Act As If

Dirt bike manager

Day nine on the return trip of our 2020 Coast-to-Coast Adventure: As we traveled through Albuquerque, NM an amazing memory came to mind, something I hadn’t thought of for decades.

In 1972, the international training company headquartered in Garden City, NY, I was working with, scheduled a Management Seminar instructor training conference in Albuquerque. The Detroit, MI sponsor I worked with at the time, Ralph Nichols, urged me to apply for admission to this certification training. This was the next step forward in my career. I filled out the reams of paperwork required. Days, weeks, a month went by, and we still hadn’t heard anything from the Department of Education. With Ralph’s encouragement, I decided to just show up. What’s the worst that could happen? They could say, “Why are you here? You weren’t approved!”

This week-long training finished three days before the company’s annual convention in Phoenix, AZ that my family and I were attending. We were driving our Ford Econoline camper. In preparation for Arizona in July, I had an additional air conditioner installed, racks on the front for our 185 Suzuki dirt bike and racks on the back for bicycles, and the kids’ mini scooter. Off we went. If I wasn’t admitted to the training, we would have an extra week’s vacation.

We got to Albuquerque a day before the training started. I called the local sponsor, Lee Straughn, told him I was there, and hoped they would admit me. He said, “I hope so, too. It’s out of my hands”. Whit Whitlow from Honolulu, HI the author of The Management Seminar, was conducting the training. I met with Whit briefly. He called the New York office to ask, “Is it ok? I’d like to include Larry.” The New York powers-that-be agreed, maybe reluctantly since I’d gone over their heads.

Early every morning, (with my suit and tie on), I rode the little Suzuki dirt bike to the hotel where the training took place. I parked the motorcycle out of sight before some of the top managers in Albuquerque, who were attending the seminar, arrived. The training went well, and with Whit’s glowing recommendations, I was certified to teach The Management Seminar.

This is a meaningful example from my life when I didn’t take a “no answer” for a no. Instead, I took “no answer” for yes.

This is called “acting as if,” “acting as if you’ll get approval,” “acting as if the doors will be open,” “acting as if you’ll get the tickets,” “acting as if all lights will be green.”

So, the next time you get “no answer,” act “as if.” You may be surprised how doors swing wide.

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