The Long Walk Home
by Joe Bonura, CSP
Step By Step
What is the longest walk you have ever taken? I walked from Louisville,
Kentucky to New Orleans, Louisiana, a distance of 730 miles. Well,
I did not walk it in one fell swoop; I walked three miles a day
for one year on a treadmill in the comfort of my home.
We Will Miss You, Bill
A speaker friend of mine passed away on March first. You may have
heard of him: author Bill Irwin. Bill accomplished a major feat
in 1990; he walked the legendary Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian
Trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine
for a total of 2,164 miles through eleven states.
It Is A Long, Long Way
To get a perspective on how far 2,164 miles is, I figured how
far it would be to walk from Louisville, Kentucky to Los Angeles,
California, the distance from my front door to the Pacific Ocean.
I tallied 2,140 miles, and that was by way of the Interstate highway
system. The Appalachian Trail is a rigorous trail through some of
the most rugged terrain in the country.
It Is A Big Deal
Bill Irwin took about nine months to complete the journey, while
it normally takes most people only six months. So, why such disparate
journeys? Bill Irwin was blind, and he made the entire pilgrimage
with his guide dog, Orient Express. That is courage: Bill made the
journey without his sight. He recounts his walk in his book, "Blind
Courage." (check it out on http://billirwin.com)
It is an awesome read about overcoming life's challenges.
In the book, Bill admits having fallen over one thousand times.
When I met him for the first time, I asked him if that was true,
and he confessed that he had actually fallen closer to two thousand
times, but he did not want to sound like he was exaggerating in
the book. His wounds were many, from scrapes and bruises covering
his entire body and even a broken rib. He persisted through every
obstacle; he persevered until he completed his quest.
It Is Getting Up That Counts
Over the years, I have often thought of Bill when I was tempted
to concede defeat because of some obstacle or setback. As Rocky
said in the movie Rocky Balboa, "It is not getting knocked
down in life that determines our success; it is the will to get
up again and keep going." That is exactly what Bill Irwin proved,
step by step, minute by minute, day by day, and month by month on
the Appalachian Trail.
Falling Makes Us Stronger
Falling makes us stronger if we immediately get up after the fall.
On my first day of selling, I tripped and fell during my sales call.
As I was carrying a six foot stuffed Easter rabbit, I tripped, and
the rabbit flew into the air and knocked over six garbage cans.
The prospective client approached me and said, "Well, that
it the best attention-getting step I have ever seen in selling."
Forty years later, it became the title of my book, "Throw the
Rabbit - The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling."
I decided not to remain on the floor, but to rise to action and
complete the sale. The client received the rabbit for in-store promotions,
and I walked away with a 13-week contract.
A Real Love Letter
Here is the note that I received from Bill's lovely wife Debra
. . .
February 14, 1996 was the happiest day of my life when I married
my very best forever friend. And yesterday March 1, 2014 at 6:35
am was the saddest day of my life as I said goodbye to the love
of my life. I love you Bill Irwin and you will always have my heart.
Through my tears and broken heart I rejoice because you're in the
arms of our loving Jesus.
Keep Going Anyway
What obstacles are you facing today? You have a choice on how
you react. Choose to get up every time you fall, and choose to keep
going. Oh yes, you will feel bruised, battered, and beaten. Keep
going anyway, so that when you get to the end of your trail, you
will be able to celebrate and savor your well earned victory.
© 2014 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.