Purpose, Priorities, and Productivity
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman's TUESDAY TIP:
If you don't stand
for something, you'll fall for anything.
Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
Carl Boch came to the United States as a refugee after World War II. But
he wasn't just a refugee trying to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany and
Nazified Europe. He came with a PURPOSE ... to a make a difference in his
life and the lives of others. And I certainly applaud that as PURPOSE is
the 2nd of 12 keys that are taught in my "Journey to the
Of course, without a solid grasp of the language and without a formal
education, finding a BIG job with a BIG paycheck wasn't easy, if even
possible. Carl started his career at a slaughter house, standing in
blood, having to chop up meat and then carry it up two flights of stairs.
Still driven by his purpose, he heard that "selling" was a great
business, but the only company that would give him a sales job was the Fuller
Brush Company. No problem. Within a short time he was the #1 salesman on
the West Coast.
About that time, an insurance agent sold him a policy, and always curious about
moving upward, he asked the agent how much commission he would receive on the
policy he just sold him. The agent told him, and Carl quickly decided he
would never sell another brush.
Carl found an insurance agency, applied for a sales position, and was told he
had to pass an aptitude test first. Carl failed it twice. Then the
somewhat astute manager asked a very important question. He said, "Carl, I
know you're the #1 Fuller Brush salesman. How many more calls do you make
each day than the other salespeople to attain and maintain that level of
excellence?" Carl answered, "100 calls."
The manager told his testing team, "Forget the aptitude test. Mr.
Boch doesn't need any more aptitude. Get him a contract."
Some years later, one of my professional speaking friends had a chance to pass
Mr. Boch's office on the way to coffee. My friend asked Carl if he would
like to join them. Carl pulled a $5 bill out of his pocket and said,
"No, but the coffee is on me."
Now get this ... this was the day of 5-cent coffee. My friend replied,
"The coffee won't cost that much." Carl replied, "If I
went with you guys, it would cost me $50 because that's what my time is
That's what purpose will do for you.
Purpose clarifies your priorities.
Without purpose, you wander and waste. You wander around, wondering what
you should do, and waste an awful lot of your life in the process.
As John William Gardner, a former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and
Welfare, put it, "Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have
excellence thrust upon them. They achieve it. They do not achieve
it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don't stumble into it in
the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity
It was one of the huge take-aways that Alline Scott from the U.S. Army picked
up at my "Journey to the Extraordinary" program. She writes,
"Dr. Zimmerman, I just wanted to let you know that I began applying some
of your techniques even before I left the program and they really work! This
program was just what I needed! I learned to clarify my purpose and I began to
live and work ON purpose. And I'm making a difference. How very
enlightening and inspirational!"
(Click here if you'd like to join us for our next "Journey to the Extraordinary"
program coming to Dallas on May 1-2, 2014)
When Carl Bock turned down the offer to go for coffee, it was because his
purpose told him he needed to focus on certain business results that day.
Of course, my friend didn't immediately understand this "purpose"
thing, so he went back to call on Carl. He asked Carl what he meant about
the coffee break costing him $50.
Carl said, "Sit down. It's very simple. The way I figure it,
most companies give their employees two 15-minute coffee breaks a day, which
invariably turn into 20 or 30 minutes. Let's say each one lasts 20
minutes. There's two of those each day, which makes 40 minutes.
Times 5 times a week makes 200 minutes. Multiply that out and you soon
realize that the average employee spends 10,000 minutes or 23 working days a
year on coffee breaks."
Carl continued, "I know that if I work 23 more days a year than most
people, I can easily outperform them. I'll make more of myself.
I'll do more for my customers. And I'll have more to give my
family. It's my purpose in life that drives me."
And by the way, Carl wasn't blowing smoke when he gave my friend that
insight. At that time, Carl was earning more than $1 million in
commissions every year, and that was 50 years ago when $1 million actually
Do you have a clearly defined purpose? Could you easily tell someone else
what it is? And does your life reflect the fact that you're living ON
purpose? I hope so.
Purpose leads to productivity.
The greatest psychologist of the 20th century was undoubtedly Abraham
Maslow. He said the history of man is the history of man selling himself
short. If you don't have big dreams, if you don't think high and reach
high, if you don't have a bigger or higher purpose, you will miss an awful lot
of the things you've always wanted.
Without a clearly defined purpose, without big dreams, without believing more
than you already do in yourself and in your destiny, you may find some
happiness, but never real joy. And you may have some success, but never
In fact, all of history was changed when one man let his purpose keep him
productive ... year after year ... when he would have quit otherwise. I'm
talking about William Wilberforce who spent his life pushing the English
Parliament to abolish slavery.
Discouraged and when he was about to give up, his elderly friend, John Wesley,
heard of it. From his deathbed Wesley called for pen and paper. With
trembling hand he wrote, "Unless God had raised you up for this very
thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and of devils. But
if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than
God? Oh be not weary in well doing! Go on, in the name of God and
in the power of His might, til even American slavery shall vanish away before
Wesley died six days later. But his note reinforced Wilberforce's purpose
... he went on to fight ANOTHER 45 years. Three days before Wilberforce
died, slavery was abolished in Britain.
Do you need to be a bit more productive at home? At work? In your
relationships? Then get on with the work of getting a super clear purpose
... because a clear purpose and a strong purpose will give you an anchor when
things are crazy and chaotic ... wings to soar when you need them.
two actions this week that will get you and your life MORE ON purpose and MORE
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About the author:
© 2014 Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan
Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of business."
His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy, and high
involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they work. To
learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free subscription
to his weekly Internet newsletter, go to http://www.DrZimmerman.com.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's
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