by Jim Cathcart
In the 1980s I lived in Oklahoma, Tulsa to be exact. My speaking and training business was relatively new and one of my anchor clients was the Oklahoma Bankers Association. They hired me for a total of 27 different presentations over a few years and I wrote a monthly article in their magazine. Ultimately I was hired by the American Bankers Association to be on the faculty of their Executive Development School for new bank presidents. The reason I had this client was Mary Nixon. She was in charge of an OBA Women’s Division meeting at Shangri-La Resort and hired me to deliver the keynote speech.
The speech was very well received and Mary referred me to her colleagues who then hired me for many other speeches and seminars. This, of course, led to my being hired by many individual banks to address their company meetings and conduct training sessions with their executives. In other words, it grew wonderfully and I loved my times with them. The reason Mary knew about me was Joe Willard, the General Agent for Massachusetts Mutual’s Tulsa Agency, my other anchor client (for six years.) Joe had hired me to speak to his agents and word had spread that I did a good job in motivational training.
The reason Joe hired me was Tulsa Junior College. I was conducting a night class for them on Time Management and Goal Setting and Joe wanted his agents trained to be better goal setters. The reason I was teaching at TJC was the US Junior Chamber of Commerce where I held the position of Senior Program Manager for Individual Development and Leadership Training. I was a speaker and trainer for them who flew around the country delivering leadership training programs. I got that job because Harold Gash, an Arkansas based distributor of Earl Nightingale’s motivational training, had heard me deliver a speech to the Arkansas Jaycees and subsequently another to a political campaign team. Harold believed in me as a speaker. He said, “Jim, you have more potential than any young man I’ve ever known! You should be a speaker.” Wow! He believed in me far more than I believed in myself at that time. Without his encouragement I wouldn’t have applied for the US Jaycees position.
I met Harold because I had joined a Jaycees chapter and the man who invited me to join was acquainted with Harold. It goes on…and on. So I won’t bore you with the full chain but I hope by now you’ve discovered my point: Relationships Are Assets!!!
You know people who know or will meet others who may open doors that will change your life. There are good ones and scary-bad ones out there. But all of your relationships are assets of some sort. It is helpful to remember this as you communicate with others each day. Every little act you do or fail to do adds an impression into the file that constitutes your reputation. And reputations should be planned in advance and managed intentionally. The more consciously and relentlessly you cultivate each relationship and bring value or joy to those you connect with, the more assets you will be amassing for future opportunities.
Now fast forward with me from the Tulsa days (1975 – 1982) to 1985 when I was living and working in La Jolla, California. One day my phone rang and it was Michael Redwine calling from Brussels, Belgium. His boss was coming to America to interview companies for possible sales and management training for his firm in Europe. I met with his boss, Peter Kutemann, in my La Jolla office and we hit it off very well. That led to me taking six trips to Scotland, England, Brussels, and Monte Carlo to conduct training for Peter’s firm.
One day at Peter’s Brussels office I asked him, how did you hear about me? He said that Michael Redwine’s father in law, who worked for the Press Association in Oklahoma, had once hired me to do a last minute fill-in speech for another speaker and I had impressed him greatly. So they tracked me down in California somehow and called to meet me. I was stunned at the remote chain of events. And then I remembered that Michael’s father in law had learned about me from Mary Nixon’s recommendations through the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
So later as I rode through the streets of Monte Carlo on the back of Peter’s motorcycle and joined his management team for a delicious dinner at an outdoor restaurant along the route of the Monaco Grand Prix with the Mediterranean Sea glistening in the background, I remembered that…
All Relationships Are Assets.
And you never know where they will lead you.
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart
Cathcart Institute, Inc. (www.cathcart.com)