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“When you’re tired, when you’re down and out, when you’re running on empty—what keeps you going is the strength of your core.” Those were the words my friend, Marty, shared with me one Tuesday morning during our track workout.
That sentence struck me so profoundly that I knew it was about more than just running. Soon after, I downloaded the principles that would form my CORE formula for success. I use the word “downloaded” because that’s what it felt like happened. It didn’t take much thought or effort on my part. I didn’t sit down with a piece of paper and search for words that would be a perfect fit to turn core into an acronym. The principles just crept into my brain as if the acronym had already existed in the Universe and all I had to do was grab them. None of these principles are new or groundbreaking, but what matters is that they inspire you to take new action that you may have not considered before.
The first key principle you need to succeed in any area of your life and business is Communication— the C in C.O.R.E. Although you may already know that good communication is important, I challenge you to explore communication through a different lens.
When we think about communication, we focus on how to convey information to someone else. Conveying information to others is a critical skill to have. But for now, I’d like you to think of communication as a “what” skill instead of a “how” skill. As in, what is the outcome you’re trying to achieve? What are your goals? What is your definition of success? Communication starts with the information we convey to ourselves. Once you answer these questions, then you can take the steps necessary to communicate effectively with everyone else.
My dad was the best example of knowing what his desired outcome was and communicating based on that desired outcome.
My parents divorced, and my dad left my house when I was two years old. Besides that, his career had him traveling most of the time. My dad was barely in town, and even when he came home, he didn’t come to my home.
But this guy wanted to create a meaningful relationship with me despite his circumstances. My dad’s desired outcome was that he wanted his daughter to feel like he was there for her, even though he couldn’t physically be with her all the time. He wanted to have a great relationship with me while pursuing a career he loved and living an unconventional, non-traditional life.
That’s why my dad made three simple promises he knew he could keep.
The first promise my dad made was to send me a postcard from anywhere in the world he was traveling to. Remember, this was before the time of Skype, Facetime, texting, or email. We didn’t have the resources we have now to stay in constant communication with the people we love. However, despite not having these tools, my dad reached out to me through postcards. He used postcards to tell me where he was, what he was doing and when he was coming back. He’d remind me he missed me, invite me to dinner, and offer me advice and wisdom. Throughout my childhood, I’d fly to the mailbox after school, hoping to see a postcard amongst the stack of envelopes in the pile. My dad sent me postcards for 35 years.
The second promise my dad made was to call me every day. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he’d call me every single day (at least once, but sometimes more) and tell me he loved me. When beepers became popular, my dad purchased an international beeper that would work anywhere he was in the world. He set up specific codes for me to beep him so that our communication was clear. If I beeped him with 411, then he knew it was important but could wait. If I typed 911, then it was urgent, and he had to stop whatever he was doing to call me. Later, when cell phones came out, my dad promised to always answer the phone when I called. It didn’t matter where he was, or what he was doing, if I called — he’d pick up. My dad became a person I knew I could trust and count on. One time I was out with my friends and feeling ill with a cold. I had not driven, so I asked my friends to please take me home, but they didn’t want to leave. I could feel myself burning up with fever. It was 1:00 am. I dialed my dad’s number. On the third ring, he picked up.
“Dad, I don’t feel well and I can’t get my friends to drive me home.”
In his groggy voice, my dad replied: “Don’t worry, mi amor, just give me the address.”
I told him where I was and within 20 minutes my dad was at the front of the bar, picking me up.
My dad was never there to tuck me into bed at night or kiss me in the morning — but he was never more than a phone call away.
The last promise my father made was to take me every year to a convention hosted by the National Speakers Association. You may think this promise doesn’t apply to you—but the reasoning behind this promise is more important than the promise itself.
Taking me to this convention gave my dad and me four consecutive, uninterrupted days together. That was the only time of the year we got to spend so much quality time with each other. It was a great bonding experience. The reason he chose National Speakers Association was that it was a convention for his business which also had an excellent youth program.
“You are my partner,” he’d say. “I want you to know what I do for a living so you know by you sacrificing your time with me, you’re helping someone else.”
My dad kept these three promises and did many other amazing things for our relationship that I’ll share with you from time to time.
It’s important to note that before my dad made those promises to me, he made them to himself. He promised himself that he would be the best dad in the world he could be, despite his circumstances. He promised he’d send me postcards, and he sent them even before I could read or write. He sent them not knowing that my mother would keep them and show them to me later. He sent them regardless of my reaction to them. He promised to call me every day, and he did that whether or not I was available to talk. He called even if I didn’t call him back.
His promises were his way of communicating consistently that he loved me and was there for me.
What about you? What’s your desired outcome? Which promises can you make (and keep) to communicate your desired outcome on a consistent and clear basis?
Whether it’s losing weight, writing a book, building a business, creating work/life balance, or maintaining meaningful relationships… you must communicate consistently with yourself and others what it is you’re trying to achieve. What promises you make, what tools you use, or how often you communicate is up to you.
The first step in achieving success is communicating consistently what your desired outcome is.