I have often thought about ‘why” and “how” Walter and I became financially successful. Today I am going to share how it all began!
It started many years ago when Walter and I were on our honeymoon. Believe it or not, having sex was NOT my top priority. While I was most eager to enjoy the romance of my married life, I decided that there was something even more important. Walter and I were starting a new journey together—as a couple –forever. For me it was really important to navigate our journey and decide exactly what I would achieve in life. Notice I didn’t say “what I wanted to achieve”, I said “would achieve.” Failure was not an option. Looking back, that was a pretty daunting thought process for someone so young.
As an aside, I’m sure that just tickled my new husband. Sex or goal setting – which do you think he would have preferred? But even back then he was supportive of my “crazy ways”. He probably realized we’d have much better sex if he simply placated me.
I had a large scrapbook (which I still have) and on the last two pages I created a list of 50 personal goals. They ranged from very simple things like enjoying a wine and cheese picnic or going to Europe, to more typical newlywed goals like having a family. But the one that surprises most people is that at 21 years old, I decided I wanted to start my own business and become a millionaire. (BTW –that would be equivalent to about 6 million today). I had NO idea what type of business –but I was confident that I would do “something” that would make me a millionaire.
I can assure you that I did not share my goals with many. In fact, I’m not sure if I even shared all of them with Walter. Why, you ask? I can assure you that if I told my friends or family that I wanted to build a multi-million dollar business, have my own jet plane, travel around the world, own 5 homes at the same time and appear on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, they would’ve told me I was “nuts.” Those things just don’t happen to two “kids” living in a three-tenement house in Lawrence, Massachusetts. So, I kept my goals to myself, but I knew I would have the life I wanted. Certainly, I did not want to introduce any negativity into my extremely optimistic viewpoint of reaching my goals.
What made me think that I could do it?
Stated simply, I believed in me. I had a winning, not whining attitude. Most importantly, I had a love affair with success which began when I was very young selling Girl Scout Cookies.
At 7 years old, I was a “Brownie” (the younger version of a Girl Scout). When “cookie time” came, we too, were encouraged to go out and sell cookies. In order to incentivize us, it was announced that the New England Girl Scout/Brownie who sold the most cookies would get an award for being Number One and would also win a two-week Girl Scout camping trip.
The day I found out about the contest I knew I would win. I started selling my cookies immediately. Back then, it was perfectly safe to go around the neighborhood, door to door to friends, neighbors and even strangers. I did just that. And I sold, and sold, and sold.
At the next meeting, I handed in my sheet. The Troop Leader was astonished. She asked several questions. Had my parents helped me? “No” . Did I have a huge family that bought them? “No.” And finally, was I sure these were actually sold. “Yes”. The Troop Leader took my sheet and acknowledged what a good job I had done. While I liked the praise, that really didn’t matter that much to me. I just wanted to win.
Weeks later, the cookies were ready to be delivered. It was then, and only then, that my parents realized what I had done. They were less than pleased that I had walked blocks upon blocks alone selling my cookies. Further, at 7 my record keeping was less than perfect. So of course, my parents had to help me deliver all these cookies. We were mostly successful.
Shortly thereafter, I was told that I had won the contest & now I could attend Girl Scout Camp free. My mother was very proud of me and asked what weeks I wanted to go. Without hesitation, I answered, “Oh, I don’t want to go to camp –give it to one of the other kids. I didn’t sell cookies to go to camp—I hate the thought of camping. I did it because I wanted to win the contest.”
When I achieved that goal @ 7 years old, I realized I liked winning. I really liked being Number One. I LOVED getting on stage and receiving my award. What made this so sweet was I did it on my own and I did it fairly -without relying on my family to purchase all the cookies. But I also recognized that without the support of my parents who helped me deliver those cookies, I would have failed miserably.
That’s my story, but what is the lesson?
I set my goal. That goal was to win –the method to achieve that goal was to ensure that I sold the most girl scout cookies. I distinctly remember wearing my Brownie uniform, looking rather adorable & telling each potential customer that I was trying to win a contest. I was very clear on my goal, my plan & my message.
I have spent my entire life living having a Love Affair with Success! Oh, trust this face, I have failed. But I have never been daunted by not achieving something. Everyone has failed. I learn from my mistakes. I live by the mantra “Don’t make the same mistake twice —new ones are A – OK.”
I have never let any one event define me. If I got wrapped up in “being famous”, my ego would dictate my actions. If I became depressed and miserable because my plan didn’t work, I would sabotage my own future.
If you want to achieve your goals, then you must believe in yourself and believe in your dreams. You should not only want to Change your Life and live your dreams, but you should also embrace the fact that you deserve to have the life you desire. And unless you are going to be that ONE in 292 MILLION who hit the Powerball, you have to know, “If It’s To Be…It’s Up To Me. Only YOU can make it happen
So, start enjoying your journey by reaching your goals. And it’s time for YOU to have your Love Affair with Success!