I knew I needed help, now.

It happened on a Saturday night in July.

If I had been paying attention, I could have changed the outcome, but I didn’t.

When it hit, I was devastated.

You have faced difficult times and setbacks in your life.

Situations you were caught totally off guard and devastated by what happened to you.

Stationed at the US Army’s Camp McCoy in Wisconsin I had just finished the day shift of managing the air-traffic control tower at the airfield.

Coming into the barracks around 6 pm I realized all 30 of my team members were gone.

How odd I thought.

I asked at the cafeteria chow line when the servers had last seen my teammates and they told me not since breakfast. How odd.

Leaving the military base, I drove into town to our favorite watering holes to find them.

Again, no one had seen any of the guys. How odd.

Around midnight in the barracks as I lay restlessly and confused trying to fall asleep on my cot. One of my buddies came up the barracks stairs, into my area and sat on the edge of my bed. He and everyone else had a wonderful day of barbeques, volleyball, music, dancing, and fun at Rods house.

Not seeing me at the all-day party attended by my 30 teammates, he asked Rod the host of the party where was Jim?

Rod told him I was a SOB; he had no use for me which is why I had not been invited. He told others he invited to the party it was a surprise and to keep me in the dark about it. How odd.

Four other friends came in shortly and confirmed the same story.

I didn’t sleep all night and got up before the others, showered and left the base.

Driving around aimlessly for hours finally arriving in La Crosse and thinking about what Rod said.

He was right, I had been a jerk to him. Thinking about it, I had been downright mean to him.

What do you do when you can’t figure out what to do next to get out of a mess?

I found a pay phone and called my mentors, my parents.

They knew from my voice something was wrong. Great mentors know that stuff.

After listening to my story, they both asked what I wanted them to do for me.


When you talk to your mentor they will lean into your conversation and see things at a 360 degrees view. When your in the middle of a mess, you can’t see the whole truth.

If you ask them for guidance, they will give it.

But you better listen to them and respect their time and advice.

Or you will lose that 360 degree viewpoint.

My parents said

” Jim, you made this mess. You own it. You’re a nice person but not this time. “

  • Clean up your mess,

  • Take responsibility,

  • Apologize to Rod about your behavior.

  • Tell him you understand why he thinks you’re an SOB

  • Let him take the next step

If any of your teammates, ask about it, tell them what you told Rod.”

After the call I went into a grocery store and bought a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people and read it that day.

On Monday I couldn’t eat breakfast as my stomach was tossing so, I went to see Rod.

He never said a word as I apologized, I told him I understood why he felt that way, and I had acted like an SOB.

It was 4 days later he asked me to work the evening shift with him in the air traffic control tower.

You are going to have messes in your life.

Some you made and some are dumped on you.

The only one to take care of those messes is you.

Find a mentor, someone you respect and trust.

When you slip and fall into that mess, reach out to your mentor and open yourself up to seeing that 360-degree view as they see it.

You will have a much richer and joyful life with their help.

Your ability to influence, connect to your potential customers and share with them how you can help then achieve their desired outcomes is more important than information about your products and services.

I help business owners improve that ability.

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