One of my dearest friends reminded me just yesterday that I had been responsible for impacting on his life some 30 years ago when, as an after dinner speaker, I had told a story which he had never ever forgotten. Flattered, but confused I confessed with absolute honesty, that I could not remember the moment and asked him to which of the many stories he referred?
Amongst the many joys of being a marketer, I have, in my time, been honoured to speak at hundreds of functions as both a support speaker and on some occasions as the keynote speaker. What a joy to discover that someone was actually listening.
The story he related concerned, Jim a supervisor working on a US rail track in mid summer in the 1930’s, In those days the Pullman train ran coast to coast. He was in charge of a gang who were creating a new siding. As they worked, an old Pullman train with just six carriages pulled into the siding. At the end of the train was a magnificent viewing carriage refurbished to reflect the fashion of the day. Its large windows sported an interior of magnificent proportions. To the amazement of the rail gang a central window was gently lowered and a well dressed man leaned out of the window shouting “Jim! Jim is that you?” Jim wandered across somewhat mystified by the enquiry. On arrival beneath the window, he was greeted by a stout but confident man. Overjoyed at seeing Jim he immediately invited him into the cool environment and offered him an ice cold glass of pink lemonade. Twenty minutes past and Jim, refreshed and obviously pleased with his encounter, exited the train and waved goodbye as the engine reversed and proceeded on its journey.
The crew crowded around the overjoyed supervisor. “Who was he?” “What did he want?” “What’s the story Jim?” they enquired. Jim proudly confided that he had just met with the Chairman of the railroad. He and Jim had started work for Pullman on the same day 30 years ago and he had recognised Jim and wanted to share a moment with him. As they returned to work, a young inquisitive character working on the gang approached Jim. “Boss”, he said, I’m confused? You and the Chairman started work on the same day – yes? Then how come he finished up as the Chairman and you’re still just a supervisor?”
Quietly Jim responded, “Well on that day thirty years ago I came to work for $1.00 an hour and he? Well, he came to work for the railroad.”
Attitude, attitude and more attitude in all things matters. How you start your journey impacts on how you complete it and where you end up is directly proportionate to what you think from the outset. In my business I’ve seen the winners and the losers and the winners all have one thing in common. They know where they are going and it’s therefore impossible for them to ‘end up some place else’.
Thanks for listening Rog. and thanks for making me re-listen to something I had honestly forgotten!