Whether you’re a small business owner, a corporation executive, or employed as part of a sales or customer service effort in the wonderful world of business, you have selected this forum to build a presence, and to make your “statement.” And, by most accounts, this validates you as an entrepreneur. It’s a pretty basic formula: Grow the revenue stream and solidify the customer relationship or die! There are a number of components that might go into a successful journey through entrepreneurship, but one that comes to mind immediately is passion. The spirit of the entrepreneur might be compared to mountaineering. Whether you’re a business owner building your company’s assets, or a customer-facing professional concentrating in acquiring and retaining customers, you’re driven by the same passion that it takes to climb mountains. In mountaineering, as in business, you need to climb with passion in order to succeed, and more exact, in order to not lose your footing and your life along the way. In his book, “The Wizard of Ads,” the esteemed entrepreneur and one of America’s most successful businessmen, Roy Williams, found himself constantly being asked, “What do successful entrepreneurs have in common? What is it that makes them different?” Williams seems to be right on the mark as he promotes passion as being the greatest differentiator of successful entrepreneurs. Jim Huebner, mountain climber extraordinaire, and a well-respected colleague of Roy Williams, turned 50 and made the attempt of finding himself out, and as he puts it, “accepting the truth about myself.” Well, those of you who have gone through this 40s or 50s thing of finding yourself can relate precisely to what Jim did. Those of you, who haven’t reached that challenge yet, will recognize it when you meet it. According to Huebner, the first rule of mountaineering is to “Climb with Passion.” In every walk of life, in every thing we do, from answering the telephone, to creating a business plan, to building a customer base, to improving the revenue stream, to making chicken picata or home made ravioli, passion equates to success! If we approached the building of the customer relationship with the same passion, and remember why he’s doing business with us, and what makes him happy, we’ll end up building relationships that can last forever. Huebner, like a few of my colleagues who have conquered Denali, a.k.a. Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain on the North American continent, agree that the adrenaline rush and the lure to mountaineering is exciting, and the basic law is very simple: you either live or you die. As Huebner says, “No time-outs, no substitutions, no half times, no 2-minute warning. And the mountain doesn’t care what kind of car you drive, what kind of house or neighborhood you live in, what kind of watch you wear, where you went to college, what you do for work or what kind of a position you hold in life to how much $$$ you make.”

Jim Huebner’s six rules of mountaineering are:

1. Climb with passion. The irrefutable, undeniable law of the universe on which all others are linked. This is the cornerstone of your business, and your life! 2. No guts, no glory. It can all be summed up in a single quote by Sir Cecil Beaton: “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” 3. Expect dead ends. This is where Mulligan prevails. Murphy said, “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Mulligan calls Murphy an optimist. We’ve heard all abut his famous stew, but Mulligan makes Murphy look like a rookie when it comes to setbacks. They will come; be prepared for them. 4. Never turn your back on your partner. Loyalty can’t be purchased, nor can it be intellectualized. Loyalty is driven from the heart, and hopefully received in the same way. No matter how high you are on the feed chain, you have accountability to your people, customers, board of directors, etc. In life, it’s even more demanding with family, children, extended family, and friends 5. Never look where you don’t want to go. Be careful of what you work or wish for, as you will undoubtedly receive it. If it’s good, and right, and just, then it’s where you want to go. Exploring darkened areas devoid of respectability, as they may be shortcuts to success, will certainly end up in confrontation and defeat. 6. There’s always room on the rope for a person with honor. Everyone in my company has a hand on the lifeline, they better have the highest honor and integrity, or it could be a costly loss of life. There’s always room for integrity; all others need not apply. Hopefully, the statement that you’re trying to make follows the path of an ancient Chinese adage, “Wherever you go, leave nothing but good.” The drive for financial well-being is healthy, and having the means to afford the amenities of life can make things comfortable for us. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s all irrelevant. It’s just money. It’s just bricks, mortar, wood, metal, plastics, and…well, just things! But what about people…what do you think that’s all about? “Wherever you go, leave nothing but good.” Copyright © 2002, Vic Marcus
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