Trust me, I didn’t wake up last week as a finished product with seemingly unlimited opportunities and resources.
If you look at my Facebook page you may see a semi-retired multi-millionaire dude living the good life, nice home, great family, professional success, recognition, financial freedom, travel, etc. That’s a mostly accurate representation, however, there is the other part of the story—what you don’t see and what you may not know about me. There was a time when I had no apparent resources at all.
If you’re simply a casual follower of www.joebuzzello.com you probably have no idea the price I’ve paid to get to where I am today…which I don’t consider to be even close to a finished product. (Because I’m still working very hard to do better professionally and also to become a better person.)
Some of you may have a small notion of what I went through, but only if you happen to be an old acquaintance, or if you read my novel, Drawing Circles and figured out that the “Tony DiBona” character was actually based on my very personal experiences. Most people that read that book respond…in so many words, “I had no idea all of this bad stuff happened to you, Joe B. How did you ever bounce back?”
By my late 20s/early 30s, I’d already experienced nearly every crushing setback or land mine an entrepreneur could suffer (personally and professionally) in an entire lifetime. By October of 1992 I was flat on my back financially and I had some serious choices to make. I first had to make the decision to get up off the floor and that didn’t take long. I wasn’t going to stay down there. Then, I had to revisit everything I’d learned about success and identify any and all resources that could help me move forward toward my goal of becoming financially free.
Based on my experiences, I knew that a lack of resources could kill you. I also know that when people are down, or STUCK, it’s far easier to gravitate to convenient excuses, and when you are down, they’re plentiful! It’s also easy to succumb to the well meaning, but negative advice from friends and relatives—or worse, the unconstructive voices in our head.
During one lazy Saturday afternoon, during the early fall of 1992, I took out a yellow pad and began to write down my major objectives. I wrote down, “Millionaire by age 40,” which was quite a leap for a 31-year old dude with less than $20 in the bank, but I knew my successful rebound would hinge on finding or creating the resources and vehicle(s) I needed. Again, a lack of resources is one of the key factors that totally incapacitate most people that are trying to do something great in their life.
On that same yellow pad I began to identify and list resources, but allow me to back up a little…
In October of 1992 I was divorced and living in a spare room at my mother’s home in Van Nuys, CA. I had nothing in savings, was driving a beat up Mazda RX7 with bald tires and no air conditioner. I was unemployed, having just suffered a failed business which I closed the doors on the previous month. I had no professional mentorship that I trusted at that time, which I counted as my biggest deficit.
In short, I had NO apparent or visible RESOURCES.
It would have been very easy for me to tell myself, “Hey Joe, let’s scale back your dreams and goals a little. This is not the time to dream about becoming a millionaire or take the risk of jumping into another commission only gig.” I could have rationalized something that sounded like, “Joe, you did the best you could. Maybe it is time to get a real job and whatever salary you can negotiate…you have no obvious or visible resources.”
Luckily, that wasn’t the way I was wired.
(If you REALLY want to know how highly successful salespeople and entrepreneurs are wired, read: THE CAP Equation)
I knew that losers typically used a lack of apparent resources as a convenient excuse to minimize their dreams—in fact, it’s their excuse to not even TRY to succeed.
“Losers typically use a lack of apparent resources as a convenient excuse to minimize their dreams.”
When I wrote, “Resources” down on that yellow pad I immediately began to try to identify anyone and anything that could be considered a resource. I wrote down possible money sources, as far fetched as some of those sources were. I also jotted down the names of friends, old co-workers and prior mentors that could possibly help me, or maybe connect me to someone who could.
One of those, “prior mentors” on my list was a dude named, Jimmy Hill. I had worked with Jimmy in 1987 and 1988 at a company called American Family Life Assurance Company. I left my position with that company because the timing wasn’t right for me, but I had learned so much from Jimmy—LOVED the guy—and was looking for the opportunity to work with him again. I hadn’t talked to Jimmy in a while and it felt awkward to call him out of the blue and ask him for his help, but I didn’t let that stop me. I got my nerve up and eventually called him. He was very happy to hear from me, which made me hopeful. Then he quickly told me that he had accepted a new position with the company (now known as Aflac) and he was in the process of packing and moving back to Virginia.
I was deflated when I heard that, and then he paused and asked if he could arrange for me to interview with the man that would be assuming his role in southern California. I had no connection with his replacement (Bill Krzciok) but Jimmy assured me that he would call Bill, tell him all about me, and urge him to consider me for the open regional sales coordinator position in Los Angeles. I hung up the phone and just smiled. The reason I was smiling was that, by this juncture of my life, I knew that if you earnestly channel resources to meet your objectives, God and the Universe would surely supply them. You simply need to ask!
“If you earnestly channel resources to meet your objectives, God and the Universe will surely supply them. You simply need to ask!”
The rest of that story goes like this: Bill hires me—gives me an opportunity to run a key sales territory for Aflac in southern California and in the process becomes another cherished friend and mentor. I work my ass off at the job and a decade later I’d banked my first million and was hard at work on my second million.
When I wrote, “Resources” down on that yellow pad in October of 1992, I wasn’t thinking that a single name of a prior mentor that I hadn’t spoken to in over a year would yield the opportunity for me to earn my first million—let alone my second million—but I did know something good would happen to me.
I can actually recall staring at that blank yellow pad for a few minutes that afternoon before the names and items started appearing in ink. It was like magic. They began to materialize on the pad of paper. Jimmy Hill’s name became a phone conversation. That conversation begat a meeting with Bill Krzciok—a person I’d never met formally. As stated before, Bill became a dear friend and a critical mentor…but I didn’t know him—he wasn’t even in my life—before I forced myself to list possible resources on that magic yellow pad!
If you are down and out like I was (hopefully you aren’t), or if you are simply stuck and need to get to that next level, maybe you should take out a yellow pad and begin to Identify, list and PURSUE any and all possible resources that can help you meet your objectives.
Trust me…your brain and your hand will start moving. I know the resources seem invisible now, but they’re not—they’ll appear right there in front of you on that magic yellow pad.
If you need more resources to get moving again, go try this and tell me how it works for you!
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation©.