Are You Determined ~ “No Matter What?”
This a a story about one of my all time favorite speakers and authors – Les Brown – A man determined, “no matter what!”
As a child, Les’s teachers labeled him as “Educably Mentally Retarded” (EMR). As a result of this label, he never worked hard in school; he never tried to excel in reading or writing; and for years, he fell behind in school.
Finally he was set free from that label one day when one of his teachers, Mr. Jackson, asked Les to come up and write something on the blackboard. Les responded that he was not able to do so because of his label.
In a moment, Mr. Jackson replied with a phrase that set Les free. He said, “Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”
Les Brown applied that statement to the rest of his life and quickly developed a “No Matter What” mentality. Since then, he has become one of the most influential authors and speakers of our day.
Where there’s a will there’s a way…
After being so inspired by Les Brown, I knew deep down inside, even when a college senior, that I was going to become a professional speaker and best-selling author at some point in my life. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I was determined to make it happen.
That goal became the core of who I was and my biggest career goal to pursue. I was mocked by many people and rejected by dozens more, but I stayed true to my core beliefs and goals, which centered around the understanding that, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
I asked myself the following set of questions (and still ask these questions today). I encourage you to ask the same questions of yourself as you develop your “No Matter What” mentality in terms of pursuing your goals and dreams:
If Not You, Then Who?
If Not This, Then What?
If Not Now, Then When?
I am convinced that these are the three most powerful questions in the English language. I persevered. I was determined.
At first, my former wife thought I was crazy. “My husband writing a book? Are you crazy? What qualifications do you have, what achievements do you have?”
But those questions only made me focus on finding the answers and encouraged me all the more to do it. I answered all of her questions, convincing her and reconvincing myself I could do it, and then stayed firm to my mission.
Five years later, and $20,000 invested, I published “Creating Your Own Destiny” in 2001 – 140 pages with lots of grammar and spelling errors. I was so excited about the book that I quickly tried to hire a publicist. I sent this guy a check for $500, but he sent it back, telling me my book had no chance of being a success.
He said I should give up on this project and keep my day job. Little did he know his rejection letter and returned check just added fuel to the fire.
By that point, Les Brown had already taught me never to let someone else’s opinion of me determine my reality. As a result of this rejection, I was more determined than ever to prove this skeptic wrong.
Ten editions later, now in hard cover, roughly 300 pages, and published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., I am happy to say that my first book has sold over 150,000 copies in 5 languages and in 108 countries. “No Matter What!”
This is an excerpt taken from my book “Creating Your Own Destiny”.
If you are an event or meeting planner, this is one of the many topics I can speak on, or I will be happy to customize the topic to relate to the needs and interests of the audience I will be speaking to.