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I’ve thought it over Boss, and I Quit!

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That was the headline of my resignation letter in 1977. “I’ve thought it over and I quit!”

I was the Senior Program Manager of Individual Development programs for the 356,000 members of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Jaycees. My role was to develop, promote, train and manage these programs through a volunteer field force of 250 young men in all 50 states. It was a thrilling job that included much travel and many speeches to hundreds or thousands of Jaycees at conventions nationwide.

My job allowed me to collaborate with my heroes like: W. Clement Stone, who had been partners with Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, the most popular success book of all time; and Og Mandino, author of The Greatest Salesman in the World, and president of Success Unlimited Magazine. I visited The White House and met President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office for a one-on-one photo. It was the most exciting time of my 30 year life up to that point.

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I will forever be grateful for the privilege of serving in this position, and for the profound lessons I learned while there.

And then I mastered my new job.

My boss was Don Varnadore and his boss, our Executive VP, was Al Simensen. Don was my mentor and my champion. He believed in what I could do. Al was skeptical. He thought I was “a bit much”, sort of a “Mister Motivation” and he questioned whether I was real or all show.

That was all the challenge I needed. For over a year, I worked long hours and gave way more to the job than was reasonable to expect. Many times I worked late into the night and occasionally fell asleep at my desk. My productivity was immense! I was producing high quality work (their opinion, not mine) and winning awards for my department. I wrote a new Leadership Dynamics program and Communication Dynamics that sold over 76,000 copies in the first couple of years. I worked with the Million Dollar Round Table to publish “Family Time, a Revolutionary Old Idea” for the Jaycees. I curated an audio album by W. Clement Stone called the “Personal Success Series.” These were just a few highlights of the many great projects I championed while there.

Try Try Again

But, despite my massive efforts and measurable results, I was never selected as “Staff Officer of the Month.” The reason that mattered to me was the awardees would have their name added to a permanent plaque that was displayed in the lunchroom at Jaycees Headquarters where we all worked. There were about 100 of us at the time. I had never been considered a true contributor in my life before.

I went to Don Varnadore and asked what I needed to do to be selected. He coached me, but still no acknowledgement came. So, I took on even more. I enrolled in night courses at the local community college. I joined a Toastmasters club. I volunteered to conduct before work and after work training programs for the HQ Staff for no pay. These were highly popular and focused on job related skills; public speaking, travel tips and strategies, speed reading, effective listening, and other topics. I also crafted a plan for merging the personnel management and training of our staff into the duties of the Individual Development programs office. I was not asking for a raise, just more opportunity to show my abilities. Still, no permanent acknowledgment. It mattered to me that I could achieve a lasting recognition for my contributions. Nada.

Miracles still exist

One day, as I was returning from a trip to Utah to study the Family Home Evening program developed by the Mormon Church, I said a prayer. “Lord, I’ve done all I know to do. Please take the wheel and guide me as to what to do next. And, please be bold, don’t hint. I want to know it was you.”

The following day I had an appointment to meet with Joe Willard, the general agent for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Tulsa, Oklahoma office. He offered me a full time job as his confidant and advisor, plus trainer for his 19 insurance agents. He also offered me a penthouse suite corner office and use of the secretarial staff for my professional speaking career. Gasp! This happened on the very next day!

I thanked God and wrote a letter to Al Simensen. The headline said, “I’ve thought it over Boss, and I quit!”

My departure was amicable and I still have friends from those days long ago. My new life with Mass Mutual led to six years of training, consulting and speaking for them nationwide and in their home office in Massachusetts. I went on to speak to most of the world’s leading insurance companies and was once the opening keynote speaker for the Million Dollar Round Table! My life was, is and has been blessed on so many levels. As of today I have delivered more than 3,300 paid speaking engagements in all 50 states, most of Canada and literally around the world. Joe Willard became one of my lifelong closest friends and my career has blossomed beyond my greatest dreams. I’m grateful, deeply grateful.

What this means to you is:

Sometimes your best efforts, even with great measurable results, are not going to generate the kind of acknowledgment you may desire. My goal was to leave my mark, to be counted among the people who mattered. I wanted to be able to see my name on the wall along with my predecessors. But it was not meant to be…at least not there.

Upon leaving the Jaycees, I commenced a career that has taken me around the world three times, having 20 books I’ve written published by the nation’s leading publishing houses, inducted into the Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame and I’ve served as President of the National Speakers Association. All of the great awards, certificates and acknowledgments that are bestowed upon professional speakers have been provided to me and my feelings of incompleteness from the Jaycees experience have long since been wiped away by rewards of  “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, poured into my lap.” Luke 6:38 

The same principle applies to you.

What have you been pining for, dreaming about, and hoping to earn? Have you been giving more than enough but not receiving the outcomes you targeted? Maybe it’s time to give up…control. Just as the song says, “Put your hand in the hand of The Man who stilled the water…calmed the sea…”  Pray for guidance and then look and listen. God doesn’t need to hint. You will know if it is right and from Him.

When people say to me, “I think God is trying to tell me something”, I say, “Really, you think the Creator just drops subtle clues and expects you to pick up on them?” Maybe your prayers have been more like pleading rather than placing yourself in His hands. Just pause, take a different look, get a broader perspective. It may well be that a slight change in direction could put you a path that will make all your dreams come true.

Do your best where you are, grow where you are planted. When you outgrow your current place, branch out and look for a new direction, but don’t stop doing more than you are required to do. Overfill your place. Give full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Those who do this will be noticed and rewarded even if not from the direction they’ve been seeking. Be the best bargain of a worker that anyone could ask for, give your employer and your customers a raise through your performance and your compensation will surely come.

 

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



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Business

America Needs a Reboot

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There is a sign outside of Needville Feed that reads: “Has anyone tried unplugging the United States and plugging it back in?” Let the painful laughter ensue! It’s confession time. How many times have you been unable to figure things out on your computer and just decided to start over by rebooting in hopes of a new beginning. Sure, no one wants to lose the current good work, so you save what you can and hope for the best.

But America does need a reboot? Something is not right with America today. Some are working to get the 34 states needed to convene a National Constitutional Convention. Others are clamoring for term limits for all politicians. Unfortunately, every radical answer unleashes radical fears that such plans could create more problems than viable solutions. We seem stuck in stupid!

They want clean energy with wind and solar while they work to shut down natural gas and nuclear energy, two clean energy sources. Due to our clean energy efforts, our coal and oil resources are cleanest in the world. But they want to buy oil from questionable countries while limiting production here. Does it make sense to move from energy independence to energy dependence before we have proven clean energy alternatives that can supply the energy we need? Of course not! We’re stuck on stupid. Time to reboot expanded energy options to reclaim energy independence!

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How can you have true freedom of speech and not occasionally offend someone along the way? The answer to hateful or offensive speech, is more speech and thicker skin. People throw around the term “snowflakes” for people who want freedom for themselves but can’t handle that freedom for those who would attack their own views. Freedom is messy. Freedom is loud. Let people say what they want and experience the consequences for their comments. If you offend enough people, don’t expect to win many votes or popularity polls! It’s time to reboot freedom of speech for all!

I always thought that government was established to protect their citizens from enemies and from criminals. Why are people buying guns? Citizens want weapons to protect themselves. They are seeing far too many criminals let go without being prosecuted or punished. Government wants to take guns away from citizens, and everyone knows that criminals will keep theirs! In America today, crime seems to pay pretty well for the growing number of flash mobs, carjackers, and rioters taking what they want! Few big city DAs are doing their jobs. If you riot in the streets, rob small businesses, and attack bystanders, you should go to jail and serve time! We’re stuck on stupid! It’s time to unplug and reboot America’s law and order program!

Immigration has made America a better country, a melting pot of people who value freedom and the opportunity to earn their own dream. But people playing by the rules to immigrate to America keep waiting and never get the welcome illegal aliens receive by just crashing our Southern borders. By not having a secure border, we are advertising for more illegals to come. The Biden administration will provide transportation, let you have benefits, and work to get you housing and an eventual path to citizenship. Why immigrate legally, when doing so illegally works so well? Time to reboot. Time to finish the wall and secure our Southern border!

Martin Luther King, Jr. paid the price and rallied the country around a dream that one’s character would mean more than the color of a one’s skin. And yet today, calls for racism are encouraged. To many, you’re celebrated for saying that all whites are racist. Many blacks call for special reparations for the racism of a distant past. There is one sure result of such calls for special racial treatment-renewed racism! Reverend King would have surely affirmed that “All God’s children matter!” Under democratic leadership, America is backsliding into more racial animus. It’s time for a reboot. It’s time to reaffirm that “All men are created equal” is a value and a promise worth fighting for.

Personal responsibility for one’s choices is a critical American value. If you commit a crime, you do the time. You borrow money for something you want, you pay your debt. President Biden executive order to “forgive” student debt is not “free.” That debt isn’t “canceled;” it’s transferred to every tax-paying American. Many of those taxpayers have already worked and sacrificed to pay off their own student debt. This is not only stupid; it is an assault on basic fairness and a blatant attempt to buy votes. Reboot required! Reinstall personal responsibility programming!

In a recent interview on Jesse Watters’ Fox News show, Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution confronted the extreme actions of the left in transforming America. They are attacking and overthrowing America’s time-tested values.

To Hanson, the left is governing exactly the way they accuse the right of acting: “I mean, nobody on the right said let’s junk the 233-year-old Electoral College; [the] 180-year-old filibuster; the 150-year-old, nine-person Supreme Court. Nobody [on the right] said let’s bring in two more states and end the idea for 60 years of a 50-state union.”

It’s only left that has no problem stalling protection for right-leaning Supreme Court Justices facing demonstrations outside their homes. It’s the left that wants to radically federalize the voting laws to ensure that 70 percent of the votes would not be cast on Election Day. It’s the left that has radically weaponized the IRS with excessive increases in personnel and funding. The left calls January 6th an insurrection, but as Hanson notes: “Remember in 2021 when they had barbed wire and 30,000 troops in Washington, D.C. in the greatest weaponization since the Civil War?” Do you remember?

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in government entitlement programs that take from your neighbor to give you the things you ought to be forced to earn for yourself. It’s time to unplug this radical administration before it is too late. In November, it’s time to reboot by booting out the politicians who have played so loosely with America’s time-tested recipe for freedom and opportunity. It’s time to send the left home!

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Business

Redirect Yourself to Be More Productive

At any moment you have the opportunity to make a choice

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When you feel as if you’re not being as productive as you could be, or that you have strayed from your desired path, ask yourself: “What is the most effective use of my time?”

Suppose you face a variety of unrelated tasks, and what day does that not happen? Or, you face a variety of related tasks on the same project. Asking yourself what is the most effective use of my time invariably helps direct you to that task, which at present, merits your attention.

What Is the Most Effective Use of My Time

At any given moment you have the opportunity to make a choice, even if a task or project has been going well, you have the opportunity to make the choice as to how to use your time starting at that moment.

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Generally, speaking, when the self-directed question arises, it’s an indication that you’re facing some sort of quandary, and probably need to redirect your efforts. So ask yourself the question anytime you feel the need.

Will It Be Any Easier Later?

When faced with a situation I would prefer to put off, I ask myself another type of question: “Will it be any easier later?” If the task will be easier later, then I have rational justification for not proceeding on that particular task.

For example, if I have to organize all the receipts related to a certain project that will be in progress for another week, I can readily put off this task for another week. Then, with all the receipts collected, I can organize them accordingly, knowing I can do the job until its ultimate completion.

If the task won’t be any easier later, then it largely makes sense to proceed now, particularly if it might be more difficult later. Preparing for a speech, an interview, or a test or exam several days beforehand is a wiser approach to studying rather than cramming the night before.

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