I had enough hotel miles accumulated in my travels for Kathy and me to be staying here for free at the Beverly Hilton lounging out by the pool seeing all the Dodger blue caps worn by starlets. Or maybe not starlets but just young women who have a kind of Beverly Hills look.
The news here in LA is twofold: one: Michael Jackson has just died. Papers said they had to force him to eat anything at all any given day. And the drugs he was taking into that frail body were pretty overwhelming. Almost life-threatening, his doctors conceded, staring down at his corpse.
We went to his house.
It was part of a little tour we took in a van that left from the hotel in the morning and took us through Beverly Hills and surrounding homes. I wanted to see where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn lived, and we saw that nice house. They took us to Michael's house on the way back and it was surrounded with flowers, media trucks and happy mourners with cameras.
Manny Ramirez is back from drug suspension this week, so the papers are covering that, and how no one in LA cares that he took a steroid or two. A human growth pill. Maybe just half a pill, who cares? He's back. Not that the Dodgers even need him, they are doing so well under Joe Torre.
I'm out by the pool here with a baseball magazine I brought with me and there was an article about a baseball player named Bryce Harper who they say is the best player in the nation. Even though he's only 16. His statistics are awesome. He is a catcher, but when he takes the mound he can fire the ball in at 96mph. And he illustrates what I love about baseball.
What I love about baseball is its relationship to practice. In the past half year, because of my job (which is to coach people and train corporate teams to perform more effectively) I have read three books about the myth of talent and the reality of practice. These were all very good books, and I highly recommend them, especially to people who believe in talent as a determining factor in one's success. That's a myth.
The books were: The Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, and The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. All three books reveal, through dramatic research, that people we thought possessed inherent talent had actually practiced their craft in deeper and more meaningful ways. Even the Beatles! Who had put in more band hours than any band of their time at the outset due to an amazing string of 8-hour gigs in Hamburg.
Back to that 16 year old baseball player. How did he get so good that the majors already want him at age 16? (Good news for you: his goals include being in pinstripes ... we all know that that means ... other goals: to be in the hall of fame, and to be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived.)
Bryce was playing tee-ball at age three. Practicing hard. At age three. He has played between 80 and 130 baseball games a year for the past seven years...from when he was age 8 to age 16. Most kids that age play about a fifth of that. And here is the key to everything right here: his dad has been his lifelong hitting coach. Spending day and night with young Bryce, on the field and in the cage, pitching him sunflower seeds, bottle tops and dried red beans.
That's it right there. All three books that show how practice trumps talent go give special tribute to unusual, creative, obsessive types of practice. Like firing dried red beans at your son. And challenging him to hit them. So that when he plays in a game and sees an actual baseball coming in at him it looks like a beach ball in slow motion. Which field will I choose to hit it to?
So if you study baseball long enough, you can learn how to succeed at anything.
* * * * *
To THOSE of you in ARIZONA!!!!
You will NOT be comfortable being a member of this group of mine!
Please accept this invitation again to join my ASK project and be one of only 12 individuals who sign up to play life really big for six months. In this intense period of professional transformation we will learn to ask for what we want and get it.
Do you get that I'm asking again?
This is one group you will not ever be totally comfortable being a member of.
Because your comfort zone will be the enemy. You will learn to work outside that zone.
We will be twelve people who meet two Thursday nights a month to learn how to ask. To learn how to ask often, ask big and ask with total confidence. As Byron Katie says, you could have anything in life you wanted if you were willing to ask 1,000 people for it.
Why are we so unwilling to ask?
For one, no one ever holds us accountable for how much productive asking we do. (This group will change that.) For another, we carry irrational fears of "rejection" ... we carry them over from junior high school, high school and whenever we were learning to fit in and be approved of. All those wounds that ran so deep. Do they just disappear on their own? Never. We have to consciously process them out and reprogram the bio-computer to love asking.
Those unprocessed fears will forever keep us from the professional life we want.
How do we eliminate those fears and learn to ask for what we want?
Two ways: 1) by a deep study of the whole mind-body-courage process two evenings a month, so that our fresh new understanding of how to build confidence runs deep and becomes permanent. 2) Through repeated, monitored practice.
In this group, no one will be able fly under the radar. This is not a group where anyone will get away with sitting on the fringe, making notes and not transforming. This group will be all about activity and generating ongoing bold financial success. It will be all action all the time.
In the six months we are together you will ask often and ask big. You will no longer fear "rejection" because you will be getting so many interesting "no's" you'll realize they don't hurt at all. It will be information and nothing more.
For the rest of your life afterward, you will be broken of the old fears and superstitions around hearing the word "no." You'll know the joy---through experience---of going for it.
If you are a good professional person with a good service to offer then what you are seeking in life is already seeking you. What you are seeking is seeking you! Yet we hide out in our day, subtly arranging our communications-not to achieve maximum success-but to avoid the imagined pain of rejection. We don't see how much of that we do. During this six months we'll see it clearly and we'll see it for what it is: pure nonsensical superstition.
Look at your calendar for the past three weeks. Look at your daily journals. How much time was spent asking for the very thing that would move you forward? How much time was spent asking for what you want? How much time was spent in conversation with the people who could help you the most?
Very little. If you are typical.
Be brave and that will end.
Surveys show that the average sales person spends only 1.5 hours a day selling. These are people whose whole focus should be on asking and even they spend their days avoiding it. They are afraid of other people. What they might think.
This group will change that. We will ask so much it will become second nature. Not only that, we will get graceful and confident doing it. It will start to become enjoyable. By the end of our six months, it will be the thing we most look forward to in our day. Anything you practice intensely takes on the element of joy. Anything. Even asking.
From the beginning of time our great spiritual leaders have asked us to ask. It has been the message they most often delivered. Ask and you will receive.
But did we?
Junior high school kills all that. It replaces all the spiritual wisdom in the world with a psychotic fear.
So we will learn to ask. That's it. That's the whole curriculum. We won't be asking small, either. We will ask for big things, too. We will learn to make unreasonable requests, just to see what happens. Just to break ourselves of the fear and stigma around asking for what we want. Asking for what you want, next to your professional skill for the service you provide, will be the most important skill you ever have.
We begin our work together Thursday evening, August 6, from 6pm to 9pm. The fee for the full six month program is $10,000. I expect this group to fill very quickly. Many have already verbally committed based on the rumors around this project. The moment your fee is paid to guarantee your place in the group I will deliver a one-hour coaching session between me and you to prepare you for what lies ahead. I'll want to make sure, in advance, we don't have any observers in this group.
Please email me now at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to play. And yes, I get that this will be one of the boldest things you have ever done.