by Michael S. Clouse
It's early Tuesday morning, and I haven't finished sleeping. Daylight
streams in through the unfamiliar window above as I try to ignore its
subtle power, but I am losing the battle. Caught up in a world not all
that far removed from my own, I lie half awake anticipating the day in a
back basement bedroom so warm and comfortable my body is unwilling to
We are to depart Kelowna at 8:00 am, a picture postcard town located
somewhere along the 50th parallel in the heart of the Canadian Okanagan
valley. Long drive ahead of us. Have been told we are to travel by car
over roads mostly of asphalt, sometimes gravel, and the occasional
"you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me" dirt stretch destined to add a new
rattle or two to even the most well-crafted vehicle.
Our final destination on this Network Marketing business trip is Fort
St. John, B.C., Canada. Thirteen hundred kilometers, and 15 hours due
north into an area of wilderness the locals affectionately call "The
Bush." With bags packed for our five-day excursion stacked neatly
throughout the van, a full tank of gas, and Amanda Marshall's "Let it
Rain" playing softly on the CD player, the journey, and our conversation
We speak of philosophy, of life, and of its purpose. Cover the books one
must read, movies worth a second look, and review in detail the numerous
worldwide destinations we should include along the way. Minute after
minute. Hour followed by still endless hour, we have a chance to do what
so few in this world seem able to do—really connect as people. To engage
in endless dialogue, and by choice learn everything we possibly can
about another human being.
If it's true that the three most important things you will ever leave to
your children are your photographs, your personal journals, and your
library, what then is your most prized possession while you are living?
Complex question, perhaps, but with a simple answer—because nothing can
be more valuable than your relationships.
Gazing out the passenger window a few hours into the day, our words come
to an abrupt end. Stunned, we watch in amazement as six bald eagles
perched upon the mighty limbs of an old cottonwood tree majestically
survey the bend in the river below. I'd never witnessed such a sight.
The beauty that surrounds us is breathtaking. Our conversation
If you really want to know someone, you must uncover his or her core
values. Asking simple questions like, "What is most important to you in
life?" Followed by the obvious, "What is important to you about that?"
And the all-important clarifying question, "How will you know when you
Getting to know people for who they are is what we should do best.
Sadly, as entrepreneurs we rarely develop our relationship skills as
carefully as needed for that. As business leaders, it's time we start
understanding this fundamental point. As the chain breaks at its weakest
link, so, too, your enterprise will rust and decay wherever it is least
Therefore, we must make time, and really get to know those in our lives
for who they are, and for the individuals they wish to become. This is
good for business. This is good for life.
Along our journey we wait for a herd of elk to cross the road before
continuing; almost hit a bear...count deer, a coyote, and one red-tailed
fox. The Bush, and our lives, are amazing places-a collection of
experiences, and their intensity.
And while some may selectively choose to recall only the rain, unpaved
roads, and the Fort St. John mud, we prefer a pizza parlor in Jasper,
photographing a lake in the warm afternoon sunshine, and over thirty
hours of endless conversation-building a relationship that will last a
Perhaps the best advice anyone ever gave is, "The next time you decide
to develop a leader, begin your journey by becoming a friend."
All the best,
Copyright 2002 by Michael S. Clouse.
Michael S. Clouse
Editor-in-Chief, Nexera e-News™.
Former Editor-in-Chief, Upline® Journal.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Certified Network Marketing Professional.
Author of Future Choice, Building Your Empire,
Seven Prospecting Secrets, Business Is Booming!
Prospecting 101, and The TeleCoaching Workshop.
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