Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Power of Risks and Chance

I've wanted to write this story for a long time now. So almost 30 years later... Here it is.

As an Incentive Program Manager, for an International Fortune 500 company, my job was not only to arrange all the venue, meeting spaces, transportation, food and logistics, but to find a speaker who could/would relate and motivate a national sales force. The company was experiencing a downturn in sales for the first time and morale was escalating downward too. 

From the Meeting Planners International list of speakers, I listened to a tape from a speaker who talked about a Little League coach whose team was down 0 to 3.  It was the bottom of the 9th inning and this was it. Gathering his young team around him, he looked around at all the defeated faces. He asked them, "Is it possible to win the game?" Everyone one of them shook their heads no. "Do you think any team has won a game being so far down in the bottom of the ninth?" Again, the desolate group, shook their heads no.

Grabbing his laptop, the coach did a quick search, turned the screen around and showed them that not only one but a long list of teams had came back in the bottom of the ninth to win the game no matter how far down they were. He asked them again, "Is it possible?" Their eyes lit up, and with a fire in their belly, the pushed on, determined to win. 

I hired that speaker and he delivered.  The changing energy of this sales force could be felt as the 
speaker continued to talk.

The speaker held up a 1x6 piece of board and started talking about the power of the mind to do seeming impossible acts, like breaking this board in half with only your hand. As he proceeded to ask if a woman would volunteer (there were only two in that group) to break this board. Both woman had taken Karate and that didn't work for him.  

He glanced around the room until his eyes lighted on me, the meeting planner. "Dawn, come on up here and let's do this", he said. Needless to say, I refused, but when the sales force started chanting for me, how could I not do it. By the time I got up to the the front, my knees were shaking. All I could think about was breaking my hand not the board. How I would humiliate myself in front of my group. How could I get out of this. 

The speaker started talking about Mohammed Ali when he would throw a punch, his aim wasn't on 
the face of his opponent for a knockout, but through the face and a few inches behind it. That's what 
made his punches so powerful. 

Holding the board in front of me, The speaker started whispering in my ear, how to focus, that he was with me and would talk me through it, that I could do it, just look beyond the board to a spot his hand showed me. I couldn't get out of it now. I concentrated and after a couple of practice runs, he said, "NOW". I hit through the board with the side of my hand... It broke into two pieces. 

The crowd was on their feet cheering, yelling, stomping their feet. My eyes had to be big as saucers, my mouth was gaping open in utter disbelief that I had  done it. The speaker was pounding me on the back, and telling me, well done, great job. I still could not believe it when he handed me my prize, the two pieces of the now broken board. What a rush, the adrenaline was pumping now. 

My sales group went back to their offices with a fire in their belly, bent on turning things around and winning the game! 

And me? I still have those two pieces of board.  Every time I look at them, I feel that adrenaline rush and the excitement all over again, knowing that I can do anything, no matter how impossible it may seem! 

Sent from my iPad

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