When I came into the life insurance industry, I was blessed with great success—success that many never thought possible. Much of that success was due to mentors who took a direct interest in my dreams and goals and worked hard to help me see them to fruition.
One of those mentors was Chuck Cutler. In college, Chuck was a great wide receiver for BYU, and as such had already won my adoration. But, it was in his personal interest in me, and my success during my work at Mutual Of New York, that he won my respect.
I learned many things during my time under Chuck’s management, but one of the things that had the most lasting impact came from a story he told me on our way to an appointment.
Now, this wasn’t your regular “across town” appointment. This sales meeting was at seven-thirty in the morning in the little town of Montpelier, ID—just over three hours away from our offices in Salt Lake City.
I picked Chuck up at our offices at 4:00 a.m. so we could be on time and prepared for the appointment in Montpelier. We had both been working into the late evening the night before, so in an effort to stay awake we tried to keep the conversation lively.
As we made our way, the conversation eventually turned to his football days at BYU. With him being a former athlete at the Y and me having been a Brigham Young fan from essentially birth, neither of us was surprised. We both knew it was bound to happen.
Reminiscing about his time playing ball, he came to a story from the early days of his career at BYU.
It was the middle of practice, and what with him being a young wide receiver in a program filled with great receivers, he wanted to make sure to make a statement from the get go.
He lined up in front of one of the team’s senior defensive backs, the quarterback called the signal, the center snapped the ball, and Chuck was off. As he ran his appointed route he worked hard to juke left and right in an effort to lose the defensive back.
The longer the back stayed with Chuck, the harder Chuck worked to lose him. He pulled out all his best moves, shucking and jiving down the field. Eventually all this work brought forth some results.
As Chuck moved back and forth, he eventually slipped and twisted his ankle. The play ended, and the coach walked over to where Chuck was on the field—an embarrassing situation that Chuck had in no way intended for.
The coach pulled him up from off the ground, and simply said (as much as any football coach can simply say anything), “Pick a Direction and Go!”
I think often about this story and it’s message. Sometimes as we work to gain success in our lives, we end up doing just what Chuck did; we shuck and jive our way through life, trying to go in too many ways at one time, leading to a lot of movement, but little progress. When try to focus on too much all at once, everything just ends up blurry and we end up with little more than an embarrassing story and a twisted ankle.
Conversely, when we pick our direction and go, our chances for success increase exponentially. We become dedicated to one destination and with that in mind we are more likely to complete our routes and catch the ball.
Try it; pick one area of your life, then pick a direction—and go. If you will, your ability to succeed will increase, your life will be littered with achievement, and you’ll end up with an “All-American” attitude will make you unstoppable.
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