Richard Branson Turned Down $500K

Last week I was at a real estate conference in Dallas Texas.  The keynote speaker was Darren Hardy, the Editor of Success magazine.

Darren told a great story about Richard Branson.  He said that a Fortune 500 company had hired Darren as a speaker for their big corporate retreat.  The CEO of the company had mentioned to Darren that they were trying to get Richard Brandon as the Keynote speaker but they were not having any luck getting in touch with Richard.

Darren told the CEO that he and Richard were friends, so he would try to make contact for the company.  He asked the CEO what he wanted to offer Richard for the Keynote speech?  The CEO said $100k for an hour and a half speech.

So Darren got in touch with Richard’s office but they would not let his call through.  The office assistant said that Richard is unavailable regardless of the reason for his call.  Well Darren thought there’s no way Richard would turn down $100k for 1.5 hours of work.  He told the assistant to tell Richard about the offer.  The assistant said to go ahead and let the offering company know that Richard is unavailable for the speech.

Darren calls the CEO and breaks the news.  The CEO can’t believe it.  He says, “we really want Richard at our retreat!  Call them back and offer $250,000!”

Now Darren is certain that Richard will accept this offer.  He gets the assistant on the phone… she still refuses to put the call through… Darren makes the offer… and she turns it down on the spot!

He calls the CEO and gives him the bad news.  The CEO yells, “I thought you were friends with this guy?  Call them back and offer $500k for a 1 hour speech… and we’ll send our private jet to pick him up and immediately take him back home after the speech!”

Darren calls Richard’s office… he is once again held up by the gatekeeper.  He tells the assistant the offer and she again turns it down on the spot.  Darren says, “what the hell is going on over there?  shouldn’t you at least ask Richard?”

The office assistant replies, “no, we have been empowered by Richard to not let any calls, meeting requests, or ideas through to him until he has completed the current 3 Strategic Objectives that he is working on… and a paid speaking engagement is not one of those Strategic Objectives!”

This story blows me away and it reminds me of my biggest downfall… and that is distraction.  I allow people, things, ideas, squirrels, etc to distract me from my Strategic Objectives.  So I am committing myself to only have 3 things on my plate at any given time.  My “Top 3“.  And within my Top 3, I will have a Top 1.  I will work on the Top 1 until it is completely finished or implemented.  I will then move on to #2!

The difference between mediocre and meteoric is Implementation!  Take a huge lesson from Sir Richard Branson and create your Strategic Objective list.  Narrow it down to a Top 3, and then a Top 1.  And do not FOCUS on anything else until it is completed!

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