“Why are you holding this contest”? That was a question that I became really good at answering throughout the last few months. The short answer - I want to achieve awesomeness in my life. Hopefully, the people that I get to meet with have accomplished something awesome in their life and getting to know people like that will ultimately help me do the same. Ok, there is my answer. Here are the results and what I learned.
I didn’t get to meet Harrison Ford, who was my number one target influential person for many apparent reasons. And yes, one of those reasons is his ridiculous good looks. However, I did get to meet with five awesome and influential people. Without further delay, the winner of my contest is Alex McKenzie who connected me with Jim Foglesong, Country Music Hall of Famer and former president of Capital Records. Jim signed several country music stars while at Capital Records including Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and George Strait.
The purpose of this contest was to connect with influential people and do two things:
- Learn as much as I can from each person and use it in my attempt to achieve awesomeness.
- Build some sort of relationship with each person so that they might remember who I am if I come calling on them in the future for help or advice.
While I didn’t get to meet nearly as many people or as influential of people as I had hoped, I feel that I did accomplish my goals with the people that I met. Let me share with you what I learned.
In all of my discussions I found two common themes. The first is that if you are going to be the best at whatever you choose to do in life, you need to be doing something you love. Jim Foglesong said it many times in our conversation, “I loved music, so it never felt like work”. Whether I was meeting with a championship coach, a business owner, or a musical artist, I could tell that work wasn’t the same thing to them as it was to most people. It was their passion and they woke up in the morning happy because they got to do what they love. The second common theme was to surround yourself with the right people. This means the right people for you. Sometimes this might be other hard working people, sometimes smart people, sometimes creative people. Whoever compliments you best and pushes you to be your best, this is who you need to surround yourself with in your quest for awesomeness.
There was one other finding that I really want to share with everyone. One of the questions I asked each person was, “Did you ever have to sacrifice anything that you wish you hadn’t?” The purpose of this question was to see if they ever felt like they had to ‘sell out’ or give into temptations or distractions that they might regret in the future. Of course I knew they had to sacrifice a lot in their journey in the form of time, leisure, and other opportunities, but I was more concerned with whether or not they had to cross any ethical or moral lines they had drawn. It was refreshing to find that none of the five interviewees had any regretful sacrifices on their road to success. Either they didn’t want me to know what they sacrificed and were really good at lying or they truly did stick to their core values and beliefs. And to me, that was a huge relief. A constant inner struggle of mine is how much do I have to give into this world and surrender in order to someday become influential myself so that I can change the world in a positive way. It was very inspiring to hear that I don’t have to sacrifice anything I don’t want to, most importantly my values, in order to achieve awesomeness.
List of influential people I met (in random order):
Robert Young – President of Tutt Inc., large construction company in Lexington, KY
Jim Foglesong – Country Music Hall of Fame and former President of Capital Records
David Emerson – Atttorney at law, owner of Emerson Law Office
Richard Ketch – Owner of R.J. Ketch Equine
Michael Burt – State championship girls basketball coach, Riverdale HS, TN
- If you want to hear more about my interviews with any of these influential people, just ask me.