The Greatest Networker in the World – Chapter 15: The Beginning
It’s been quite the week,” I thought as I drove to the hotel that Thursday after work. If someone would have told me beforehand that the events that happened to me were going to happen, I would never have believed them. But then, I was beginning to believe anything was possible.
“What the mind can believe, you can achieve.”
Who was that, Clement Stone . . . ? Napoleon Hill . . . ? Me . . . ?
One thing was for certain: I was convinced that all you really needed to do was to begin to believe – and accomplishment after accomplishment would follow.
By the time I had returned home from the Greatest Networker’s late Saturday night, I’d begun to balance every scale in my mind in my favor – forever.
The kids were asleep when I got in, but Kathy was up and we stayed awake ’til dawn talking . . . talking about my weekend, about my old beliefs and new beliefs, about what she believed and wanted to replace her old habits with . . .
We hadn’t done anything remotely like that since we were dating.
Even though I was dead tired from lack of sleep, that Sunday was the most fantastic day. We went to a special place Kathy and I knew since we first arrived here. We hiked back up through the woods with the kids running around, then being carried, then running up and back the trail again. There was a pond we’d discovered long ago and we all went swimming – splashing about, throwing the kids up in the air . . . I cannot remember feeling so free . . . so relaxed . . . so at home with myself and my family.
We all went to that Italian restaurant where the Greatest Networker had taken me for dinner that night. The valet remembered me. The maître d’ recognized me and said how it was so nice to see me again. Kathy looked at me and raised her eyebrows. I loved it!
Oh, and this you won’t believe! Remember, I was the guy who hadn’t sponsored a soul? Well, guess what? That week – three new people! That’s right – three! And tonight, two of them were coming to the meeting, and each one was bringing a guest! No kidding.
Oh, and that’s not the best part. One of the people I sponsored – my boss! He’d come into my office the day before, just before lunchtime. He said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re taking, but I want whatever it is now!” I laughed and told him, if he’d buy me lunch, I’d give him a year’s worth. He signed up with me right then and there.
And it got even better. My boss said he’d been interested in Network Marketing for a number of years, but he’d heard some conflicting opinions about it and had never really understood it before I explained it. He told me he’d been a teacher right out of college, but the money wasn’t any good, and what he really wanted to teach people was about how to succeed in life. “Network Marketing sounds perfect,” he said to me. “How do I start?”
Everything was amazing.
The truth is, my life had changed 180° in just five days.
I pulled my car up to the front entrance of the hotel.
Chris, the doorman I had met the week before, came out and opened the car door before I’d turned the engine off.
I said hello to him and asked if he’d be willing to park my car behind that gray pickup truck, and he said he’d be glad to. I asked him if he was really serious about what he said about going to Japan, and he said he was. So I asked if we could have lunch or dinner and talk about that sometime. He said he’d love that, and we shook hands.
I walked into the hotel room, looking for my new people and their guests. There they were, early – with two more people than I’d expected! I became so engrossed in talking with them and asking them questions that I didn’t notice the man standing beside me – until, at a break in the conversation, I heard a familiar voice say, “Pardon me, I just wanted to say how great you looked.”
I reached out my hand, but he brushed it aside and gave me a big hug, then held me away a little and looked at me. “You really look fantastic,” he said. “How are you?”
“I’m even better than I look,” I said, and there was more than a hint of sheer glee in my voice.
He nodded his head up and down and then laughed that patented booming laugh of his.
“I’ll just bet!” he said, his smile growing even bigger.
“Meet my friends,” I insisted, and he did.
I introduced him to them, and I could tell by the expressions on their faces that coming to their first meeting and being introduced to the Greatest Networker in the World was a tad more than they thought they’d signed on for. It was great!
I stood back just a little as he welcomed them and began asking them questions. A couple of times he glanced over at me with an appreciative look and a nod as he learned that I had just sponsored them and how excited they were to be here.
It felt so great!
He turned to me and put one hand on my shoulder, “You are one very quick study, my friend.”
“I’ve had a superb teacher,” I replied.
“Thank you,” he said, with genuine warmth and a squeeze on my shoulder. “Now,” he said with a deep breath and a smile, “are you ready to surpass your teacher?”
I looked into his eyes. There was no expression I could read there – I knew there wouldn’t be. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Images cascaded through my mind – vivid ones of me as a dynamic, capable and powerful leader.
“Yes,” I said, opening my eyes and looking back at him.
“Good,” he said. “The meeting’s starting. Let’s sit down.”
The meeting was one of the best I’d attended. The energy was high, there was humor and laughter. It flew along from speaker to speaker and I could tell by the faces of my guests that they were finding it interesting and involving, too – and they were pleased they’d come.
At last, they introduced the Greatest Networker, to an immediate standing ovation speckled with cheers and whistles.
He stood in front of the group, acknowledging our applause. After we’d finished clapping and sat down, he remained standing there silently for a long time, just looking at us. He seemed to take in each and every face in the room.
At last, he spoke.
“Tonight, I am going to show you the secret for success.
“Now, if you’re listening very carefully, you noticed I said I am going to show you the secret. I didn’t say I would tell it to you.
“You’ve all heard the secret for success many times – and for some of you, hearing it has made a tremendous difference in your lives – but for most of us, just hearing about something isn’t enough.
“Many of you have read about the secret for success, as well. And although some of you have gained much from what you’ve read, the information alone was not enough to make a profound difference in the way you live and work.
“Do you remember, as a child, how you learned to walk . . . or ride a bicycle?
“You were shown.
“You watched grown-ups walking. You saw how they did it. Then, someone walked with you, helped you – picked you up when you fell – all the while holding your hands, as sooner or later you boldly stepped out, moved your legs and you walked.
“You were free at last!
“Someone put you on a bike and ran along beside you, holding the seat to keep it steady so you wouldn’t fall off – and showed you how to do it. And one day – perhaps minutes after you were first shown how . . . maybe hours or even days – you rode that bicycle. It wobbled. You were afraid, but finally you took off down the sidewalk, riding the bike all by yourself.
“You were free at last!
“In each instance, although you knew much about how to walk and ride, that knowledge alone wasn’t enough. You knew all about how, but you couldn’t do it – yet. Knowing that information wasn’t enough. In fact, what you knew was actually of little use to you.
“Looking back on it all, you might assume that what you thought you didn’t know was the secret. That once you got that knowledge, once you learned that one thing you knew that you didn’t know yet, then you walked . . . then you rode your bike.
“But if you think back very carefully, you’ll discover that the secret to walking and the secret to riding did not come from what you knew – and it did not come from what you thought you didn’t know, either. That special secret lived somewhere in a vast expanse of unexplored knowledge – what I’ve learned to call what you don’t know that you don’t know.
“Am I confusing you? I hope not. It’s really a very simple idea, but it’s the most powerful source of creativity and energy for accomplishment any of us can tap into.
“What walking and riding a bicycle are all about is balance. Balance is not something you have – like a possession. It’s not something you do – such as moving this way or that – although both are required to some extent to achieve balance.
“Balance is a state of being. You either are in that state – or you are not. You are either walking – or falling down; riding – or crashing. Balance is the key.
“Once you attain the state of being balanced, you’ve got the secret. No one will ever take it away from you. It cannot be lost or stolen. It cannot even be forgotten – although you may experience moments when you don’t remember that you remember, but they don’t last long.
“So, why am I telling you all of this? Some of you are asking yourselves that very question!” And his booming laugh filled the room as he said, “I can see by some faces that you are. Good!
“I’m telling you this about being shown . . . about what you don’t know that you don’t know . . . about balance . . . because success, having success and doing successful things, is exactly like acquiring balance. It is a state of being.
“You are either being successful – or you are not. There is no in between. It’s a passing or failing grade. Black or white – no gray – like being pregnant.
“So, are you successful? Yes or no?
He paused and again seemed to look at every one of us. For my part, I asked myself the question: yes or no, was I successful? I answered immediately – and out loud, “Yes.”
He looked directly at me.
“You answered ‘Yes’?” he asked, moving from the podium over to the side of the stage closest to me.
“Will you stand up, please?” he requested.
“You are successful,” he said. “That’s wonderful! Tell me, when did you realize that?”
“Sunday,” I said.
“This past Sunday?”
“Yes,” I laughed. “Just this past Sunday.” And I could hear the chuckles behind me throughout the audience.
“Please, come up on stage and tell us what happened,” he asked.
I took a deep breath and looked at him. He smiled and encouraged me to join him on stage. I went up and stood next to him.
He introduced me to the audience, asked for a microphone for me, and as the man with the mike wired me for sound, he explained how we met.
He told the people about the man he first saw one short week ago, sitting in his hiding place in the back of the room. He reported in specific detail how I had described my business to him, how I had felt about that then, and what I was planning to do – that just this past Thursday I’d been at my “last meeting”: I was quitting the business.
He told them about the success I had achieved – sponsoring new people, having my guests present tonight. He described my guests, how they seemed to him excited and enthusiastic about being here . . . how when he spoke with them, they had told him that discovering Network Marketing, finding a place and people who honored their values, that gave them a way to fulfill their life’s purpose, was something for which they’d each been searching for years.
He told the audience about my life’s purpose as I had shared it with him, the things I valued and what they meant to me, and what they provided for me.
As he spoke, I was touched by the pride that was evident in the way he talked about me. Literally, tears welled up in my eyes and I found myself raising my glasses to wipe my eyes clear, as well. No one had ever said these things about me before. And certainly, no one had ever done so in front of a few hundred people.
He said, I was “ . . . an inspiration for him.”
He said, he was “ . . . so proud of me.”
He called me “ . . . a young Master.”
And then he said, “I promised that I would show you the secret for success . . . .”
He put one arm around my shoulder, pointed to me with the other hand, and said, “Here it is.”
The silence of the room was a roar in my ears, the faces staring up at me a blur. I had the sensation of falling, yet I knew I was standing . . . floating, yet I knew my feet were firmly planted on the carpeted stage.
An image swept into my mind. It was crystal clear, sharp-edged and vividly bright. It was a room filled with people, seen from the stage. I was the one in front looking out at them. They were standing, applauding, cheering. I had given them something that made a difference to them . . . something that moved and touched them . . . something that empowered them . . . inspired them, and they were acknowledging me. They came up to me on stage. They were shaking my hand. Thanking me. Telling me how much what I had said and done had meant to them.
One woman in particular stood out. She had hold of my hand in both of hers, and she was saying, “Thank you, thank you so much for showing me my life’s purpose . . . for showing me how to believe . . . in myself.”
I was snapped out of my movie by the Greatest Networker’s arm, still around my shoulders, giving a firm squeeze and then letting go. He stood back and looked into my face and eyes, “You are very special to us,” he said. “Now, show them success.” And he walked off the stage.
In an instant, the people were on their feet applauding. There were cheers and people were shouting my name. I was in shock. I remember spreading my arms slightly and thanking them, smiling and saying, “Thank you, thank you so much.”
As I looked over the standing crowd, the room filled with their enthusiastic applause, I saw him at the back of the room beside the door. Our eyes met. He smiled. And above all the cheers and clapping I heard his booming laugh. He raised his hand, waved to me, and walked out the door.
Click here to read: Chapter 16: Epilogue