Lee's Red Wagon Story
Goal + Gameplan + Commitment
I continue to stay focused on having a clear goal, a game plan to achieve that goal, and a solid commitment to succeed. I believe in myself, my product, and my company. I learned this lesson when I was seven years old, growing up in Detroit, Michigan.
As an easily-impressed seven-year-old with no television at home, my favorite thing to do was go to the Saturday movie matinee. Twelve o’clock sharp at the RKO Theatre was where it all happened.
Just thinking about it brings back the excitement. This was a full day event because there were two feature films, lots of cartoons, newsreels, and other surprises.
It cost twenty-five cents to get into the movies. My weekly allowance of twenty-five cents covered the cost of the movies. However, what is a movie without snacks? My snacking goal consisted of JuJu Bees, popcorn, and soda pop.
These snacks were going to cost me an additional twenty cents. I knew that I was expected to earn that extra twenty cents on my own. No problem—I had a goal, a game plan, and a commitment to succeed. I could taste the JuJu Bees and the warm salty popcorn.
I went into my backyard, under the porch, where I kept my red flyer wagon, as my enthusiasm for meeting my goal was building. Down the street I would go, pulling my empty red wagon. The sounds of my red wagon clanging behind generated more enthusiasm.
The corner grocery store always smelled rather strange and actually had sawdust on the floor. The grocer, Sam, would always welcome me with a friendly smile. He told me I was good for business. I’m not sure about that, but it made me feel great about being there.
I would position my wagon right next to the cash register and sit in the end of the red wagon with my legs hanging over the edge. Every lady, without exception, who came through the grocery line was my potential customer. I would look each one directly in the eye, put a big smile on my face, and bravely ask, “How would you like me to carry those heavy groceries home for you in my red wagon for only five cents a trip?”
I never lost sight of my goal. I stayed focused on four trips and twenty cents. I also had a time frame on my goal. I had to earn my twenty cents no later than 11:30 AM so I could get to the RKO Theatre before noon. Nothing stopped me from asking every lady coming past the cash register.
I never thought about all the “what if’s.”—I was too busy thinking about my four trips. I never stopped to think what if they say no, what if they don’t like me, what if they don’t like my red wagon, what if they think I’m being pushy, what if I make them mad? I didn’t worry about rejection because I didn’t know about rejection at seven years old. I knew that I had a goal, a game plan, and a commitment to spend the rest of my Saturday at the RKO Theatre enjoying my movies and snacks. Yes, I could taste those JuJu Bees.
Now, many years later, I keep many small red flyer wagons in my office as a visual reminder of this time in my life when nothing stopped me because I was able to stay focused on my goal, my game plan, and my commitment to succeed.
Not succeeding was never an option for me at seven years old and it isn’t an option for me today. Quitting was never a part of my game plan then and isn’t a part of my game plan today. In working with my clients over the years we always make sure their goal, game plan and commitment to succeed remains our major focus together.