“Unless your goal is to go backwards, you cannot make progress while staring into the rear-view mirror.”
An opening statement like that would usually indicate a motivational message, but I’m doing something different today. I’m not backing up and I’m not moving forward. I’m pausing to look at the long road behind me and the short road ahead.
A reflective mood requires a rear-view mirror.
I’ve spent an hour on the phone each Friday morning for the past 10 years with my friend Dewey Jenkins. We won’t be doing that anymore. Dewey was offered so much money for his company that it made no sense to keep it.
At the top of this page is a photo I snapped as Dewey walked onto the second-story porch of the historic Duke Mansion in Charlotte a few years ago. I had been sitting out there admiring the view when he walked in with his characteristic grin. *Click*
We had wrapped up the famous “Mr. Jenkins and Bobby” campaign by giving Bobby $100,000 so that he could pursue his dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood. Now we had to accelerate our momentum and elevate our trajectory in a new and different way. Dewey and Jonathan and Casey and I were building a rocket ship while we were flying it.
The new campaign, “Mr. Jenkins Told Me…”, has been even more successful than “Mr. Jenkins and Bobby.” Mr. Jenkins is still the center of attention even though he is now off-stage. The values and beliefs of his company are reflected by the things his employees remember him saying. “Mr. Jenkins Told Me…”
The people of that company will be recalling things Mr. Jenkins told them for generations to come. (Indy put some of those TV ads in the rabbit hole for you.)
I left the company when Dewey left, but Jonathan and Casey will doubtless reach the stars.
Dewey Jenkins called me the morning after he closed the sale of his company.
Mr. Jenkins told me, “It was June 23, 2000, when I heard you speak at the Airtime 500 Conference in St. Louis. I bought your first two books for $20 each and they took me to $20,000,000 a year. And then I came to see you in 2011 and we began this grand adventure…”
And a grand adventure it has been.
# # # #
I closed my computer and went to bed after I wrote that sentence. Three days have passed and a lot has happened.
Two more of my close friends have sold their companies, bringing the collective sales price for all three companies to considerably more than one billion dollars.
Pennie tells me I must write to you next week about, “Your Time in the Elevator.”
It is a story that began 37 years ago.
I look forward to writing it.
Roy H. Williams
If you are passionate about a topic and are looking for a way to stand tall in the eyes of the nation, just write an Op-Ed that gets published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, or USA Today. Bob Brody has spent the past 40 years as an Op-Ed “safecracker,” having written roughly 1,000 Op-Ed essays. Amazingly, miraculously, serendipitously, and happily, Bob shares his secrets with roving reporter Rotbart on how to break into the Op-Ed pages of America’s elite publications. Where? MondayMorningRadio.com, of course. When? As soon as you get here.