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I live on the beach in Malibu, California, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I have a fairly large lot for the area and regularly rent out my house and lot for weddings, television shows, model shoots, and that sort of thing. I enjoy this. It is fun seeing celebrities, movie stars, and others close up.
For example, I might walk down to the kitchen in the morning to get a cup of coffee and see a couple of celebrities standing there chatting about the traffic. It might be someone like Kim Kardashian shooting a makeup commercial one day, and another day it might be Jennifer Aniston getting ready to film a scene for a movie. It is a lot of fun being mildly connected to this business, and I plan on being in it as long as I can. I have learned a lot about people from observing those who show up at our house for weddings, television shows, and the like.
Recently I had an experience that showed me the real difference between the most successful and the least successful people out there. In fact, what I am going to tell you about today is a story about one of the most important possible characteristics you can have when it comes to your career and life. This is a power that will change everything for you and take you wherever you want to go. It is something you need if you are going to achieve anything whatsoever, and the more you have of this the better you will do.
A few years ago, a wedding was scheduled at my house where everything went wrong. The wedding was originally scheduled for around sixty people, and the day before the wedding, the coordinator announced that the wedding would, instead, be for three hundred people. This is a huge difference in the number of guests. For a wedding this size, the price for the property rental is normally as much as $15,000 more (which the couple could not afford). The cost is so much greater because there is a lot of stress on the septic system. There is more wear and tear on the property. Permits with the city are required. Neighbors need to be notified. Parking is a huge problem. And, on top of all this, the couple could not afford the standard security deposit.
I was absolutely furious and began a tirade of sorts against the wedding coordinator at around 7:30 p.m. in my living room on a Friday night.
I was so angry that I do not think the coordinator was able to get a single word in edgewise for at least thirty minutes. I just went on and on about how angry I was.
Little did I know that the coordinator was someone who was being paid $500 or so to manage the event by the company that the bride and groom had hired. Nevertheless, over the next few hours she managed to calm my wife and me down, was able to make very convincing arguments for having the wedding, was extremely professional, and made sure that the event went on as she was required to ensure it did. Incredibly, she also talked me out of not demanding an extra $15,000 and a security deposit –an amazing accomplishment.
The next evening, the wedding was a disaster. The police arrived. Neighbors were absolutely livid that the event had occurred. Some neighbors showed up on our property and furiously walked around questioning people. We received terse letters from other neighbors. The entire event was a real embarrassment as far as I was concerned.
The coordinator came by again on Monday and managed to calm me down about the out-of-control event. I spoke about the police involvement and she told me, “They always come. Don’t worry about it.” I yelled about damage to the property and she called the damage “minimal” and “normal.” She did an excellent job deflecting all of my anger and being an advocate for her client.
There was intensity, calm, and focus about the way that she handled the event, and after having calmed down, I started asking her various questions about her job and what she did exactly. Her job was essentially to be at the site of weddings and make sure everyone ended up happy. She did an exceptional job at this, and watching her performance through the entire thing, I became amazed.
Because she had done so well, I started questioning her about her career and background. I have worked in major law firms where well-known attorneys did not perform as well as she did under pressure. I have been under tremendous pressure and not held up as well. Moreover, her ability to put together arguments and deliver them with poise was amazing.
Watching her I saw something great–a potential to do something phenomenal with her life and career. I could tell in watching her that she was going places. I did not know how–but I saw it.
As I spoke with her, I realized that she did not have a ton of education. She was extremely well spoken but had not completed college at an art school. She had a husband and a family that she helped support. Prior to becoming a wedding coordinator, she had held a series of jobs doing various things that were of minimal importance. The more we talked, the better I thought she could do at anything she did. I thought she might do well in sales, in public relations, and all sorts of jobs that I was imagining her for.
As the conversation went on, I told her that I thought she should consider a job working in some capacity for one of our companies.
She flat-out refused.
In fact, she told me that even if I offered her $100,000 a year and benefits, she would not take a job with one of my companies—or anyone for that matter.
She told me she had a dream.
Her dream was to have a large property where she could hold weddings. She had been working on a business plan and wanted nothing more than to do this. She was looking for investors and was determined to make it happen. The property might even have a winery.
As she spoke about this dream, I became incredibly impressed by her devotion to it. She had a family, no health insurance, and her entire focus was on this dream. She refused to even consider a job or anything else because her devotion to the dream was so strong.
A few days later, she sent me a business plan. I am not sure how much of an investment she was seeking, but from what I remember, it was millions of dollars. It was extremely well written and impressive–but certainly not something I was in a position to invest in. I filed the plan away and forgot about the girl and her dream.
Last week I received an e-mail from the girl about how things were coming. It had been at least a few years since I had heard from her. I had forgotten about her and her dream–but was confident that she would succeed.
Her e-mail was enthusiastic and discussed all of her accomplishments with the property. She had lined up free trees for the property she was interested in acquiring, she had people who would send her weddings, she had done all sorts of architectural plans for the property, and was ready to build. In reviewing all of this, I was absolutely amazed by all of the progress she had made.
She told me that she just needed $25,000 to get the property into escrow and then everything would go ahead as she had planned. Just $25,000.
At that point I realized that she had gotten no investors at all so far. She had committed to purchasing a multimillion-dollar piece of land but still did not have a single investor. But as far as she was concerned, she was all ready to go.
I wrote her that I would come meet her and discuss her plans. I told her I wanted to see the land and discuss the entire thing with her.
On Sunday, I drove an hour outside of where I live to meet her. I arrived at her house in the afternoon. It was in a neighborhood that had been built in the past five years or so that was experiencing a raft of foreclosures. The houses and neighborhood were very nice—places that had probably sold for more than $1 million not too long ago—but you could tell that things were not going well there at the moment. There was just a feel about the place.
The girl is fit and in her late 30s, and I did not see any stress in her face whatsoever. Upstairs, her children were playing. She led me from her front door to her dining room table. On the table, massive amounts of plans were laid out for the property. She had an easel in the middle of her living room with a felt sheet over it. She offered me a soda and for the next two hours she showed me some of the most incredible plans I had ever seen. Her goal was nothing less than world domination. She was going to have the largest wedding facility in Los Angeles. There was going to be a winery. There was going to be a hotel. There were going to be restaurants. This was going to be a major tourist destination.
To be frank, the project was huge in scale and was almost like the development of something like Walt Disney World. I could not imagine something like this being built and not being successful.
When I had walked into the home, I had seen a room that was covered floor to ceiling with various illustrations and other plans for the property that were in progress.
The presentation culminated with her pulling the felt sheet off the easel and presenting numerous intricate paintings of the property and what it would look like. The property was incredible, and what she had done with it in the paintings was incredible.
The only thing was that building something like this was going to take tens of millions of dollars. She might be able to get the property into escrow with a $25,000 deposit … but then what?
Moreover, why didn’t she have $25,000?
I started talking with her and asking more questions, and what came out was a story that was not fun to hear. The work of coordinating weddings in Los Angeles had dried up because people were not using coordinators like her as much anymore. The work was now sporadic. She and her husband were now basically unemployed and had not made a house payment in months—the house was now in foreclosure and they could lose it any day. Moreover, she and her husband might now be getting a divorce. She said nothing negative about him whatsoever, but he apparently felt that the situation had gotten out of control and she just needed to get a normal job—for the sake of her family.
We drove about fifteen minutes from her house to see the land she was interested in buying. It was a nice piece of land, but I did not want to get out. I felt sorry for her and the situation because I felt deep in my heart that she would never own the land. Why form an attachment to it if you are never going to have something?
She told me she had walked the land many, many times and was extremely familiar with it. She pointed to where various structures would be built on the property. The property was huge and hundreds of acres in size.
As we sat there in the car looking at the land, she ticked off various environmental and other regulations that the land met. She talked about meetings she had had with city officials about various uses for the land. She spoke about variances and other requirements that the land met. She spoke about each of the neighbors of the property and how they felt about it. She spoke in great detail about the quality of the soil for producing wine. She knew so much about all of this.
Driving her back to her home I felt somewhat impressed and in awe. It was as if I were meeting Donald Trump, who was planning a huge development and he was giving me all the details about how he was going to build a given property that was going to dominate a city.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
In this girl’s case, though, she had nothing but a dream—and no money to back up this dream.
I dropped her off and told her I thought it would work out for her. I am not sure why I said that, but I saw the incredible conviction she had and it meant something.
The next day I received a call from a very wealthy man I know–someone who probably has around $200 million in assets. I never hear from this man and it was unusual that he called me. I returned his call and we spoke for an hour or so about this girl. I told him about her conviction and knowledge of the business. I told him about her experience. To my astonishment, he told me he wanted to meet the girl and might be interested in investing.
They are going to meet this week.
I called the girl and told her about this and she was ecstatic. Maybe something will come of it—I do not know.
Before I hung up the phone with her, I decided to offer her a job again. I figured that in this situation she would certainly accept a job. Once again she refused: “Since I started losing my house, other people have offered me jobs and I have not accepted them. I am not interested in another job behind a desk. I want to build my dream. That’s all I think about and all I want to do. I can see this clearly in my mind and it is going to happen.”
I hung up the phone with her and wondered what would become of her. In my opinion, she is going to get what she wants. It sounds impossible to build something the scale of a Disney World without any money whatsoever–but it is the desire and the strength of the desire that can make this happen.
I believe that the largest difference between people is how much desire they have within them. The people with the most desire will draw the most to them. The greater your desire, the more you will achieve. You need to have incredible desire to do anything.
What do you desire? If you do not desire something with all your heart and mind, you will never get it. You have to think big to accomplish massive things. In my opinion, the ability of this girl to so powerfully conceptualize her vision will lead to success.
The next time you fail to get something you are after, you have to ask yourself how badly you wanted it. If you do not want something badly enough, the chances are you will not get it. The most important ingredient to achieving massive success is the desire you are able to put behind your dream.
Your success in both career and life depends on the strength of your desires. Peoples’ respective levels of desire differ greatly, and those with the greatest desire tend to achieve the most in life. If you do not desire something strongly enough, you probably will not get it. Putting the greatest possible desire behind your dreams is the best thing that you can do to ensure your success.
Tagged: career advice, career advice | a harrison barnes, exceptional job, how to find a job, job deflecting, job market, job search, job seeker, job working, legal recruiter, new job opportunities, potential employer, property rental