Posts Tagged ‘initiative

03
Jul
14

book girl

A tribute to Charlie "Tremendous" Jones from the sales force at Southwestern.

A tribute to Charlie “Tremendous” Jones from the sales force at Southwestern.

Ever since I got my first work release at the tender age of 14 I have worked. I worked in fast food, retail, at a summer resort in housekeeping; you name it, I did it. One of the jobs I had in between college years was selling books door to door with a company called Southwestern Book Company, now known as Southwestern Advantage. My father was a true believer in the role of sales in developing a person as well as being a book lover of extreme conviction.

He highly recommended that I consider working for a summer with this group. After all, he told me, if I could knock on a door cold and make a sale I would have successfully completed one of the hardest things I’d ever do in life. Sign me up!! I was all for getting the hard stuff out of the way early so I could move on to greater experiences. He also told me that when a prospect opened their door to put my head in first instead of my foot. That way if they slammed the door on me I could keep talking.

I found out quickly that selling books with Southwestern was unlike any other previous summer job. You are completely on your own to get up, get out, and get results. No one is making you punch a time clock or allowing you to sit behind a computer and surf for 7 hours and 50 minutes a day. And although there were no cell phones in my day, the company still requires cell phones to be left in the student’s home or vehicle.

It truly was a crash course in self motivation, grace under fire, thinking on your feet, and handling rejection. The goal was to knock on as many doors as possible so as to hit the law of averages and get several sales in a day. I had a difficult time with that much rejection so I modified it a bit.

I sold in the coal-mining hills of Bluefield, West Virginia my first summer. Rather than knock on 20 doors and sell 2, I would knock on 2 doors and sell two. By taking time, I was able to develop lasting relationship with these people. Some I even remained pen pals with for years to come. They cooked me meals, shared their family photos, and yes, bought my books. People who had houses with dirt floors saw the value in my $60 two-volume condensed encyclopedia set. Sometimes, if money was short, I would barter with them. I even ended up with a kitten and some moonshine (but obviously didn’t drink it since I still have my eyesight).

The next summer I sold in Blacksburg, Virginia, a much more affluent area. Guess what? They didn’t buy my books. They thought they were too good for my books. And there I learned that the people with the most resources at their disposal are often the ones who lack the most. I couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. So back to my country roots I went, where folks knew a good deal when they saw it and recognized books to be the transformative tool that they are.

You can’t scare me. I’ve sold books door to door. The military was a cakewalk after this experience. I also learned that when someone said “No” what they meant was that I hadn’t done my job in showing them the true value of my product. That was a pretty big lesson to learn so early in life.

So if a book salesperson knocks on your door, please take the time to hear them out. They are doing a job few others would even attempt. And I can guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their tremendous products and will be proud to add them to your library.

22
Aug
12

Certain Inalienable Rights

Our country was founded on the declaration that all men have certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would like to amend these to include: work, personal initiative, and the pursuit of going the extra mile.

If we’re not working, we cannot experience life. Work is something we do regardless of whether or not we get paid. In fact, our most vital acts are performed free of charge: raising children, bestowing love and forgiveness, volunteerism, and charity. This is what makes the world go ‘round. Working is as necessary to the individual as breathing. When the individual stops working, he stops thinking, and then stops living. My father was born in 1927 and remembers growing up during the Great Depression. His father, like many other Americans, did not have a job, but that did not stop him from working. We are on this planet to work, to give back and share that which is within us.

Personal initiative is the truest manifestation of liberty. The greatest read on personal initiative is found in Elbert Hubbard’s Life-Changing Classic, A Message to Garcia. Those of you who have read it are nodding your heads in agreement. Those of you who haven’t can purchase it for a little over a dollar, it will take you ten minutes to read, and it’s one of the top-selling books of all time. You have the right to not ask your employer how to do everything and to display some personal initiative by figuring it out on your own. You have the right as an employer to encourage your team to read this so that they can understand the infinite power of personal initiative in determining their value and even their salary. It’s the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” philosophy. Don’t ask your boss how to do everything, and don’t tell your employees how to do everything. One of my favorite lines is the man who does things without having to be told draws the most wages. Amen.

The pursuit of happiness requires going the extra mile. Happiness never comes from just doing the minimum. That’s called “getting by” and someday we will all have to answer to life, explaining what we did with what we were given. The status quo has got to go! No child was ever successfully raised by parents who did only the minimum. No marriage ever thrived where two people simply coexisted. No victory was ever achieved without someone, someplace, sometime, stepping out of the mediocre masses and going the extra mile. Some people are like blisters; they show up after the work is done. And there is no joy in being remembered as the bare-minimum guy. We go the extra mile because that is where the human spirit truly excels and finds its only source of happiness.

So claim these inalienable rights for yourself and achieve your true birthright now!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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