If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me

If it is to be, it is up to me.

Those are ten of the most powerful two-letter words ever uttered. And I’m sure you’ve heard them before. But what do they REALLY MEAN … “If it is to be, it’s up to me?” And HOW DO YOU APPLY THESE WORDS to your life?

I’m glad you asked. So let me answer your questions … because they’re critical questions that many people never even think about.

They never think about the fact that IT’S UP TO ME. That may be one reason why 95% of the people reaching retirement age lack the financial resources to take care of their basic needs … without some form of government help. They never fully understood the fact … that IT’S UP TO ME.

Strangely enough, some immigrant groups … not all … REALLY UNDERSTAND this basic truth. In fact, a person who immigrates to the United States is 4 times more likely to become a millionaire than a person who is born here. Is that because the immigrant is 4 times luckier? No. Is it because the immigrant is 4 times smarter? No. Is it because the immigrant works 4 times harder? No. It’s because the immigrant is 4 times more likely to spot opportunities than problems. He knows, “IF IT IS TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME.”

Despite this basic truth, I come across a lot of people in my speaking and travel who do little or nothing in the way of spotting opportunities. And they do very little to increase their value. They don’t buy or read educational books, and they don’t invest their own time and money into motivational CD’s, DVD’s, or seminars. And they wonder why they aren’t better off today than they were last year.

So I want to let you in on a little secret. If you want to double your paycheck, all you have to do is take action to triple your value.

One of three things will absolutely happen. One, your present employer will respond with raises, bonuses, and promotions. Two, a new employer will find and grab you. Or three, you’ll discover some entrepreneurial opportunity and move on to writing your own paycheck.

And if you already own a business, simply take action to triple the value you offer to your customers. As entrepreneur Dan Kennedy says, “Your compensation will always catch up to your value.”

But my clients say, “Dr. Zimmerman, that’s all fine and dandy. But how do I keep myself motivated enough to do all those things?”

Well there’s two things you’ve got to do.

=> 1. Step out with courage.

Success seldom falls upon the faint-of-heart or the lily-livered cowards. It comes to those who are not afraid to try … and try … and try … and try.

And yet the losers in life don’t see all the trying behind the scenes. They look at a successful doctor and don’t think about the many years of schooling, internship and residency he endured before he even started to practice medicine. They read about the successful businesswoman and never realize the huge amount of work she put into the process of earning her position. They see the Olympic athletes get their bronze, silver, and gold medals but forget about the hundreds of hours of training that preceded those few winning moments.

That’s why the losers give up when they hit rocky patches on their road to success. They think, “It looked so easy when they did it. I must be doing something wrong.” And they give up. They don’t understand how the success process works, and they lack the courage to keep on trying.

But one young man understood the courage part. It was his last chance. He was a senior and his goal was to make it to the state wrestling championships. He had to win this match to get a fifth-place medal and get into the championship rounds.

Unfortunately, when the match was over, he stood with his head down as the referee raised his opponent’s arm in victory. It was not even close. He had lost 14-0. His high school wrestling career was over. There would be no state tournament for him. Not now … not ever. It was his last chance and he blew it.

Walking off the mat, he heard the applause and cheers for his opponent. But the applause kept growing louder and louder. Then he looked up. All eyes were on him. The 800 fans who packed the small high school gym were standing and cheering him. They were giving him a standing ovation. He was overwhelmed. The emotions of the moment became too much for him to handle. He went down on one knee and cried.

You see, wrestling is a difficult sport for anyone. But it is even more difficult when you are born without a left arm. And his right arm, if you could call it that, was really just half an arm. He had two fingers growing out of an elbow-length stump.

He remembered that when he first went out for the team in the ninth grade, the kids on his own team made fun of him.

His sophomore year was not much better. More comments behind his back. More hurtful statements to his face. Nicknames from the stands that no one should ever hear.

By his junior year, he had developed his own one-armed style. And what a leg wrestler he became. He had won almost as many matches as he had lost.

And his senior year … the greatest moment of his life came when his coach told him the team had picked him to be one their captains. He ended the season with 11 wins and eight losses. And even though he wasn’t the greatest wrestler, he was a great competitor. He earned the right to represent his school on the mat.

And now his wrestling career was over. His opponent was hugging him. His coach and teammates were picking him up and putting him on their shoulders. He saw Mom in the stands crying. And Dad was filming the whole thing with his new video camera. The crowd was still on its feet cheering.

They were giving this “losing” wrestler a standing ovation because the one-armed kid had taught everyone a lesson. He taught them WINNING IS NOT THE ONLY THING … COURAGE IS.

Yes, you’ve got to step out with courage … whether or not you feel courageous. Just do it.

And then, to keep yourself motivated … to keep on getting better and better … and doing better and better…

=> 2. Perfect your climbing skills.

In other words, success is seldom just around the corner. It’s almost always found over the hill.

You will encounter put downs as you pursue success. Fred Astaire knew that. Over his fireplace in Beverly Hills hung a yellowed MGM inter-office memo, a souvenir of the dancing film star’s first screen test. Dated 1933 and sent by the testing director to his superior, it read, “Fred Astaire. Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

You’ve got to climb over the put downs. Fred Astaire did.

And you will encounter rejection as you pursue success. Randy Pausch wrote about that in his book, “The Last Lecture.” He talked about applying for a job as a Disney imagineer and receiving “The nicest go-to-h_ _ _ letters I’ve ever gotten.” But the rejection didn’t discourage him and eventually wound up doing work for Disney.

In the process, Randy learned a KEY lesson in the process of winning. He said, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” In other words, the brick walls of rejection help you figure out who you really are and what you really want.

Randy went on to say, “The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the OTHER people.”

So I ask you, “How good are your climbing skills? Are you climbing up, over, and around the brick walls to your success? Or do you figure success is ‘too hard’ to achieve, so you just give up?”

The great educator Booker T. Washington knew about climbing. He told his students back in the 1800’s, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

I don’t know what obstacles you’re facing. Maybe it’s the economy, your company, your finances, or your relationships. I don’t know the answer to every one of your difficulties. But I do know this … you’re bound to have a lot more success by keeping on than giving up.

You’ve got to follow the advice of Bill Clements, the former governor of Texas. He says, “Energy is the secret to this whole situation. You can be a person of great integrity, character, and all these other wonderful things, but if you don’t have the energy, and if you don’t really put your shoulder to the wheel, so to speak, and start pushin’, you’re not going to get to first base.”

These are tough times. No one would deny that. So I entreat you to step out with courage … even if you don’t feel that way. And climb over the obstacles … that will inevitably get in your way … as that is the only way you’ll ever get the success you want.

Action:  Where in your life do you lack courage? When do you look scared, feel scared, and act scared?

And what could you do … starting now to ACT more courageously?