My wife Michelle was all three after she opened her birthday present.
Now, she wasn’t my wife at the time. This was February 2005 and we had only started dating in August of 2004.
We were in my car on our way to a downtown Cleveland, Ohio seafood restaurant, her favorite, for a celebratory birthday dinner. There, we would be joined by her father & stepmother, her best friend, her best friends’s new boyfriend, her sister and brother-in-law.
Quite a contingent!
(I’ll come back to the significance of this “contingent” in a moment.)
Earlier that week, I had purchased a very nice David Yurman bracelet as a gift. The sales associate boxed up the item and placed it in a small, professional-looking, if somewhat underwhelming, gift bag.
On my way home, it occurred to me that handing over this gift bag to Michelle was entirely too boring for my tastes. For one thing, she’d know it was jewelry just from the jeweler’s name emblazoned on the bag itself!
I wanted something special for the wrapping which concealed my first gift of jewelry…
Then I had an epiphany!
What if I disguised the bracelet as a cheap, paperback romance novel?
This was just too damn good of an idea to let slip past! So on my way home from work, I stopped at a nearby Costco. I figured finding a cheap paperback novel there would be a breeze…
…and it was.
I purchased a Danielle Steele paperback. Upon returning home, I grabbed my X-Acto knife, carved out a square compartment in the book’s middle section and placed the bracelet inside. I then gift wrapped the book.
In furtherance of my subterfuge, the following day, I asked Michelle if she was a fan of the author.
She replied, candidly, “No, not really.”
The moment of truth
So back to our car ride downtown.
After we were about half-way to the restaurant, I handed over the gift for her to open.
After stripping away the wrapping, she was…
The ensuing pregnant pause seemed to last ten minutes!
Finally, she managed to force out the following words:
(Yes, it sounded more like a question. Later on, she admitted that the troubling question which was coursing through her mind at that very moment was “Are you serious? A f**king paperback for my birthday present?” But in the back of her mind, she was also saying to herself, “I’m supposed to say ‘Thank you.'”)
Hitting a snag
My goal was for her to start flipping through the pages, discover the REAL present and all would be right with the world.
Well, she was too paralyzed by shock to do this, so I had to think quickly:
“There are some pictures inside too. Why don’t you have a look.”
And she did. She started flipping through the book, found the bracelet and…
Still in the throes of shock from receiving a Danielle Steele paperback for her birthday, and by the attendant apprehension of how she would tactfully relate this information to our dinner party, well…
…somehow my idea had engendered an amusing, and wholly UNanticipated, short circuit in my wife’s brain.
But after a few seconds, she got the joke, leaned over to give me a “Thank you!” kiss and we had a good laugh.
And this made for one helluva story at dinner, too!
(In fact, her father Tom quipped that his daughter’s immediate silence after receiving the paperback was because she was contemplating all the different ways she could have me put to sleep…permanently!)
We still talk about that moment to this very day. I like to joke that it was more of a gift for me than for her!
“That’s all well & good, Bart. But what does any of this have to do with MY business.”
It is this:
Gifts oftentimes arrive in disguise.
Let’s face it:
Our business is a tough one.
I don’t need to tell you that being an entrepreneur is nothing like a regular 9-to-5.
On many occasions, it’s feast or famine (with famine being the norm when you’re just getting started).
Everything begins and ends with you.
There are no coworkers, no supervisors, no bosses…
…nobody upon whom you can cast any measure of blame.
But as difficult as it is to build your own business, you have to accept the positives which actually DO come along with the negatives.
Those positives are gifts which have arrived in deceptive wrapping:
- you went to work today, and although it seems like just another day, it’s a gift to maintain the desire and motivation to build something extraordinary for you and your family — a business which will reward you immeasurably in your future years
- while that Facebook ad didn’t yield the anticipated results, you’re still on the advertising front lines, putting yourself out there, acquiring the gifts of knowledge & valuable experience
- maybe you feel that all of your content creation (videos, blogs, memes, etc.) is just busy work; but by branding yourself as a valuable terminal for others, your efforts nevertheless yield the gift of name recognition…in ways which you cannot yet comprehend
- perhaps the sales & commissions are still lagging, but this gift will serve you well when, down the road, you’re mentoring one of your clients who is enduring the same issues.
It’s all about perspective.
So don’t be too quick to ascribe negatives to the occasional perceived “hardship”.
It just might be that you’re focusing on the Danielle Steele wrapping instead of on the David Yurman bracelet inside!
A gift that keeps on giving…
While we’re on the subject of gifts, I have something that I want you to have.
Yes, our business can be trying at times — particularly if you’re going it alone.
Your path to success will be made much less trying with (1) education, (2) mentorship and (3) a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
This is what you’ll find with Elite Marketing Pro, a platform which I use & which I highly recommend.
I invite you to kick the tires by checking out their FREE 10-day Online Recruiting Boot Camp video course.
It’s free and, unfortunately, I can’t make it any cheaper than that.
You’ll receive one bootcamp lesson emailed to you each day for 10 days.
That’s 10 bite-sized chunks, easily digestible, to determine if EMP can help you achieve your goals.
What have you got to lose?
So if you’re ready to get started…
And if you found this content helpful, I would love to read your comments below!
Yours in success,