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At least once every three to four weeks, my telephone rings with a call from someone I know looking to make money selling something on the Internet. For the most part, these calls are from people looking to sell books, courses, personal membership sites, horoscopes, mortgages, credit cards and other associated products. Some of these people are well known, others are not.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from a famous business guru who asked me to sell some sort of online course. The person told me I could make millions of dollars helping him sell a product that was “white hot” and in demand. He promised he would give me an endorsement from a world famous television celebrity to help me sell the course.
The business guru told me his “head of operations” would fly out to meet me from New York in Los Angeles. I was curious and wanted to meet this world famous celebrity and the thought of making millions of dollars sounded good. Who can resist this sort of thing?
“We’ll send a car to your hotel to bring you to my offices,” my assistant told the man.
The man explained that he wanted me to meet him in his hotel. This sounded strange. We protested a bit but after going back and forth, I agreed.
I have a driver who drives me around so that I can work while being driven. In addition, Los Angeles has crazy traffic so it can take two hours to go a few miles. I wish I had driven alone because I was extremely embarrassed when our car pulled in front of a run-down hotel in West Hollywood.
I am not the least bit homophobic, but I must admit I was extremely uncomfortable going to a meeting at a hotel that was not “family friendly.” The hotel was in an area screaming with gay activity. As I exited the car wearing a suit and tie, a man with bleach-blond hair wearing running shorts that were at least five sizes too small smiled at my driver.
“I have no idea what is going on. Please wait in front!” I told him.
“Are you sure?” he asked, “I’m afraid I might get arrested because …”
I cut him off immediately,“You’ll be fine.”
I entered the hotel and the man I was meeting was sitting in the run-down lobby. He was wearing very tight designer jeans, a tight white tee shirt and cowboy boots. (He was from New York and his attire seemed out of place.)
I told him I needed to use the bathroom in the lobby and please wait a moment. I went to the bathroom and on the door was a professional printed plastic sign that stated “ONLY ONE MAN ALLOWED IN THE BATHROOM AT ONE TIME.” I honestly had never seen a sign like this in my life. The door was locked, too.
I went to the front desk and explained I needed to use the bathroom. The receptionist told me he would need to buzz me in. He watched me walk to the bathroom and realizing I was alone, buzzed me in.
Afterward, the man I was meeting led me to his hotel room that was a few floors up in this decrepit hotel. I was in complete shock by my surroundings. When we arrived to the room was surprised to see he had the shades drawn, even though the room was plenty dark.
“I got you water,” he told me as I sat down. The water was about the size of a human fist and it was all I had to drink over the next few hours.
The man put on some strange music that sounded almost like some weird subliminal messaging that was streaming from an iPod© on the other side of the room.
The man explained that he was married with children, had agreed to meet me at the insistence of the business guru, proceeded to tell me that the guru’s business had fell on very hard economic times and in the past few months sales were down by over 75%. I had been very highly recommended as someone who knew about these things and the business guru needed my help.
I explained the business guru would need to purchase a very expensive list of people from a good data company if he wanted to sell anything. The man then explained that the business guru did not like to spend money and I would need to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a list of people to sell this information, but if I did a good job with this, I would easily make my money back.
“That sounds great!” I told him.
I was in this meeting for at least three hours, wasting my entire day between travelling back and forth. After the meeting, I started receiving a lot of email from the business guru about how excited he was to work with me. It was nice to receive this attention from the business guru but eventually I made it quite clear:
“Listen, unless you invest at least $100,000 in getting a list of people for me to market this to I have no interest in helping you with this because it is not going to work.”
“We’ll have the data to you tonight!” the business guru wrote back.
Incredibly, I have not heard from the business guru since.
As there seems to be so much interest in selling things on the Internet, this appears to be a typical meeting. A few years ago, another well-known business celebrity was interested in starting a website where he would dole out business advice. He flew from the other side of the country to meet with me, staying for three days to talk about how we could make money together, etc.
I told him he needed to invest at least $10,000/month in some infrastructure and I never heard from him again, either.
One after another, I have entered into all these conversations with various gurus, business owners and others wanting my help marketing something on the internet. To be completely honest, I am not sure I would help them even if they met the various demands I made.
My only career goal is to help people get jobs. If what I am doing benefits this goal, I am 100% willing to throw my heart and soul into it. I can see myself in this very capacity 20 plus years from now. I look forward to improving my skills and helping people. My goal is not to sell business books or business courses or make as much money as I can selling these types of items/services. I have no interest in this.
What is so stupid is I have continually allowed myself to become sidetracked with all of these people interested in doing something that has no correlation with my goals.
In every job you take, you need to understand whether it meets your personal goals. It is rarely productive for someone to take a job that does not meet his/her personal goals, as the odds of you doing this job for any length of time are very slim. In a few months, or a few years, your personal goals are going to lead you in another direction.
When I was growing up, I remember a very pretty girl who ran in the same circles I did. She was attracted to longhaired “rocker” types. The only problem was that she was highly educated, from a wealthy family and there simply were not boys like this in the circles she travelled in. Therefore, she found herself continually dating boys who were clean cut, athletes and so forth—and she never liked them.
On one occasion, after dating a very popular boy for months, she went to a rock concert with some of her conservative friends and ended up having sex with a longhaired “rocker” in the parking lot, which shocked everyone.
This sort of pattern went on for years—bouncing from one failed relationship to the next until, eventually, she got out in the world and ended up marrying a longhaired rocker. This was what motivated her and she tried to be someone different, suppressing her inner desires for too long.
You too have personal goals—related to the mate you have and the type of job you want. If you neglect your personal goals and are in a job, or relationship, that will not fulfill these inner lusts then you are in trouble.
You need to listen to whatever your personal goals are and follow them. For example, you may have an intense interest in being a sports coach. If this is your personal goal, you will not be happy sitting in an office trying to sell commercial real estate.
Several years ago, I was talking with a man who had just sold a well-known Internet company to a giant corporation. As part of the condition of the sale, he had been asked to stay on with the company for a period of time.
“I hate this,” he confided in me, “I cannot wait to get out of here and start a small mountain bike shop in Montana,” he said.
“Are you kidding?” I asked incredulously, “You just made millions of dollars building an important Internet company in Silicon Valley and now you want to open a bike shop in Montana?”
“Yeah,” he said, “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Everyone has personal goals. You too have deep-seated personal goals that, for whatever reason, are important to you. If your goals are to make a billion dollars and be a tycoon, you are never going to be happy doing something that does not related to this.
Recently, I started taking classes at a business school on the weekends to broaden my horizons. One of the most interesting things is that most of the professors are always quick to tell students how much money they make consulting. In a few instances, the professors have said things like, “I have an important board meeting and cannot stay after class to answer questions.”
What is so interesting to me about this is that the professors are almost all saying that they have priorities that are more important than students are. Their real passion comes from consulting and being part of big companies (and maybe the money they make from this). It appears their largest interest is not in teaching. They mention teaching as something that allows them to be consultants.
The knowledge and experience that professors receive from being consultants is certainly something that translates into them being effective at their teaching jobs, giving them more to real world data to discuss. Nevertheless, the fact that their main interests seems to lean towards consulting means that their heart is never going to be 100% in teaching, thus being less effective at their jobs. At some point along the way, they have picked up a different set of goals.
You need to devote all of your time towards things that meet your personal goals. Whatever your personal goals are they are unique to you and you need to embrace them.
When searching for a job, nothing is more important than insuring that your job matches your personal goals. If this is not happening then you are likely to be unhappy and eventually your goals will take you in a different direction. If you are not doing a job that meets your personal goals, the odds are very slim you will ever give 100% of yourself in the work because your heart is not in what you are doing.
Far too often people find themselves in jobs that do not match their personal goals. They may complain about the job, the environment, constantly focusing on the things that they do not like and the people they are working with. In just about every case, there is nothing wrong with either the job or the people they are working with: There is something wrong with them. They are at a job that does not match their interests and personal goals.
The calls I get, the meetings I attend to discuss the Internet with all of these various people have nothing to do with my personal goals. These meetings are the absolute worst use of my time. Even if someone offered me a million dollars to do something unrelated to finding jobs for people, the odds are I would not be dedicated to the job and it would be a giant waste of my time. It does not match my goals.
How much of what you do is outside your range of goals? Why do you waste your time at a job, with people and pursuing interests that have nothing to do with your goals? You need to seize the moment and find work that matches your personal goals, whatever those may be.