Communication skills have never come easy for me, as a child and teen I had a tough time fitting in and making friends, basically a hard time communicating. Looking back now I believe some of that has to do with my wiring, the fact I probably possess the D2R2 gene, which is associated with attention deficit and hyperactivity, being an entrepreneur, and a few other things.
And it wasn't that I was shy, I played football, baseball, and basketball, and surfed competitively in the ESA and NSSA. So there were a lot of communications going on, it was just that I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. It seemed other people were at ease when communicating, but for me it wasn't much fun at all, but I was determined to change that, and I did.
The fact I've gone from being uncomfortable in my own skin when communicating to now going on my 20th year making a living by communicating is simply remarkable. I was able to turn my greatest deficit into my greatest asset. How? Well there was a price to pay, and the price was lots of failure and it required lots of stick-to-it-ivness. Wanting to make a change and having the courage to change are two different things, sticking it out and actually manifesting the change, well that's what separates the haves from the have nots, sometimes you really need to dig deep to get the desired result, quitting is the easy way out.
I remember making those first sales calls twenty years ago, the phone seemed like it was a thousand pounds, when I spoke to prospects it seemed like everyone was listening to me and ridiculing me for what I was saying, but after lots of perseverance, lots of reading, coaching by sales managers, and lots and lots of practice, I became a professional communicator.
In reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People I learned success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people". You can have the best idea in your head, but if it's not communicated with passion and enthusiasm it has little hope of manifesting into reality.
And how to use words to influence people. Tom Hopkins - How to Master the Art of Selling taught me how to use things like Tie-Down's, questions at the end of sentences that demands the answer "YES". For instance "It would be wise to practice, wouldn't it?" or "A reputation for professionalism is important, isn't it?". Simple tools like these allowed me to improve my communications, champion my ideas with potential clients, and as a result helped me win business, lots of business.
However the greatest communication tool I ever learned was this, to simply ask for help. A blog post I read recently, Asking for Help is Not Cheating by C.J. Hayden had some insightful thoughts:
"I've heard sad stories like this many times over the 18 years that I've been helping entrepreneurs find clients. It seems there is a persistent myth that the "right" way to get clients is to do it all on your own. Yes, many entrepreneurs do tend to be Lone Rangers and enjoy their independence, but this determined avoidance of asking for help goes beyond ordinary self-reliance. It's almost as if these business owners had been told getting help was illegal.
Because of this pervasive do-it-all-yourself attitude, I hear from many entrepreneurs that they are embarrassed or ashamed to ask for any assistance. One business owner told me, "I was really struggling, but I couldn't ask anyone to help me, because then they would think I was a failure." Tragically, by refusing to ask for help, he was actually CAUSING himself to fail.
Let's bust this myth wide open, here and now. Successful people ask for help all the time. It's how they become successful. That is how the business world works. Entrepreneurs do not build successful businesses all on their own. They build them with the help of their family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, networking contacts, customers, and fans."
That my friends is the most useful business advice I've ever been given, and as C.J. goes on to point out in her five approaches, it's very easy to do. You simply need to ask the Universe to help you, but here's the caveat, the difference between success and failure is not knowing to ask for help, it's actually picking up the phone, writing the e-mail, sending the letter, it's taking the action and actually doing it.
Clearly I've set a big goal for PuraKai. I've been asked how on earth I could make a statement about donating $1,000,000 dollars in ten years to foundations that support and protect and heal the Ocean when I have no products, no sales, significant debt, two other businesses, and many other commitments, such as three children. My answer is simple. I'm going to ask a lot of people I know for help.
So while driving between appointments for my telecom business I make calls to people I know, I explain what I'm doing and then I ask for help. One of the recent calls was to an executive at one of the large surf clothing companies. I simply asked for help and he was kind enough to tell me to speak with someone else. I then called that person, told them the name of the executive that told me to call them and what I was doing, he then passed me along to another person. I did the same thing and on this next call I spoke with Mr. X, and that's when I struck gold.
You see turns out Mr. X is one of "the guys" that can help me accomplish my goals here at Ocean Watermen. And Mr. X isn't on Google, despite my solid skills in online research I would have never found Mr. X online. It turns out Mr. X is deeply entrenched in an area of business that I know nothing about, but in simply asking for his help, he told me what steps to take based on his twenty five years of experience.
The entire process, the two calls leading to Mr. X, and the call to him, took a total of 45 minutes. Each person gave me 15 minutes of their undivided attention and used their knowledge to help me, and they did it all for free. All in less time than one episode of Survivor.
The subsequent calls with Mr. X led to a meeting. And after that meeting I now believe that I can achieve my goal because we will be making a very cool product, and then products, that can easily achieve $50 million in revenue and allow us to donate $1 million dollars. So now it's on to research and development to source, create, and then hopefully in a few weeks, start to sell this product.
What I've learned is it doesn't matter what deficit you have in life, you can take it and turn it into a positive. Had I not worked hard to improve my limited communications skills I inherited I would never have had the sales success I achieved, never been able to start the companies I've been able to start, and I certainly wouldn't be prepared for manifesting Ocean Watermen from an idea to a real company, let alone a company with $50 million in sales.
I just want to personally thank the Universe for allowing me to find Mr. X. His advice has ben key to taking the next step toward manifesting my dreams, and hopefully helping the ocean along the way. So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to follow your heart and manifest your dreams.