Tag Archives: inspiration

Peas in the Garden

Enjoy this episode from the podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.” Subscribe to the podcast feed at your favorite place for listening to podcasts.

The Corporal’s Lesson on Greatness

By Mark Bowser

In her wonderful volumes on American history, Mara Pratt shared a story about George Washington that we should all take to heart.

One day during the American Revolution, General George Washington rode upon a number of soldiers who were working to raise a beam up to the top of a military structure. The men somehow didn’t recognize Washington.

All the men were working except one. That one man continued to bark out orders. He yelled at the other men, “Now you have it! Already! Pull!”

Washington guided his horse a little closer to the order barking soldier. He quietly asked the soldier why he wasn’t helping the others. The young man looked up at Washington and angrily said, “Sir, don’t you know that I am the corporal?

Washington said, “I did not realize it. Beg pardon, Mr. Corporal.”

Washington then got off his horse, walked over to the soldiers and began helping them move the heavy beam. The General continued until the beam was put in place on top of the structure. Then, with sweat pouring down his face, he turned to the corporal and said, “If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander- in-chief, and I will come.”

What is it that makes a great leader? Simply, a servant’s heart.

Thanks for reading today!

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The Big Secret of Success

By Mark Bowser

Is there one ingredient on the journey to success that is more important than all the others? What was the philosophy that Zig Ziglar focused his entire career and business around? And, will it work for you too?

Well, let me answer the last question first. Yes! This will work for you. It is less of a philosophy and more of a life world view. And, that is why it works!

What is that life world view that Zig lived by?

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Zig Ziglar

This philosophy is a contemporary way of expressing the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is found in the Bible in the book of Matthew. It says this: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT)

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many people — good hearted people — misinterpret the true meaning of this rule. I believe it is important that we truly understand how to live the Golden Rule before we can dig into Zig’s philosophy a little deeper.

Let me give you an example. My favorite soft drink is Dr. Pepper. It is either a drink you love … or hate. There doesn’t seem to be too many people in the middle.

Because I am focused on Dr. Pepper, many days you can find it in our refrigerator — that is if my son and I haven’t already drank it all. Let’s suppose that you come over to our house for a cook out. You sit down in the back yard by the pool and are enjoying yourself. It is pretty hot out, so I stroll up to you and hand you a can of Dr. Pepper. The challenge is that you may hate Dr. Pepper. I don’t know if you do or don’t because I didn’t take the time to ask you.

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” doesn’t mean I give you what I would want you to give me. I can’t assume you would enjoy Dr. Pepper just because I would like you to give me a Dr. Pepper if we were sitting in your backyard.

I have to go the extra mile before the cookout and ask you what your favorite soft drink of choice would happen to be. And, if we don’t have it, I go to the grocery store and pick it up. That is the true essence of the Golden Rule and the cornerstone of Zig’s philosophy of “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

So, how do we live this out? There are five principles we can extract from this philosophy — and when we take action on each of them then we are truly living the kind of life that Zig lived.

Principle One: How We Treat Others

In my book, Jesus, Take the Wheel: 101 Inspirations for Your Daily Christian Walk I tell a story of an event that happened at the Seattle Special Olympics many years ago.

The nine fine-tuned athletes lined up at the starting line. This is what they had trained for. The race was the 100-yard dash. As the gun was raised, tension filled the air. BANG! The gun was fired. The athletes broke out in an awkward trot instead of a graceful gait. You see, this was the Seattle Special Olympics. Special was an understatement for this race of champions.

One of the contestants stumbled and fell to the ground. The young boy began to cry. The other eight athletes heard the cry in pain. They paused, turned around, and went to help their fallen comrade. One girl with Down Syndrome kissed the fallen athlete. She said, “This will make it better.” They helped the little boy to his feet and they all joined arms and crossed the finish line together.

Living out Zig’s philosophy means being willing to give something up in order to help someone else. Eight athletes were willing to give up the gold medal in order to help another who was in need.

I love that scene in Disney’s Cars when Lightning McQueen is about to win the Piston Cup when all of a sudden, on the Jumbotron he notices that The King has crashed. Instead of racing ahead, Lightning stops, hesitates, and then backs up to where The King is laying in a heap.

Lightning pulls up behind The King and gently pushes him over the finish line. The King asks, “What are you doing kid?”

Lightning says, “I think The King should finish his last race.”

“You just gave up the Piston Cup, you know that?”

“This grumpy old race car I know once told me something — ‘It is just an empty cup.’” Said Lightning.

How we treat others is key. Are we selfish and think of ourselves only and first … or do we look for ways to make another person’s day more successful?

Principle Two: Success is Serving

Many years ago at the very beginning of my career as a Professional Speaker, I wrote Zig Ziglar for advice. I was a brand new speaker, had no clue even how to begin, and was in desperate need of some insight.

So, I wrote a letter to the master — Zig Ziglar. Zig was the number one speaker on the planet so my reasoning was who better to get advice from. I knew it was a long shot if I would ever hear back from him, but I put a stamp on my letter and dropped it in the mail.

After a number of days, a letter was in my mailbox from the Zig Ziglar Corporation. I hurriedly and I might add a bit nervously opened the letter. It was a personal letter from the man himself.

In that letter, Zig outlined step by step what actions he recommended I take to launch my speaking career. It was great advice!

But, why did he take the time to answer a letter from a kid in Indiana? He must have received thousands of such letters all the time. Answering all those letters must have taken tons of time. So, why did he do it? Simple! Because he was a servant. Success is serving other people. This goes hand in hand with principle one. Zig took the time to serve me when I couldn’t do anything for him in return. That is why he was successful. But, he didn’t serve just in order to get. He served for service alone. Success just happens to be a by product of success.

Principle Three: Value

Our importance to the marketplace is the value we can bring to it. In many ways, this is true in our relationships too. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that I agree or even like it when someone values me only for what I can give or provide for them. All I am saying is that is the way it is for the marketplace and for many people.

So, the question you have to ask in every situation and with every relationship is what value can you bring to the situation? Or, you might ask, how can you improve the situation?

As a selling professional and sales trainer, I stress to my audiences the importance of creating value first. Before they can expect a prospect to purchase their goods or services, they first need to create value for the budding customer. What can they give them that is not a trinket, but actually builds value for them by helping to solve at least part of their situation or challenge?

Problem solving is the key. We must become champions at solving problems. The more problems we can solve for people … then the more valuable we become to them.

Principle Four: Actions Always Come Back To You

Have you ever stood on a sunny beach and thrown a beach ball into the ocean? What happens to it? It comes back, doesn’t it! That is the same with life. What we give out always comes back. The Bible says, “Give and it will be given to you.” The Bible also says that it comes back to us in larger quantities.

So, does that mean if I give a hundred dollars to a charity or to a person in need that I am going to get more than a hundred dollars back? Wow, that sounds like a good investment.

No, it doesn’t work that way. You may not get money back at all. That may not be what you need. When we give, God gives back to us exactly what we need. That may be in finances, an opportunity, or in some other blessing that is perfectly suited for us. That is the beauty of it.

Let me stress again that our main motive must never be in what we may get back, but instead in what we can do for that person or charity. But, you may be asking, “Mark is it ok to WANT to receive back? Or, is that greedy?”

Hmm, I don’t think it is greedy as long as receiving isn’t your only motive. I believe that it is healthy to want to receive. That is part of the motivation.

I believe that many Christians put God in a box. God is too big and too wonderful for a box. He has put in multiple levels of understanding and success in a verse such as “Give and it will be given to you.” On this earth, we may never understand the total depth of that truth … and that is ok. We don’t have to understand a principle completely in order to live by it and be rewarded by it’s truth.

Principle Five: It is a Mark of Your Integrity

The last step is that Zig’s principle speaks to your integrity. So, what is integrity? The dictionary will define it with words such as wholeness. Wholeness to what? Well, to values such as honesty, truthfulness, and uprightness.

We’ve all heard the old phisophy that says honesty is not only the best policy, it’s the only policy. Those words sound nice, but are also very, very true.

So, logic would say that the first step is to be honest in all your dealings with other people. It is true that you need to be honest in everything that we say and do with other people. But, I believe there is a step before this step. That step is to be honest with yourself. If you’re not honest with yourself, then that will impact how you deal with other people. Sowing within comes before sowing without.

In recap, in order for us to live out Zig’s philosophy of “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want” we need to:

• Principle One: How we treat others

• Principle Two: Success is serving

• Principle Three: Value

• Principle Four: Actions always come back to you

• Principle Five: It is a mark of your integrity

And once we have that foundation in place then we are ready to take on the next step which leads us to our next Ziglar Principle.

*Excerpted from Mark Bowser’s upcoming book “Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Success.”

Contact Mark Bowser at www.MarkBowser.com.

ANNOUNCING! A New Podcast Gaining Attention — Let Me Tell You A Story with Mark Bowser

Stories are everywhere! We all love them! We love them in books, at the movies, and in our favorite podcasts. But, what if a story could be — more? What if a story could change your life in a substantial, positive way? What if a story could take you to the pinnacles of success and show you how to scale life’s mountains too?

Well, that is what Let Me Tell You a Story podcast with Mark Bowser is all about. Professional Speaker & Author Mark Bowser will take you behind the scenes of some of history’s greatest feats and unknown achievements so that their stories can be a city on a hill shining like a beacon in the night inspiring us to live our best! Come join us every Monday and Thursday! Please subscribe now so that you won’t miss one exciting episode.

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Benjamin Franklin’s Rules For Failure – Your Hidden Roadmap To Success

By Mark Bowser

I can imagine that the title of this article wasn’t what you were expecting when you turned to this page. You might be wondering why anyone would come up with their own rules for failure?   Particularly, if that person was Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was one of the most successful individuals in American history.  After all, his many achievements included being the inventor of the  lightning rod, the Franklin Stove, and bifocals. He was the nation’s first Postmaster General, the author of Poor Richard’s Almanack, and a member of the Committee of Five along with Thomas Jefferson which drafted the Declaration of Independence. Franklin was a wise ole soul who didn’t do too many things without intention.  So, what would be the value of knowing how to fail?

The late Jim Rohn who was known as America’s Foremost Business Philosopher used to say that losers should give seminars. Why? Where else could one safeguard their life for success. Think about it. If a loser taught us everything they knew about living a life of failure, all we would have to do is stay away from what they did and do something different.

Ben Franklin’s strategy for success by avoiding the rules of failure is actually pretty astute. In fact, in his autobiography, Franklin admitted that he learned this the hard way by following the rules of failure at one point in his life.

So, let’s explore what this wise old gent discovered about being a loser so that we can lead ourselves and our organizations to success. On November 15, 1750, Benjamin Franklin wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette his Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion. Franklin knew what failures thought.  Failures arrogantly  believe that “Your Business is to shine; therefore you must by means prevent the shining of others…” In order to accomplish this dubious distinction, here are Franklin’s rules.

1. “If possible engross the whole Discourse; and when other Matter fails, talk much of your-self, your Education, your Knowledge, your Circumstances, your Successes in Business, your Victories in Disputes, your own wise Sayings and Observations on particular Occasions….”

I think we all have known a person like the one Franklin describes. The self-centered soul who arrogantly drops names as they pursue their know it all life.  How do you like spending time with such a person?  You wished you could be with them everyday, right? Not likely. Usually, we try to avoid those people like snow on a summer day.

Now, the big question is when did we behave like the person Franklin described? Notice the word “when.” If we are honest with ourselves, I believe most of us have been that person multiple times in our lives.  It is time for us to walk a different path. Next time you are in a conversation, ask questions instead of talking. Listen instead of debating. And, serve instead of taking. Some one hundred and fifty years later, Dale Carnegie gave very similar advice in his classic bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Hmmm, we would be wise to take this to heart.

2. “If when you are out of Breath, one of the Company should seize the Opportunity of saying something; watch his Words, and, if possible, find somewhat either in his Sentiment or Expression, immediately to contradict and raise a Dispute upon. Rather than fail, criticize even his Grammar.” 

Years ago, I had to work on occasion with a very disagreeable business associate. This fellow worked hard to find areas in which to criticize me.  In fact, one time he even did criticize my grammar. How did it make me feel? It ticked me off…but I remind you (as well as myself) the reason why people are disagreeable souls. It is usually because they feel bad about themselves. They feel inferior, lacking, and not worthwhile. They, themselves have a poor self-image. So, the next time you come across one of these disagreeable individuals, instead of defending yourself, feel pity for them instead.  Understand they themselves are hurting and forgive them for their rude behavior. And…commit yourself to never, ever behaving likewise.

3. “If another should be saying an indisputably good Thing; either give no Attention to it; or interrupt him; or draw away the Attention of others; or, if you can guess what he would be at, be quick and say it before him; or, if he gets it said, and you perceive the Company pleas’d with it, own Locke, Bayle, or some other eminent Writer; thus you deprive him of the Reputation he might have gain’d by it, and gain some yourself, as you hereby show your great Reading and Memory.”

In a nutshell, don’t be an arrogant, egotistical pain in the butt who nobody ever wants to be around.

4. “When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they will chuse ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their Dullness, which will be to you a new Fund of Wit.”

In delusion, the disagreeable individual takes their comrades’ silence as victory, when in reality, it is the ultimate in defeat when it comes to human interactions.

So, we can choose success by doing the opposite of Franklin’s rules. The wise old gent leaves us with a final warning, “Thus you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims at pleasing others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can be present only in one Company, but may at the same time be absent in twenty. He can please only where he is, you where-ever you are not.” Hmmm, let us both chew on those words for awhile.

Go For Your Dreams!

INSPIRATION #64: You will never reach greatness until you are willing to step out of the house.

Many of us have great dreams of accomplishing tremendous tasks but we never act on those dreams. We’re afraid we might fail so we’d rather do nothing. I would rather strive for the mountain top and fail then to succeed at being comfortable and never leave my house. Step out of your comfortable surroundings and TAKE ACTION FOR YOUR DREAMS!

*Excerpted from “Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Mark Bowser. Get Your Copy Now

at http://amzn.to/TPpuOw

Why Positive Thinking…

By Mark Bowser

Now, it appears that being optimistic is under attack by the so called “realistic” news media. They say it is a philosophical idea of where you believe it, see it, and somehow what you want magically happens. These news people are either ignorant, corrupt, or flat out not very bright.

Positive thinking is an attitude, not a philosophy. Positive Thinkers are not delusional. Positive Thinkers have it right…and we need more of them. Positive Thinkers look for the best and when you look for the opportunities, you will find them. Then, you see that opportunity you choose as if it is achieved (This is called positive imaging and it is used all the time, particularly by athletes. It motivates and pushes you toward that successful end.) Then, you take action…massive action…on that opportunity.

Without Positive Thinking, would there be an American flag on the moon, a victory in WWI and WWII against tyranny, a Wal-Mart or an Amazon, a state championship by Milan High School (see the story of “Hickory” in the movie “Hoosiers” which is based on the true story of Bobby Plump leading Milan to victory)?… I dare say none of these things would have happened if not for positive thinking.

Positive Thinking is about faith in God, a belief in yourself, and taking action toward your goals. When did this become controversial? I suggest all the naysayers pick up a classic book titled “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. It just might change your life!

I am humbly proud to count myself amongst the millions of Positive Thinking champions!

Why Do Some Leaders Fail?

By Mark Bowser

Why do leaders fail? This is a tricky question. One with multiple depths of answers. However, I believe there are two shining pillars that are always missing from leaders who fail. Sometimes, these failing leaders are missing both of these pillars and at other times they are missing just one of them. But, if either is missing, failure is inevitable.

What are these missing pillars? They are Character and Vision. Let’s take a few minutes to explore these pillars a bit deeper.  Hitler was a man of great vision. A man who succeeded a great deal. But, Hitler was a lousy leader. Why? Because of a lack of moral character. Yes, he thought he had character. Yes, many others around him thought he had character too. But, to the masses of the world and to history, he lacked the basic moral character of honesty, uprightness, and love for fellow human beings. Because of this, he eventually failed and caused misery to millions of people.  We could get into the theological reasons for this failure, but that is one for another discussion. All leaders who lack character at their core will fail. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. To know this is true, all we have to do is look back at the last fifty years of contemporary history and look at all the people who have fallen from the heights of success to the depths of despair. Just to mention a few, we have evangelist Jim Baker, politician Gary Hart, and companies such as Enron. Unfortunately, the list could go on and on and on.

The second pillar that is missing from leaders who fail is vision. Vision is vital. Vision is critical. King Solomon in the book of Proverbs said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And perish indeed they will. Where there is no vision or direction, people wander around in chaos with no purpose. The human experience needs direction and purpose. We not only need purpose, we crave it. Vision provides not only the direction but the purpose of the destination before the journey ever begins.

Successful leaders continually develop these two pillars. They are mindful of their character and where they are going. Would there be an America without a Washington? Would there be two countries if not for Lincoln? Would England have survived World War Two without Churchill, and would there be a Walt Disney World without a Walt? Will your organization thrive without you? A “you” who is focused on incredible character and a vision worthy of the moon. Some thoughts for us all to ponder.  Thanks for reading today. God bless!

*Mark Bowser is a leadership and sales expert and for the last 27 years has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and even Australia presenting business seminars. He is the author of several books including “Nehemiah on Leadership,” “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar, “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (endorsed by Chuck Norris), and “The 3 Pillars of Success.” Mark Bowser can be reached at his website www.MarkBowser.com or email mark@MarkBowser.com. Schedule Mark for your next conference or training event. Online Seminars available too.

“Let MeTell You A Story”

“Let Me Tell You a Story” the podcast

Podcast coming soon…Stay Tuned! Everyone loves stories, particularly inspiring ones. Join author and professional speaker Mark Bowser as he guides you on incredible journeys in search of success. You will cross the Delaware in a snow storm with General George Washington, soar to the moon landing with Neil Armstrong, and hang precariously from a skyscraper with a steel worker named Nick. With each episode, you will be motivated with a story packed with principles that shine the light on your own success journey.

Mark Bowser is an author of several books and a Professional Speaker. To check his speaking availability or to contact him then go to http://www.MarkBowser.com

The Sun Is Coming Up!

Every sunrise is filled with the possibilities of a new sales day.

Just as the sun comes up every morning to sing forth a brand new day, every sunrise is an opportunity to start life fresh and new in your sales career.  The mistakes of yesterday are gone.  Maybe you blew it with that big client.  Maybe you lost a great opportunity. Forgive yourself and start anew.  We never know what exciting adventures are in store for us with each sunrise. 

There are two poems I would like to share with you which talk about starting life anew.  Whitman wrote the first poem, and an unknown author wrote the second. “Finish each day and be done with it; you have done what you could.  No doubt some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as quickly as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely.”

“I’ve shut the door on yesterday its sorrow and mistakes; and now I throw the key away to seek another room and furnish it with hope and smiles and every springtime bloom.  I’ve shut the door on yesterday and thrown the key away.  Tomorrow holds no fears for me, since I have found today.”

Grab hold of the possibilities of this new sales day and Carpe Diem … “Seize the Day!”

*Excerpted from the inspiring little sales book “Sell Your Way To Success” by Mark Bowser. Get your copy now on Amazon (www.Amazon.com/author/markbowser)

Doing the Impossible with Walt Disney

By Mark Bowser

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” —- Walt Disney

Impossible. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines it as “That cannot be… Impracticable; not feasible; that cannot be done.” But Walt Disney made it a habit of doing what others labeled impossible.

Hmmm, he made it a habit. Let’s think about that for a minute. Webster’s defines habit as “A disposition or condition of the mind or body acquired by custom or a frequent repetition of the same act. Habit is that which is held or retained, the effect of custom or frequent repetition. Hence we speak of good habits and bad habits.”

Disney made it a point of repetition to tackle what others said was impossible. He believed in possibilities and he constantly took action on that belief. Because of that action and belief, today we have Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and the list goes on and on.

So, how do we, like Disney, accomplish the impossible? I believe there are four pivotal steps in accomplishing the impossible. Let’s explore them together.

One, DREAM. Without a dream, possibilities wither on the vine. What do you have in your heart? If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? It was T.E. Lawrence who said, “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” Let us all become a little more dangerous. Let us become men and women of enthusiasm, passion, and of conviction for a dream.

Two, have a GAME PLAN OF ACTION. Having a big dream isn’t enough. We must put those dreams into action. Break your dream down into bite size chunks and get to work on them. Paul J. Meyer said, “Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.”

Three, WHO CAN HELP YOU? No one can reach the top of success mountain all by themself? Disney had his brother Roy. He also had a team of dedicated believers. And even when Disney had thinkers of impossibles in his inner circle, he sought help elsewhere. Who can help you? Who has the financial possibilities? Who has the asset possibilities? Who believes in you and your dream?

Four, FAITH. To succeed at your dream, you have to have unshakable belief. Times will get tough. The road will become hazardous during your journey. What is going to keep you going? You must have faith and hope to keep going. A faith in God, in yourself, and in the importance of your dream. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

When you have those four steps in place, you can’t lose. Your dream is alive! After all, dreams do come true. We have a Walt Disney World to prove it. Disney was right. It is fun doing the impossible.

*Mark Bowser is one of the top Professional Business Speakers in the United States. He is the author of several books including “Nehemiah on Leadership,” “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors,” “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (endorsed by Chuck Norris), etc…

*To schedule Mark Bowser for your next conference or training event, please email info@MarkBowser.com or visit http://www.MarkBowser.com