Friday, July 2, 2010

Charisma: The Human Will

A client, Stan, recently asked me why I did not talk about any other topics other than “charisma” and “Charismatic leadership.” I casually asked, “What other topics would you be willing to pay for?” Stan laughed and said, “Is it about money?” I then chuckled and said, “If you had mentioned a desire to know about another subject, other than charisma, I would have referred you to someone else.” He continued with,” Would you leave an opportunity to grow your business on the table?” I said, “If the subject does not have some relativity to charisma, I would have to leave it on the table.” He walked away puzzled as we set up an appointment for our next training. I thought about the look on Stan’s face as he left and decided to call him later to inquire further.

As Stan picked up the telephone after about two rings, I said,” Hello Stan this Ed Brown, is this a good time to talk?” He said, “Sure, what’s up?” I said, “I was thinking about our conversation earlier and I couldn’t get that look you gave me out of my mind. After I told you I would pass up an opportunity, if it didn’t fit my specialty, you seemed confused. Just curious, why the look?” Stan responded, “Well Ed, it is an economic recession and I know, as probably you do, there are a lot of people out of work. They would die to grab any opportunity they could to feed their families and pay their bills. You came across as beyond all that as if you couldn’t find yourself in a similar situation.” I paused a few seconds, because I didn’t realize Stan had emotionalized my response to that extent. I carefully considered his words and said,” Stan, I can understand your feelings and I was not, under any circumstances, trying to demean those who are unemployed. Of course, I could be in similar situation, if fortune was against me. But, do you know how long I’ve been pursuing my dream to find a concept and a plan that I could commit my life to? Stan asked, “How long?” I said, “30 years.” He said, “30 years? You’re not even that old.” I said “I’ve been looking for the one thing that would separate me from everyone else, since I was a child. I was influenced by everything in 1970’s from Super Fly to Evel Knievel. From Earth, Wind & Fire to Parliament-Funkadelic. Once I realized who created these surreal emotions as a child, I needed to know how they did it. When I determined that all of these influences had a high degree of charisma, that’s all I wanted to study. You came to me, because you found my work on the Internet. Do you think you would have found me if I talked about different subjects with no passion for either?” Stan said, “Maybe, if you were in different arenas, you would be known for different things.” I concluded by saying, “Stan, the days of being a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none are over. It’s just too many people trying to grab the megaphone spewing mere opinions with no research, background or homework. You pay me the price of my services, because I eat, sleep and drink charisma. If I died tomorrow, my body of work and system of thought would surpass anyone who has not spent years developing a compelling idea. I do not worry about the economy, because my lifestyle and commitment to my work will always allow my mind to create opportunities no matter the financial forecast or conditions. What you perceived as arrogance was a testament to the human will of a determined mind.”

Stan grew silent. I said, “Stan, are you still there?” He said,”Yeah Ed, I’m here. What you said inspired me. Rarely do I meet people who have settled on their own truth and drawn a line in the sand daring anyone to cross it.” I said,” When you get to that point by finding something that gives you a sense of purpose, nothing else matters…not money, people or things.” Stan seemed to become a bit rushed and weary. He said,” Ed, I’ll see you at our next appointment, I have to go.” I said, “What’s up? Are you okay?” He said,”Yeah, you gave me an idea for a plan I’ve been holding off for a long time. If I don’t get to it now, I probably never will.” I asked, “Can you talk about it?” Stan said,”Ed, your passion and words make talking at this point, a dead subject. I have to do it. I’ll tell you about it the next meeting.” I said, “Okay, take care.”

The next few sessions, Stan would be elusive about his project saying, “You’ll see when it’s done.” To date, I don’t know what Stan has up his sleeves, but not only has he referred other clients to me, he has added more sessions to his contract. I don’t believe the weak shall inherit the earth, I truly believe the world belongs to the brave and courageous.