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For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalms 107:9
I need to tell you part of my story. I'm not sure you need to read it, but it is important to me. I hope some of this will be important to you. If you are anxious, if you are too busy, if you have lost balance in life and have wandered from the path, then maybe you'll gain from the following words.
I embarked on my current career in my late twenties. I have not had a paycheck from anyone since I was 23 and got out of the Air Force. I loved to choose my own path. Since I ran my own businesses, I had to make many decisions every day. All the stress of running a business, of traveling, of trying to succeed, was very wearing.
As I look back I can see it. I was so healthy growing up. I had endless energy. For many years I was the one who wore people out. I was in charge and I felt for so many years that everything was up to me.
You know that saying, "If it's to be, it's up to me?" Maybe, but I think it's a half truth. Actually, from God's perspective, it is only true in relationship to the "it" being God's will. This expression, as it relates to success in business, is wrong. It should say, "If it is to be, it is up to God."
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up.
1 Samuel 2:7
Still, I could not give it up. The business was exciting and fulfilling. In many ways, it stillis. But now there is a difference. It's a huge difference. When my heart matured toward God, the results were dramatically better.
A few years ago, I finally quit traveling. I had been gone from home 15 to 18 days a month. Now, I'm gone two to three days and some months I don't travel at all. Now, when I do leave town, it's often for vacations and the kids come with me.
Back then, I would make $25,000 to $75,000 per lecture. This is great money for two to four hours of work. You can see how great the temptation is to travel and speak. Every time I said no, it cost me $50,000. The problem was, I could only be in one city at a time. I believe in what I teach. Thousands of people could use this information. I was tired though, and needed to slow down.
I finally did so. I went cold turkey. Within weeks, we had instructors and facilitators up and running. Within months our business more than doubled. My royalty checks were now much more than beforewhen I was doing it all.
Being home presented new opportunities and concerns. Within months we were moving into new offices. Our employee count went from 125 to 275. The business was busy. I could work 20 hours a day and never run out of things to do. I became way too busy at home.
We were and are investing in mortgages, hotels, and working our brokerage accounts. We're seeing manifold increases in our business. Each month sees new growth. But, alas, it was consuming me. We climbed to 405 employees.
My good friend, John Childers, called out of inspiration. His long conversation came down to this, "Wade, if you're building a billion dollar company and you are constantly thinking of things which others could be doing and should be doing, you'll never make it." I used to teach this in my real estate seminars. If you paint you get paid as a painter; if you lay carpet, you get paid as a carpet layer. Someone needs to see the big picturemake the deals. This last function is the one which makes hundreds of dollars an hour.
John quoted me out of my seminar. "Wade," he said, "you get paid for what you do!" My wife does this all the time. They use my statements to remind me, or condemn me. I just smiled. I didn't know they were listening.
Back to the point. I know what he said was true but I didn't know how to do it. I wanted a slower, more fulfilling lifestyle, but I was in the fast lane with no exit ramp. I was sanguine after his conversation.
The next morning I left for Hawaii for a six-day vacation with my wife. All I could think of was how to unwind myself from the "busyness." I have so much more I want to do, and when I pray I feel God has so much more for me to do. Humbly, I went to Him in prayer. I knew only He would have the answers.
Was a hundred million dollar public company to be where I stayed? Could I take myself out of the picture and have it still prosper? What else lay in store from me? Are there ways, yet undiscovered, which will let me serve God better? I have only been truly happy when I'm helping others and doing good things. I wanted more chances to serve.
Monday night I arrived home from Hawaii. On the flight home I wrote my first chapter for this bookthe one on the ten talents. Please understand I have taught some of these stories and have tried to use scriptural insights in my seminars and workshops for years. I have collected notes and scriptures during all this time. I had put off writing this book for ten years. It was time to stop the procrastinating and get on with it.
All day Tuesday I went from one problem to another at my company. And I saw things that only I, as the founder and owner for many years, would see.
I have half-heartedly joked in the past about my trips to Hawaii. My wife and I love going there. We used to get the hotel room for two weeks. We'd line up the flights. Then we would cut it down to 10 days. Before we left we'd change everything to eight days. We'd get there and come back often in six days and already our business had mutated into something we could barely recognize.
It's nowhere near that bad today. We have great people who are conscientious, dedicated, and loyal. But still, here I was on the day getting back, once again wrapped up in the affairs of the company.
I was worn out by 2:00 P.M. John was in town so we went for a ride. We talked until 10:00 P.M. This was a major discussion. We went around and around. He was trying to get me to focus on the big billion dollar company. I was wondering how to do it. All the theory in the world couldn't answer how I was to conduct my life on Wednesday. It was a great conversation but no hard conclusionsno road map, nor even clear street signs.
This was so frustrating. Why couldn't he and I come up with the answer? He was a lot closer to the solution than I was because he was not only older, but a lot wiser. I'm hardheaded and sometimes need to be hit in the head with a two-by-four to get my attention.
The next morning, I was getting ready to go play basketball. Months earlier, my assistant, Cheryle, gave me a small book entitled Meditations For Men Who Do Too Much. It sat unread on my bathroom counter for about six months. I hope you catch the irony here. I was too busy.
It was March 27th. I picked it up and read January 1st. That seemed to be a good place to start. It was one of those books which had a thought, some wise axiom or saying, for each date.
January 1st said, "Let it go." My eyes welled up. I could barely read the following short two paragraphs. I sat there and cried for 25 minutes. No kidding, I just sobbed. I felt relief. I felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.
There was my answer. It was in a book I didn't buy, given to me by a friend concerned about my health, and read after many other in-depth conversations with John and my wife. I know that I have read similar passages in the Bible. My goodness, I have many of them memorized. I know we are not to toil and spin. I know tomorrow will take care of itself. I know all this, but I know it from a mental point of view. I did not buy into it. (Oh, by the way, maybe you can now see why we used BUY in our title: Business Buy The Bible.) I know I should have learned these lessons, but I also know one other thingPaul's admonition is valid:
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
We should seek and find lovely, good, praiseworthy things, and things of good report. It was a marvelous experience that day in my bathroom. I didn't know how I was going to let the business go (at least my intense work in it) but I decided to let that decision go, too. I would strive to walk in more faith. I would let God guide my footsteps.
When I got home from basketball, I thought I would read that day's message, March 27th. Look at what it said: "So now he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man." I have enjoyed this little book by Jonathon Lazear immensely. I recommend it to you. The publisher is Simon Schuster.
This day's message also had an "add-on" impact on me. Now, I'm not one to put any stock in fortune cookie messages, but this was different. God needed to communicate with me. My prayer, the trip to Hawaii, and especially John's helpful words led me to this point.
Usually I think about new ideas for days before I spring them on my management staff and department heads. That day, I got them all together and discussed my new-found direction. I thought that some of them would be frightened, thinking that their job depended on me. I was so pleasantly surprised with their response. Most came up to me after the meeting and on throughout the day and gave their support. Some received the same peaceful feelings I had.
I can't just walk away from the business, but I can wean myself awayme from it and it from me. I'm President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of a huge company. I've heard we're the third largest shipper in the state of Washington with one of the major overnight/two-day shipping companies. Microsoft is number one, Nintendo is number two, and Wade Cook Seminars, Inc. is number three. We're big. I have thousands of shareholders who expect the best from me.
I have other paths I must walk. This book is one and this may lead to a whole new purpose/career in life. Will our company become worth one billion dollars? I'm not sure. I think it will. If the new, enabled management team performs and stays true to these great Biblical principles, it will probably happen. I've been going in only two hours a day and already sales are picking up. Once again, as I let go, and try to keep my heart right, we seem to prosper.
This time, freedom has given me the real opportunity to live my passion which is ancient wisdom and teachings. I love old languages. I love links to the past. All I want is, in my humble way, to serve God and do right by Him.
Everything else will take care of itself. Employees will improve their performances. People I don't even know will come on board, bringing a treasure chest of knowledge and experience. Countless thousands of customers will benefit and will be able to do more important things with their lives, if that's important to them.
I wish more than anything I had learned this lesson earlier. I was not ready. I should have made myself ready to be a receptacle for God's spirit. I was a partial receptacle, accepting (screening) what I thought was important. I think most of us are this way.
Total commitment, total giving and total submission is so hard. I think that we evolve and change in a war against who we can truly be. God knows us. He knows where He wants us and what we are capable of achieving. I'm not certain He cares whether we're a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker. I am certain He cares how we conduct our affairs. He wants our heart in the right place. I want to be among those trying to live better.
I have had to learn many of the lessons in this book the hard way. I am hardheaded and usually don't get it. When I do, I'm a dynamo. I'm just saddened by how long it has taken. I hope you can learn from these chapters and implement these principles now so God can start working in your life.
I know I will be criticized for these words. Many people in business and many more in politics want nothing to do with the Bible. It is too hard on them. Some will say that I should teach rehashed, overworked ideas and not keep talking about God and His ways. Some think I should use so many of the fluffy, feel good motivational methods taught by these glitzy, twirling, mental spin-miesters.
This will not be a motivational book, typical or otherwise. It will be motivational to you only if prospering by living the word of God is motivational to you. It is to me. You see, there is just no one I want to go to on this earth to change my personality. I think that should be made to a higher source. Jesus said we would be criticized (even persecuted) if we choose to follow Him. So be it. I will wear such criticisms as a badge of honor.
Will you end up with a multimillion company or investments? I don't know. Will you enjoy the journey much more? Yes, this I know for sure. Even if you experience hard times and setbacks, you will be on the right road. The right road will lead to true riches. The wealth of this world will help or hinder that process. I'm sure God wants us to succeed.
By Wade B. Cook
Lighthouse Publishing Group, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Wade B. Cook. All rights reserved.