For the first half of my working life I was a fashion and advertising photographer dealing with hundreds of new faces a week for clients like AT&T, Revlon and Coca-Cola,
Then one day, about 20 years ago, my then 13 year-old daughter Kate came to me on our farm and said, “Daddy, they’ve opened an aromatherapy store in our local village, will you please drive me there so I can see it?”
While Kate was looking around the store I got talking to Sandy, the owner. She told me she had given up her job in the city to do what she had always wanted. I told her I was getting out of photography to teach face-to-face people skills because I’d met so many people in my travels, and in my role as a father of five, who had amazing potential but lacked people skills. They were like roses with rubber bands wrapped around them – and they’d never blossom until someone took off that rubber band. I made up my mind to be that person.
I took a risk and traded in my cameras for a laptop so I couldn’t go back.
A few days later Sandy called me and said she was having a few people around to her house to talk about aromatherapy and would I be interested in going along to talk about what I was doing. I said yes. I went and spoke for about 20 minutes.
A week later a young woman called and said she had been at Sandy’s that night and she has a woman’s networking group that meets the first Tuesday of every month for lunch and would I like to come along and talk about what I was doing. I said sure. And I went and spoke.
Two weeks later a man called me and said his cousin was at the woman’s networking lunch. He asked if I’d be interested in putting on a workshop for 200 realtors who were in his networking group. I said sure. I put together the workshop, and it was a big success.
Just under 2 months later I got a phone call. “We are the staging company for AT&T Canada. We heard about your work and would like to invite you to be the opening speaker at the AT&T National Sales Convention at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, to address one thousand six hundred people. Are you interested?”
I said sure. I did it. And it kick-started my career to be what it is today: selling millions of books and talking to audiences from Sydney to San Diego, Hong Kong to Hawaii.
Moral of the story. Never turn down an invitation from your thirteen year-old daughter to visit an aromatherapy store that’s just opened in your local village because opportunities are everywhere but they never knock: you have to go out and find them.
Boothman is Dale Carnegie for a rushed era.
– THE NEW YORK TIMES
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