As Father’s Day arrives I am reflecting on the inspiration from the fathers in my life. My father who was in sales and eventually an entrepreneur that owned his own successful custom homes company in Plano, Texas. My maternal grandfather who was a successful sales executive at LaCrosse Footwear. My paternal grandfather who was a successful sales executive at a company called Brown & Bigelow – that is still in business today. Brown & Bigelow is a company that sells promotional products which happens to be exactly what I do in one of my businesses, Proforma Specialty Marketing.
Both of my grandfathers died when I was just a young child. I have often imagined what it would be like to talk with my paternal grandfather about the promotional products industry as it is today, how it differs from his days in the business and what kind of advice he would give me. I had no idea that he would speak to me through an unexpected and often overlooked item in my own home. An item that had been in my home for years just waiting to be opened so I could read his advice to me. I had seen it many times over the years when I would dust the books on the mantel of the fireplace. A small thin red book. An original leather bound copy (1942) of the book, “I Dare You” by William H. Danforth. One day I decided to actually open the book instead of just dust it off. I discovered that it is a sales book that encourages the reader to Dare to Adventure, Dare to Do Things, Dare to Be Strong, Dare to Think Creatively and on and on. Inside the front cover a handwritten note by a man named Ed encouraging my grandfather to “get more than your share of the 3 million dollars in January and to think toward that 25 million dollar year”. On the front page I see that as a very young child I had written my own name, PAM, there. I must have been marking my destiny. As I began to read the book I saw the things that my grandfather had underlined in the book. Things he must have thought were important pieces of advice to remember. I saw his handwritten notes in the margin. The more I read the more I felt his underlined words and notes were personal messages from him to me. From a grandfather to his granddaughter who would follow in his footsteps long after he was gone. Messages to encourage and inspire me, almost four decades later, to be the best I can be in my business and in my life just as someone had done for him.
Some tidbits from his markings:
- “Catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you!”
- “There was something splendid about the courage of a man who would so frankly admit failure to his boss.”
- “To desire something permanent in life, to develop your gifts to the largest possible use – that is your dare.”
- “You are going to gear up your mind to capacity and share its strength with others. Instead of diminishing by sharing, you will grow increasingly strong.”
- “Finally, don’t you dare stop until you have produced at least one creative idea. One creative mind dared to put the hind end of a needle on the point – a little thing, but out of it came the sewing machine.”
“I Dare You” is still in print and is available on Amazon. I encourage you to read it. It is still a very popular book for people in sales – and we are all in sales of some kind, aren’t we? So I leave you with this bit of advice. Dare to dream BIG! Dare to share your knowledge, love and passion with others. Dare to take that step towards the dream you have always dreamed to accomplish and help others to do the same…that business you want to start, the organization you want to volunteer at or whatever your dream may be. Remember that song that says, ”just put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door…” It is good advice. Okay, so that song is from the movie “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” but the message is still a good one whether it is from cartoon version of Kris Kringle or from me. Today take that first step towards your goals and dreams – start walking out that door and create the life you have always dreamed about. I DARE YOU! …and so does my grandfather!
Pam Russell is a charismatic dynamo with an infectious personality. She is passionate about the sales process, setting goals and inspiring others to achieve sales excellence so they stop feeling frustrated and start being successful. She has more than 15 years of sales experience.
Pam’s clients include entrepreneurs, sales professionals and teams, direct marketers, speakers and coaches. Together they create a sales blueprint that includes drilling down sales goals into a precise plan for achievement and developing a prospecting plan that gets results. She also helps clients determine who is—and isn’t—their ideal profitable client. Pam teaches clients how to create revenue streams from their expertise so that what seems like a lofty, sky-high sales goal becomes reality.
Pam’s sales awards include: Largest Single Order, Highest Average Order Size, Most New Clients and Most New Orders from Existing Clients in 30 Days, Centurion Award ($100,000+ sales increase in one year) and the Silver Award for Sales Excellence.
Pam is a native Texan who lives in Dallas. She owns Proforma Specialty Marketing—a printing and promotional product company. She’s a single mom, dog lover, entrepreneur and speaker who appreciates a good sense of humor.