#3 – DON”T GIVE UP.
At the end of the last post, things looked pretty sad. It seemed like I had failed miserably. That’s when success skill number three kicked in. Something inside me said “don’t give up… do not give up!” There was one more thing to do. I went to every house where I’d left free samples. I knocked on the door, offered my business card, asked if they liked their papers, and asked them to subscribe. Maybe it was the business card…. Maybe it was the neatly folded papers…. Maybe it was this 4 foot 9 inch tall kid trying so hard to close a sale. By the end of the week, I had 40 subscribers. I called the Circulation Manager, and she sounded like she was going to cry. “Do you know how much you’ll earn every week with that route?” How much? “Twenty dollars, plus tips. And I bet you are going to get lots of tips.”
And she was right. I had more than $100 in a month or two, and almost always made $10 a week in tips. I was a success! So much I need to know about success, I learned in 5th grade. That’s when my hunger motivated me to become an achiever.
What do you hunger for? What do you want to achieve? I may not be smarter than a fifth grader, but here’s my advice:
Number one – set goals
Number two – have a plan
Number three – don’t give up… never, ever give up.
#2 – HAVE A PLAN.
In the last post, I’d done some goal-setting. But goals aren’t enough, are they? Here’s where the number two success skill came into play. If I was going to get a job, it wasn’t going to just happen. I needed to have a plan. And I did. I asked the paper if I could get 50 newspapers a day for a week, myself. My plan was to give people a free week of the paper and then ask them to subscribe. If I could get 25 to sign up, I could start my own route.
When I asked the Circulation Manager about buying papers, she said, “Young man, if you’ll deliver 50 papers for a week without getting paid a nickel for it, I’ll give you the papers for free.” Deal! My parents went along with the plan, but they warned me – don’t get your hopes up. I was at that age – still naïve enough to believe. When you believe in your plan, people want to help you. My Uncle Bobby owned a print shop and he printed me a free box of business cards: “KENNY GONYER – NEWSPAPER DELIVERY – 485-9320”
I was in business! Now I was going to work hard and do a better job than Ginger ever did. Every paper was neatly folded and left at the door, dry and safe. My houses got their papers early Saturday morning, before Ginger was even out of bed. Well, I worked for a week, then called to see how many people had subscribed. A few. Not enough.
Okay…. I cried. I’d gotten my hopes up and worked so hard, and all for nothing.
What do you remember about 5th grade? Child psychologists say that this year of life, when you’re ten going on eleven, is the single most shaping year of your existence. It’s when you’re smart enough to understand things like an adult, but naïve enough to still believe like a child.
For me, 5th grade was when I learned some basic skills for achievement – skills I still use today. They’re the basis for the simplest success plan that ever got results. I learned them all as a paperboy delivering the Concord Monitor to the folks on River Road in Allenstown, New Hampshire.
#1 – SET A GOAL. Skill number one I learned at Christmas. My friend Freddy got ice skates, brand-new Bauer skates. They smelled like new leather, like a baseball glove. The blades flashed sunlight in your eyes. Beautiful Bauers….
As much as I appreciate all my folks sacrificed to give us Christmas gifts, I don’t remember what I got that year. I just know that my skates smelled like dirty socks and the blades were rusty. I wasn’t a materialistic kid, but I did hunger for things like Bauer skates, a chemistry set, an Atari computer game…. The hunger motivated me to set a goal – to make money of my own. And not just a little bit of money. I wanted $100 in my bank account by the end of the school year.
Was that realistic? Not with my allowance of 25 cents a week. So I set a more precise goal – to get a job. Our papergirl, Ginger, was quitting soon. I called the paper to ask about taking over her route. They didn’t know she was quitting, so they weren’t signing up anyone new. About 40 people on River Road got the paper delivered. But there were a lot more than 40 homes just in the nearby subdivision.