Four years ago this week I made a decision that I knew was coming for the past 45 years. In the words of ole blue eyes, “I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and ev’ry highway”. But I was ready to travel the biggest unchartered course of all, and ready to no longer be doing things “My Way.” I came home to carry on what my father started.
Here are the top four things I’ve learned over the past four years that have not only kept me alive but actually enabled me to thrive.
- It takes time: I recently read a book review on Amazon where the reader stated, “My only disappointment with this book is that it does not offer any real secrets to becoming successful overnight.” That’s right, despite the fact that we live in a society addicted to YouTube videos and reality shows devoid of any reality, there is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes doing things repeatedly for years, sometime decades, or even a lifetime, to gain any traction. If you’re not willing to dedicate your life to sharing your gifts, then you’ve got nothing worth sharing past your 15 minutes of fame. But if you know “why” you are doing what you’re doing, time doesn’t even enter into the equation and you’ll never ask the self-serving question, “how long will it take?”
- No one can grow your business but you: If I had a nickel for everyone who promised me they could grow my business I’d have at least $200. The fact is none of them can do this. How do I know? I’ve hired plenty of them to do it! In doing so, I helped them grow their businesses, but after a while I realized they were the only ones in the relationship getting paid. You really are the only one who can truly take yourself to the next level. Sure, you can game the system by timing sales to produce an artificial “bestseller” but that’s not true organic and sustainable growth. I can pay to gain millions of followers on twitter. So what?? Be honest. You do the work. And always remember, if you want it bad, that’s how you’re going to get it, and usually after you paid someone else dearly for it.
- Eliminate the waste: My father used to tell me, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Never were truer words spoken. This gem applies to everything in your life. Stay focused on what you do best and to hell with the rest. And the bottom line is that you must produce a bottom line, otherwise you will not remain viable. Waste can come in the form of people that suck your time, drain your resources, and don’t do what you are paying them to do. If they are not with you, they are against you, and it’s time to eliminate them.
- The more you give the more you get: My father told me that the more books he gave away the more money he made. I used to assume it was because he was a salesman of unprecedented skill and star quality. But the truth of his point is that freely sharing books and what he learned from them was his way of tithing. You don’t give to get; that’s trading. You give because that is the true meaning of life. And life rewards us when we comply with this gorgeous truth. I have a plaque in the office given to my father thanking him for donating $200,000 to a particular college. I remember wondering if there would ever be a time when we could do that again in a single year. Well guess what? After four years of numerous free speeches, countless giveaways, sponsorships of wonderful people and events, and the publishing of hundreds of thousands of books, we were able to give $189,500 this year alone. Close enough: I’ll take the cigar!
People ask me how I do it. The answer is simple: stay focused, work hard, use discretion, have a purpose, and try new things. If they work continue; if they don’t discontinue.
And that, my tremendous friends, is what I’ve learned in four years!
The original article can be found on Tracey’s blog. You can also leave a comment there.
Tracey C. Jones
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Tracey C. Jones is the president of Tremendous Life Books. Her father, the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, started Executive Books for the purpose of changing the world one book at a time. With an exceptional leadership background, Tracey became the company’s new president in 2009 in order to carry on her father’s legacy.
Tracey was born and raised in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. As a high school graduate anxious to see the world, she attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM, earning an associates degree and an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1988, she earned her degree and commission and entered the Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Her first assignment to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina took her overseas, where she participated in the first Gulf War. Upon her return to the States, Tracey moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany and then RAF Lakenheath, UK where she honed her operational skills and filled command roles of increasing responsibility.
After twelve years as a commissioned officer, Tracey left the Air Force in 2000 and moved to Austin, Texas working for a top manufacturing firm in the semiconductor industry. There, she continued to develop her skills, this time in the civilian workforce as a project manager. While there, she earned an MBA in Global Management. Tracey recently moved back to Pennsylvania from St. Louis where she most recently was the project manager in charge of a diverse base operations service contract for the government. She is excited to be back in her home state, close to her large family, and humbled to carry on Charlie’s legacy and love for books and for Christ. Tracey enjoys biking, golfing, traveling, spending time with her pets, and of course, reading!!!