless of the other person’s intention, it always feels personal.

When I think about rejection, one particular experience comes to mind. I was just starting to build my business. I was full of enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. That day, I was looking forward to bringing a new trainee along to a couple of business meetings with potential clients.

At the time, I was still working as a diver. Diving is hard work. It requires a lot of physical strength and endurance, and I often ended my days on the job with new bumps, bruises and scratches. This time, the scratches were on my face, and because the water was dirty, they were infected. But diving had been a part of my life for so long that I barely thought about it. I met with my new trainee and we set out for our meetings, feeling keen and confident.

The first meeting was at the client’s apartment. But we didn’t get very far before he suggested we meet somewhere else. Since were already there, I pointed out that it made more sense to stay. I was startled when he responded with “Man, you know what? I don’t think there’s anything you have that I’m interested in.” It stung. I was new to the business and wasn’t used to rejection yet. But we set it aside and went to the next meeting.

This time, we barely made it past the front door. The man we were there to meet stopped up as we were walking up the stairs and told us that he wasn’t comfortable with us in his house.

It dawned on me then. With the infected scratches, my military haircut, my lean, muscular frame, I must looked like a hardened warrior—or maybe a criminal. Either way, my appearance was making people uncomfortable.

We left and I went home to bed, feeling overwhelmed. At that moment, it seemed so easy to just give up. I tossed and turned all night, running through the encounters in my mind and wondering if I should quit. But the next morning, my wife went off to a job where she wasn’t respected. It was worse than that, actually; she was constantly hassled by the guys who worked there.

That was all the motivation I needed. I wanted to get her out of there, and that meant I had to refocus, push through the rejection and keep working toward my goal. I accepted that there was a learning curve to my new path and I gave myself time to adjust.

When I look back now, I realize how much I would have lost if I had quit. Our life, our friends, our community and the lifestyle we’ve built—if I hadn’t pushed through, we might have missed out on all of it.

So the next time you feel like quitting, make it a learning experience. Look at what went wrong, and if it’s something you can fix or improve on, then do it. If it’s something that you can’t change, move on and try something different next time. If you’re working towards a goal that you truly want to achieve, never let rejection pull you down. You might be giving up more than you know.

New Policy Council Members Wayne & Raylene MacNamara

New Policy Council Members Wayne & Raylene MacNamara

New Policy Council Members

Wayne & Raylene MacNamara

Well, as much as I intend to blog more often then I do , it seems most of the time I don’t get to it.  However, the past few months have been amazing and so memorable that I have so much to share and can’t put it off any longer! Wayne and Raylene MacNamara are new Policy Council members!!

I remember crossing as a new PC and it was definitely a huge accomplishment that meant a lot to me. However, watching Wayne and Ray go PC was a million times better.

We met Wayne and Ray ten years ago, they were in their early 20’s and both working at factories.  Over 5 years we became best friends and although their business didn’t explode, our relationship grew to be rock solid. Wayne and Ray had been going to seminars and digesting books and listening to CDs, basically becoming professional students of success.

Then we joined TEAM led by Orrin Woodward and things changed.  Both the MacNamara’s and our business started to grow, fast then faster then crazy fast! Wayne had only a handful of people on his team, although super committed, and now those people are his closest friends and also big leaders themselves earning their own success.

That’s what I love about the LIFE business. No one makes it without helping others make it.

I loved watching MacNamara’s team so excited to celebrate their leaders success. I loved watching MacNamara’s families in the audience as Wayne and Ray crossed and gave an amazing inspiring heartfelt speech. I loved watching Orrin and Laurie, great mentors and best friends of mine, give Wayne and Ray, also great friends, their PC ring and pendant.

I loved Wayne’s first PC meeting, having him get to be part of such an amazing group of men is such a blessing. I loved all the stories and memories we shared with the MacNamara’s as we spent 2 weekends in a row with them celebrating and reminiscing about the journey to PC.

MOST AMAZINGLY WE LOVED meeting Wayne and Ray in Louisville, after they left at 3am in the morning from Toronto, having just gotten positive results in a pregnancy test!! THAT’S FREAKING RIGHT!!! They found out they were pregnant hours before crossing as PC for the first time!!! CAN U BELIEVE THAT!!!!!

I could barely hold myself together. Lana and Ray cried all weekend, we all thought Wayne would get too excited and just blurt it out on stage!!!

So there you have it, Wayne and Ray are new PC and expecting parents!!! WOWSERS!!!

I have a million great stories about the MacNamara’s. I will try to tell a lot of them over the next few blog posts. But one I will leave you with something Ray said about Wayne during their PC speech. Wayne and Ray met and fell in love when they were 15. (this is quite normal in Cape Breton Ha Ha!!!)

They have been together since then, 20 years!!! Ray said “I knew him as a boy, and watched him grow into the man he is today”.  Now she will get to watch him become an amazing father. I have so much passion for them as friends and partners.

We are so proud of them!!!!

Fight Fiercely