Recently, I heard a particularly good story about a local athlete. He came to San Diego to play college football, but when he was 18 he worked for a hometown car dealership selling cars. One day, a family arrived on the used car lot looking for a van. The kids went nuts over a kitted out family van (TVs in the back, great stereo… you know what I mean), and the whole family was sold on it. When it came time to negotiate the final selling price, the father shooed everyone from the room and turned to our young athlete friend, man-to-man. He said, “I need to buy a car today. I can buy this van for my family, but if I do, I’m going to be pinched so tight, I won’t survive financially. If you bring the price down enough, I can swing it. Please help me if you can.”
Now, this is where it started to get a little complicated. You see, this young man selling cars was pretty darn good at his job. He was so good that he was on the verge of winning a contest at the dealership that would earn him a $1,000 bonus. All he needed to win was to sell this one last car without allowing the price to dip much under sticker.
He immediately saw the dilemma. On the one hand, he could be a tough negotiator: sell high, win the contest and bring home a great commission from the sale plus the contest prize money. This young man knew how to close a deal. He hadn’t come this close to winning the contest without some significant selling ability. On the other hand, he was no stranger to financial hardship. He had grown up watching his own mom and dad worry about how they would pay the bills. He had some idea of the pressure this family was under. He could allow the negotiation to favor the family: give up most of his commission, lose the contest, lose the prize money, but know that he helped a family in need when they needed it most. What should he do? What would you do?
Well, our young car salesman chose to place the needs of this family before his own. He remembered clearly how his parents had taught him to help others when he could – to recognize need and to respond. To give. To care. He dropped the price. He gave up his commission, lost the chance to win the contest and watched a very happy family joyfully drive off the lot in their “new” van. It’s a good day’s work, when payment comes from knowing you gave something of your own to help another. I loved this story. Eighteen years old is young. Not many 18 year olds would be so giving.
But there’s more to the story. When the family drove away, the father said that he would send everyone he knew to this dealership and to this young salesman (Do you think everyone who gets such a sweetheart deal likely says the same thing?). Later that same day, a man arrived at the dealership and insisted that the only person he could talk to was our young athlete friend. He introduced himself and said, “My brother-in-law bought a van from you this morning and he told me how well you treated him. He told me I had to come in and ask for you.” The man ended up purchasing a brand-new truck. And guess what folks… there was a different contest that our young salesman didn’t know about. The purchase of this truck put him in first place and rewarded him with a $1,500 bonus plus his commission on the sale.
Call it karma… call it what you want, but I believe that when we put positive energy out there, it flows back around to us. Remember, where your attention goes, your energy flows. When’s the last time you gave something of yourself? When’s the last time you walked away from a possible reward so you could help another… show a kindness… make a difference for someone else?
This month, this week, TODAY, challenge yourself to do something meaningful for another person. Give of yourself: your time, your attention, your treasures, your wisdom. Surprise a loved one. Surprise a stranger. I’m betting it will be the highpoint of your day.
Peace and love,
Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is a personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele. Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes and provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide. He is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit and he is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US. Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post. Todd has authored 30 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth. Todd conducts 3-Day Mentorships several times per year (next one May 20-23, 2010) and ongoing Mastermind Groups for trainers seeking business and personal growth. Sign up for his FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.
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