My Eight Year Old, Napoleon Hill and Disney: The Trifecta
Finally, one of my kids is interested in one of my businesses, although he does have his own agenda. But I admire his drive, goal setting and definiteness of purpose. Now he is a bit young to be diving into Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success, but he is already starting to demonstrate self-discipline and controlled attention. Oh.. did I mention he is eight?
And to be sure… this is not a flash in the pan phase he is going through. He began setting goals for himself at the wee old age of six. During the summer of his sixth year, he had three goals to attain. 1) Learn to tie his shoes, 2) Ride a bike without training wheels and 3) swim one whole length of the pool. With a lot of hard work, grit and determination, he achieved ALL of his goals. Hey, what self respecting first grader can’t tie his own shoes. None of this mamby pamby Velcro straps for my boy!
This summer he has set his goals on some… shall we say… material items. Namely a LEGO Star Wars Rebels Ghost Ship. Now for those of you with kids of a certain age, you know that LEGO, especially their themed sets (there is a marketing lesson to be studied) centered around the Star Wars empire are the envy of this age group. You will also know that LEGO can be expensive. The Ghost Ship is $99.00 at our local Target. Now here is the really cool part:
He did not ask for the ship
He did not ask us to buy the ship
Nor did he ask his grandparents to buy the ship
He asked Dad, me, “Can I come to work with you to EARN the money to buy the ship?” I was absolutely floored. His two older brothers dreaded going to work with me. Having those two along was painful for all involved. “Dad, can we go? Dad, are we done?”. But not my son Kazys. He has a dominating idea and purpose held in his mind and he knows what he wants. He is crystal clear in his thinking.
His personal initiative has created an opportunity and advancement of his goals. Every night before bed or at dinner, he makes sure that I will be waking him early to go to my Oriental Rug shop to clean the rugs. We both arise at 5:30 am and are out the door by 6:00 am. This has happened without fail for the last eleven days. He has controlled his attention, keeping his mind ON the thing that he wants and OFF the things he doesn’t want. He has found that it is easier to focus his attention on something he BELIEVES will happen than on something he believes is unlikely.
And I do pay him. He gets $10.00 for the two hours we spend in the shop together. And the little man WORKS. He lugs the rugs around, moves the equipment and He is not shy about asking for his pay when we are finishing up. Now, if you do the math (11 days at $10/day), he has surpassed his goal of $99.00. But he is hungry for more. He reached his goal and he promptly set a new one. A new Star Wars game for his Xbox.
Have you checked on your goals? You do have goals, don’t you?
When I was an Executive with the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, goal achieving, not merely setting, drove the processes and profits of each individual business unit. And these goals were not willy nilly. Each individual goal was strategic in that it supported the overall goal of the location, property or the company as a whole. Goals were centered on Guest Service, Business Practices, Guest Loyalty and Profitability. If the goal did not tie into one of those, it was dismissed by the bosses. Again, following Hill’s 11th Law of Success; Controlled Attention.
Are you as clear as my son or Disney about your Definiteness of Purpose?
Vance spent 10 years working for the mouse at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. He started his career at Disney on the Opening Team of the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and progressed through the management ranks as a Night Club Manager at Pleasure Island, Service Trainer aboard the Empress Lily, and on the revitalization team of the Contemporary Resort in the mid-90’s. It was at the Contemporary that Vance got his crowning achievement, Designing, Opening and Operating Chef Mickey’s, Disney’s flagship Character Dining Experience.
After leaving Disney, (yes people do leave) he utilized his skills to rescue or improve many of America’s companies and government agencies. His clients included Legal Seafoods, Tyson, NASA, Rain Forest Café, Compass Group, The Executive Office of the President of the United States, The Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Tiring of corporate life, Vance opened his own Bricks & Mortar Business in 2007. After meteoric growth of his service business, other entrepreneurs began to seek him out for advice and counsel. This spawned his next business, Deliver Service Now!, consulting and coaching other companies on how to create and implement Disney style service and then apply Direct Response Marketing to profit from it.
Vance is the 2014 award winner of Dan Kennedy’s international marketing competition.