Monday, January 11, 2010

Are You Willing To Have That "Uncomfortable Conversation?"

My Fellow Americans,

I wanted to speak to you today about a conversation I had last week with a college buddy of mine.  My friend, let's call him Phil, has been a U.S. Marine (logo: Google) now for over 3 years.  He has been sent to Afghanistan on at least one occasion and will deploy again in March of this year.  His unit is assigned the unenviable task of trying to detect enemy bombs.  He told me his truck has been blown up more than once.

But, that's Phil.  He has always had that "dare devil" persona since I've met him.  In college, he would bring his motorcycle helmet to class.  He even rode the same motorcycle, while in a suit, to a business dinner with a potential employer.  He's always been one of the more outgoing people in my life -- with a no holds barred style attitude.

That's why when he told me he wasn't going to take a job with a top accounting firm after college -- choosing instead to enlist with the Marines -- I wasn't completely floored.  However, I'm sure it had to be a rather unpleasant conversation for him and his folks.  I can't imagine having that talk with my parents.

That brings me to the quote I want to share with you today.  The quote comes from Timothy Ferriss (photo: Wikipedia), an angel investor and author of The Four-Hour Work Week (photo: Wikipedia).

"A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have."

That's why I believe Phil will be a success in his life -- because of his ability to have that "uncomfortable conversation."  When I spoke with Phil, he told me about Ferriss and his book.  He explained to me how he was blown away with his entrepreneurship ideas and attitude towards life. 

One of the reasons Phil and I were friends was due to our desire to start our own business.  We would talk about starting companies and making millions.  We would talk about retiring early and being set for life.

This book rekindled that spark in Phil -- something he lost while at war.  It wasn't that he regreted his choice to serve his country.  He just felt that it may be time to move on.  He told me he didn't want to be blown up or shot at anymore.

So, he chose to deploy one last time and will likely call it quits after his term of duty ends.  And once again, he will be forced to have that "uncomfortable conversation."  This time it will be with his supervisors and fellow Marines -- in saying goodbye.  The Marines are a tight-knit group.

But, that won't be the last one he'll have.  I'm sure in his business endeavours, he'll encounter those that don't like his ideas or don't think his products will sell.  That won't stop Phil though.

I know he'll be a success because that's what the Marines do for you.  Robert Kiyosaki was a Marine.  The father of my best friend was a Marine.  Both are successes -- as I'm sure countless others are.  In having that "uncomfortable conversation" with their respective families, these people went on to do something great for their country.  And of those that are fortunate enough to have survived, many went on to become hyper-successful over the rest of their lives because of what they learned on the battlefield.

If I know anything about my friend Phil, I know he will be right there as well.  Sometimes all it takes is having that one "uncomfortable conversation" you keep putting off to make a real difference in your life and the lives of others.

What conversations have you been putting on the back burner?  How do you think having that conversation will change your life for the better?

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