Three Feet from Gold: Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities, by Sharon Lechter & Greg Reid
Contemplating whether your business or how you use your time is really what is the best and most productive for you? We of course all have that chat with ourselves from time to time. If that internal dialogue is becoming too frequent for you, then I want to recommend that you read Three Feet from Gold.
Three Feet from Gold recounts, in a near true-to-life narrative, the story of Greg Reid, a young “businessman” who is struggling in both his professional and personal lives. Heavily in debt, recently dumped, lacking in the moral arena and as unfilled as unfulfilled gets, Greg needs a rebound, and quickly. Call it a coincidence or just the things we most need showing up in our lives at the right time, a fortunate encounter with a soon-to-be, well-connected mentor sets Greg on the right path. His subsequent journey is one you will learn a lot from. I don’t want to ruin the story. You will definitely enjoy it, especially if you are a Chick-Fil-A fan! Instead, let me give you some of the highlights.
The Only Success Formula That You Need
Choose your path – get expertise – never quit – share that knowledge with others.
Easier said than done? Let’s see.
Choose Your Path: The Success Equation
This is the exercise. If you are not going to do it, then you are wasting your time reading this article.
Step 1: Write down ten things that you are passionate about. This can be anything. Be honest with yourself about what those are to you, not what others would like them to be for you. Move on to Step #2 once done.
Step 2: Write down ten things that you are good at. Some of mine were: ability to deal with people and talk with anyone; hard work; discipline and organization; very talented lawyer; willing giver of my time and effort to others. What are yours? Don´t even be modest here. You are going to have the most success if you ride your best qualities for all they are worth. So now is the time to make sure that you are entirely conscious of what they are.
Step 3: What is the best combination you can find between your passions and your talents? That combination is what you should be building your business around. Why? This was the key lesson that I took from the book: Anything worth fighting for is going to come with adversity. You will never reach your goals if adversity causes you to quit. You will quit if you are not doing something that you are passionate about and that you can do really, really well. Thus, to be successful, you must dedicate your efforts to something that you have great passion for and which you can excel at.
Step 4: Find or create an environment where you can do that thing you are passionate about and where your top talent can grow and foster value unfettered. For entrepreneurs and business owners, we often do what we do and have ventured out on our own for exactly this reason of creating an environment where our best talents can soar. Now surround yourself with people who have this same passion and who have a talent from their “ten things you are good at” list that would be complementary to yours.
Step 5: Add faith and massive action. You must believe that you will achieve your desired, clear outcomes. Don´t wait to take action towards those outcomes. The “how” will reveal itself along the way. Keep your eyes open and don’t overlook opportunities that present themselves on the path.
The end result of this exercise for me was becoming a partner and head of legal for an investment firm focused on real estate, alternative asset investment and venture capital where I could add huge value through my legal abilities, passion for learning and discipline and hard work. I chose this route because there I could surround myself with business partners who share my industry passions and whose own skill sets push me to be better every day and supplement my own. Adversity? Of course, we face tons of it. Challenges of emerging markets, managing investor expectations, finding great deals. They arise on a daily basis. Likelihood of quitting? None. Odds of success? Couldn´t be better.
What will you fight for?
How to Win
Once you have done the equation, all that is left is execution and persistence. It won’t be easy, but now you are doing something you are incredibly excited about and to which you can apply your strongest abilities.
The book says it better than I do, so I pulled for you the quotes from the book that I love. You will undoubtedly find more.
“There are two things you can control: Your mind and attitude. Those who program themselves to achieve usually do.”
“We all make our own breaks, and at the end of the day we are exactly where we choose to be.”
“Never complain about your problems, because 95% of people don´t care and the other 5% are glad that they happened to you.”
“Work my strengths. Hire my weaknesses. Just doing this one thing would allow me to grow my business quickly while I myself grew smarter and free myself up to do what I excel at and that enthuses me.”
“Seek counsel instead of opinions. Only listen to those with wisdom and experience, not just those with opinions.”
“The greatest success you will know is helping others succeed and grow.”
“Never make a major decision while in the valley of life. Ride out the storm. Everything in life is cyclical. Only make big decisions when you can do so from a positive perspective.”
“A goal is a contract with myself.”
“Most challenges in life have a simple solution. Most often, you just need to step back and look at things from a different angle.”
“The perseverance is in the knowing. Never give up when you know what you are doing is right.”
“Successful people are rarely selfish people.”
“Have a higher standard than anyone else.”
“Income, attitude and lifestyle are the average of the five people I spend most of my time with.”
“It will often take you 3, 4 even 5 years to know whether you are a hero or an idiot. Either way, there will be someone there to tell you.”
“Success is the reward for setbacks. The more “Nos” you can hear without losing passion the better. There are no failures, just learning experiences. As long as you are learning something and applying that as you go, you can be sure that success is right around the corner.”
“You must believe it before it will appear.”
“Never let other people set your limitations.”
One last quote because there could not be a better one to end this article:
“You are the same today as you will be in five years, except for two things . . . the people you meet and the books you read.”