Walk to Beautiful
One of the most moving and true stories I have ever read is Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way, the story of Jimmy Wayne. Jimmy is a country music singer-songwriter whose songs have topped the charts. His song “Do You Believe Me Now?” was played over 100,000,000 times on the radio earning him the millionaire award. He is also now a NYT bestselling author and has a movie based on his book Paper Angels. With all that success, he still identifies himself more as a foster kid who faced numerous challenges growing up in a difficult system.
Recently, I was visiting Nashville and met Jimmy at an event to raise money for the Salvation Army.
Saved By Love
Do you know how this country music star got his first guitar? If you have participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, you will have the answer. That anonymous gift was the beginning of a musical journey. Each year children in need fill out angel tags containing gift wishes and place them on a tree. Jimmy received his first guitar through this program. You can make a dream come true by helping others through the Salvation Army’s program.
After reading his compelling story and speaking with him, I thought about 7 lessons Jimmy Wayne taught me about giving and sharing.
Jimmy taught me to:
1. Give the gift of encouragement.
As a homeless teenager, Jimmy befriended an elderly couple, who took him in. When he speaks of this couple, and the words of love and appreciation they expressed to him, you will be reminded of the power of encouragement. Contrast that to the words spoken by a prison guard; words that, to this day, still seem to haunt him.
2. Give with no expectation.
So often we give and expect something back. True givers experience the joy of giving with no expectation. Anything given with an expectation is not really a gift.
3. Give of yourself.
Bea Costner opened her home to Jimmy, gave of her time, her talent, and her love. She demonstrated the power of giving is when it comes from the heart with nothing held back.
4. Give your unique giftedness.
Service and Influence
Bob Burg is a first-class speaker, author, and friend. His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies: Endless Referrals, The Go-Giver, and Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak. His platform skills were on full display. I watched him mesmerize the audience with his energy and command of the stage. He inspired everyone to make a difference with his message of service and influence.
After his terrific presentation, I had the opportunity to talk with Bob about serving others and influence. In this video, we discuss:
- The importance of service and giving to others
- How to change a corporate culture
- How to get commitment rather than compliance
- How to reset a frame
- Why his books resonate with so many
If you are looking for an inspirational gift that you will want to pass on to others, I highly recommend The Go-Giver. His latest book, Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion, may be his most important work as it compiles success principles and a lifetime of learning.
Some of my favorite Bob Burg quotes:
Annika Sorenstam is perhaps the greatest female golfer of all time. Her many awards include ten Major Championships, 8 Player of the Year Awards, and 89 worldwide wins. In 2013, the PGA of America named her the First Lady of Golf. She’s the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition.
Though Annika stepped away from competitive golf in 2008, she remains busy with commercial and philanthropic activities. Her ANNIKA Course Design firm is busy around the world creating challenging courses everywhere from China to South Africa. The ANNIKA Academy in Orlando is teaching players of all ages. She is the creator of the ANNIKA Collection with Cutter & Buck. She even created an accounting firm, ANNIKA Financial Group. Outside of her business interests, there is the ANNIKA Foundation designed to help junior golfers. She is active on Twitter and dedicated to her family.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Annika and her husband, Mike McGee. In this brief 6 minute video, Annika shares:
- The powerful words her father shared with her that motivated her throughout her career
- How she was so afraid of public speaking that she purposely missed shots and lost games
- How she took on the men in 2003 and how she is taking on a new challenge this year from the men’s tees at the American Century Celebrity championship
- How she wants to give back and help others
Having troubles viewing this video? Watch it now on YouTube.
A Master Storyteller
With over 110 million books in print, David Baldacci is one of the world’s favorite storytellers. He is a writing productivity machine, churning out bestsellers almost as fast as his fans can read them. He and his wife founded Wish You Well Foundation, an organization dedicated to literacy efforts.
No matter your profession, I believe listening to David’s story will inspire you and give you ideas to help your own career.
In this video interview, David and I discuss:
- How he maintains such productivity. He has never missed a deadline, and Fast Company labeled him one of the “most productive people.”
- David’s advice for aspiring authors.
- The real story behind his overnight success. His first published novel was Absolute Power, which immediately became a bestseller and a major motion picture starring Gene Hackman and Clint Eastwood.
- His newest book, released today: The Finisher. Learn why David submitted the manuscript under a pseudonym, hiding his bestselling author credentials.
- His passion for literacy and libraries.
Take a few minutes and learn from a master storyteller. His advice has the potential to improve your own story.
My friend Robert Goolrick is one of the most remarkable people I’ve met. He’s a first class novelist, writing two New York Times bestselling books: A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful. These are stories that will linger with you long after you finish them. He writes the kind of novels you have to tell someone else about. He also wrote the bestselling, non-fiction book The End of the World as We Know It about his unbelievably difficult life.
A Perfect Life?
Look at his life now, and you’d think it was made-for-movie perfect. His books sell millions of copies. He lives a gentleman’s life in Virginia. He travels to exotic destinations. On his wrist, you are bound to see a timepiece to remember.
You may see the external life of dreams, but dig a little more and learn his story.
As an adult….
- He was fired from his job as an advertising executive.
- His manuscripts were rejected by publisher after publisher.
- He was addicted to drugs and drinking.
- He cut himself.
- He literally lost a decade of his life in a world you wouldn’t recognize.
- He was institutionalized.
As a child….
- He was verbally abused.
- He lived in squalor (complete with rats!).
- He was raped. By his father.
- He was neglected.
Most of us don’t understand that kind of life, that kind of pain. But all of us have obstacles thrown in our path.
Responding to Challenges