When we are present for WOOs that are a bit outside our comfort zones, we may just find hidden treasures we never dreamed existed.
I experienced such a moment when my wife, Carole, and I drove up to meet our daughters Kelsey and Jenna in Washington, D.C., for a truly once-in-a-lifetime event that was definitely not up my alley. We were coming together to buy Kelsey her wedding dress.
When it comes to my list of desired activities, a day of shopping falls between “cleaning the rain gutters” and “root canal.” Add in the emotional whammy of prepping myself to walk my daughter down the aisle and I was toast. The very thought of this trip made me want to find a chair, sit down, and stay put. I know as much about wedding dresses as I do about nuclear physics,” I thought. I’ll just be deadweight. My initial impulse was to pass on the day and figured that Kelsey had asked me just to be kind, that no one really wanted me there.
I called Kelsey a week or two before the big weekend and tried to make it easy for her to tell me it really didn’t matter to her if I came. But to my surprise she truly wanted me to be a part of the day. It really mattered to her. I love Kelsey more than I can ever adequately express, so if it meant something to her, I didn’t need to hear anymore. Despite the fact that my sense of style is really more of an affliction, I was in. Not only that, I was determined to elevate my energy for the day.
To my astonishment, by five o’clock that Saturday afternoon I had experienced one of the best days of my life. All day long at three very different wedding dress boutiques I sat and watched as my gorgeous daughter tried on dozens of lovely wedding dresses. She was absolutely radiant and glowing. She took my breath away.
Throughout the day Carole, Jenna, and Kelsey’s best friend, Maggie, all offered insightful observations to help Kelsey with her decision. All I did was grin and kept stammering, “You are so beautiful.” A couple of times I ventured out with tentative comments like “That’s really slimming” or “I love the bow in the back,” and everyone humored me by pretending there was actual value in what I had to say. But I knew better. I was a complete ignoramus about style, fit, and look. But I didn’t care. All that mattered to me were the indelible portraits that were being permanently framed in my heart as I watched my little girl who had grown into such an amazing woman try on dress after dress.
As the day ended, one of those pictures stood above all the rest. In the moment that Kelsey decided on the dress and we all said, “It’s yours,” I saw happiness radiate through her entire being that I have wanted her to experience since the day she was born. Joy flew from her and wrapped us all in its glow as Kelsey announced, “I’m really getting married!”
Since that wonderful day, I’ve tried to figure out why she actually wanted me there with her.
And I think I know. It was all because of one word that became my passion as a dad: Presence.
I think the reason Kelsey wanted her goofball dad there to share her day was that after that fateful day in Hamilton, Montana, when my daughters woke me up to the importance of being present, I’d never missed the other moments that mattered to her as she was growing up. I went to every dance performance, every school assembly and awards program, every parade, and every college scouting trip. I was there to help her find her high school graduation dress and was just as inept then as I am now. But here’s the key: I didn’t just show up at these events—I loved them. I was there because I loved her. I was fully present, and that communicated beyond words to her how important she is to me. That’s what the people that we care about need to know—that they are significant, that they truly matter, and that they are important.
No one ever told me this when my girls were small. I just lucked into it. But no matter what we’ve done before, we can get this one right now. We can be there, be present, and enjoy every precious moment. Though we may think we’re doing it for others, the happiness and fulfillment will come back to us tenfold.
When we apply the principle of being fully present in our professional lives as network marketers, we build the same kind of trust and connection as in our personal relationships. By being fully present with our downline, upline, teammates, and prospects, we fill them with the sense that they are truly valued and appreciated.
One of the great gifts of my life was the WOO I experienced to become the friend of the greatest men’s college basketball coach of all time. John Wooden led UCLA to ten national championships in the final twelve years of his career.
No other men’s college basketball coach had won as many as five until Coach Mike Krzyzewski, “Coach K,” guided Duke to their fifth title in 2015. But as great as John Wooden was as a coach, he was an even better husband, father, and human being.
Coach Wooden exemplified many of the finest leadership qualities, including integrity, wisdom, kindness, and humility. But perhaps his greatest gift was his presence. When you were in his company, he made you feel as if you were the most important person in the world. When he was with you, 100 percent of his mind and spirit were completely focused on your interaction, whether you were a star player, an assistant coach, or a young man who called out of the blue without introduction and asked to interview him. The inevitable outcome of spending even a short time with Coach Wooden was that you left feeling a little better about yourself. He lifted everyone he touched through his authenticity and presence.
Another person who exhibits an amazing sense of presence is legendary speaker, business leader, and college president, Dr. Nido Qubein. Dr. Qubein has mastered the art of using technology to deliver a remarkable level of presence that surprises and delights everyone connected to him.
Dr. Qubein came to the United States as a young man from the Middle East in 1966 knowing not a word of English and with about $50 to his name. Though his pockets were empty, his spirit was overflowing with enthusiasm, determination, and an insatiable hunger to learn and grow. His real language in the early years of his new life in America was his full presence, through which he communicated his desire to serve and to work hard to provide value in everything he did. It was in these early years that Nido discovered a secret that would serve him extraordinarily well over the course of a remarkable career. He would be quicker and more enthusiastic to respond to opportunities than anyone expected and in so doing, he would build greater trust and stronger relationships with everyone he met. He would seize WOOs rather than wait for them.
That focus has propelled Dr. Qubein to tremendous success personally and professionally.
As the president of High Point University, he has led the school to unprecedented national prominence academically and financially. The city of High Point, North Carolina, had been devastated by the recession and the downturn of the furniture manufacturing business that had been the lifeblood of the area. High Point University has injected fresh vitality and opportunity that has helped significantly to rebuild the local economy. He has been the chairman of the Great Harvest Bread Company and serves on the boards of directors for such leading companies as La-Z-Boy Corporation and BB&T. Dr. Qubein is also one of the most highly decorated and sought-after professional speakers in the world.
Through it all, Dr. Qubein has never forgotten the value of full presence and of responding more swiftly than anyone expects. Despite the enormous demands upon his time from his roles as university president, business executive, and professional speaker, he simply astonishes everyone with whom he interacts by responding to emails and texts more rapidly than they can believe, nearly always within one hour or less. I call it a technological presence…
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