The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work

The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work

by Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626341739
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 895,795
Product dimensions: 6.35(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman speaks on issues of leadership, life balance, motivation, teamwork/teambuilding, attitude, and relationships to business, government, education and health-care organizations. He is a National Speakers Association Certified Speaking Professional and has been inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. Some of his previous books include Pivot: How One Change in Attitude Can Lead to Success, The Service Payoff: How Customer Service Champions Outserve and Outlast the Competition, and Brave Questions: Building Stronger Relationship by Asking All the Right Questions. He previously taught at Emporia State University, the University of St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota, and Mankato State University. He currently teaches at the Institute for Management Studies.

Read an Excerpt

The Payoff Principle

Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work

By Alan R. Zimmerman

Greenleaf Book Group Press

Copyright © 2015 Zimmerman Communi-Care Network
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62634-173-9


What Do You Really, Really, REALLY Want?

The Most Important Question You'll Ask Yourself

Do you know what you really, Really, REALLY want? This is the single most important question you could ever ask yourself, because your answer will affect every aspect of your work and your life—now and forever. Unfortunately, if you're like a lot of people, you haven't even bothered to ask the question. And, as a result, you may be working too hard, living too fast, and feeling like there's got to be more to work and life than what you've been experiencing.

You're right. There is more. You can be so much more than you already are, and you can have so much more than you already have. But you're never going to get it if you don't know what you really, Really, REALLY want.

The problem is, very few of us were ever taught to ask ourselves that question, and fewer yet ever spent any time looking for the answer to the question.

Instead, we were taught platitudes that supposedly applied to everyone. We were taught, for example, to "climb the company ladder." And if we did that, everything would be okay. We would be immune from the tough times that other people had to endure.

Well, that turned out to be a lie. Dr. Jan Halper dispelled that myth in her research. After speaking with 4,126 men and following the careers of forty-three executives, Halper concluded that many men never took the time to figure out what they really wanted; and if they did, they often ignored those thoughts and feelings. Instead, they sacrificed their personal lives and personal values for their careers and companies.

The result? As Halper writes, "By sacrificing their values for status, placing more importance on appearances than happiness, and spending more time in empty or false relationships, these men found themselves saying, 'I feel empty. I'm an impostor!'"

Whether you're a man or a woman, or even a youngster, does that sound anything like you? You think there's got to be more, but you're not quite sure what you really want. And even if you did know, you're not sure how to get it. Let me assure you this book is for you.

I've surveyed thousands of people over the years, asking them what they want out of a job, a relationship, or even life itself. The number one answer is always the same: "I just want to be happy." You probably fit into that category as well. You'd like to be happy; indeed, you'd like to have more happiness.

That's great. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. In fact, you should want to be happy. The Bible talks repeatedly about the importance of having a joyful heart, and the Declaration of Independence even says we have "certain unalienable Rights ... Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." And this book will show you how to be happier than ever.

Of course, the meaning of "happiness" may be unclear to you. You know you want it, but you're not 100 percent sure what it entails. No problem. We'll dig a little deeper into the definition later, because if you can't define it, chances are you won't achieve it.

And the second most common response to my survey is "I want to be successful." That's also great. It's not only the American dream; it's the dream of all people. And this book will show you how to be more successful than ever.

Unfortunately, some of the press and politicians have demonized being successful as though it is selfish or unfair. They seem to equate being successful with the inappropriate, undeserved accumulation of wealth. Of course, that is wrong, but that is also a very twisted and inaccurate definition of success. Real, honest, genuine success is all about becoming a person who achieves more of his or her dreams.

To get there—to experience more happiness and greater success—you've got to start by knowing what you really, Really, REALLY want. But your answers may be a bit vague at this point. And vague answers get vague results.

I don't want you to be like the millions of people who in their twenties, thirties, and forties—and even into their seventies and eighties—say, "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up." I don't want you to be like those people who simply grow older, until one day they realize they blew it. Their life is just about over, and there are no do-overs and there are no second chances for all the years they wasted.

To get more clarity on what you really, Really, REALLY want, ask yourself three additional questions.

Are You Enjoying What You Do?

The trouble is, many people don't enjoy what they do or where they are in their life. The famous comedian George Burns, however, thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing on and off the stage. Perhaps that's why he lived to be so old. When he was ninety-nine and the city of Los Angeles was renaming two streets in honor of him and his wife, Gracie Allen, he was asked how he felt. Burns answered, "It's good to be here. At my age it's nice to be anywhere."

As psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross observed in her work with the dying,

There are dreams of love, life, and adventure in all of us. But we are also sadly filled with reasons why we shouldn't try. These reasons seem to protect us, but in truth they imprison us. They hold life at a distance. Life will be over sooner than we think. If we have bikes to ride and people to love, now is the time.

Did you catch her comment? That most people don't even try to get a life they enjoy because they are filled with reasons why they shouldn't try. And the most insidious reason of all is that they don't know what they really, Really, REALLY want.

Of course that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Why wouldn't a person know what he or she wants? Or why wouldn't you know?

Confusion from the media is one reason. You are exposed to thousands of commercials every day, and every one of them has the same underlying message that you can't be happy without their product or service. Some of it rubs off on you. And after a while, your wants and needs fall together into one amorphous blob, until you come to the point of not even being sure what your priorities are. And it's pretty hard to enjoy what you're doing if you don't even know what you really, Really, REALLY want to do.

Misunderstood significance is another reason. You may think you're somewhat ordinary, with a regular job and a somewhat dysfunctional family. You may think you've never done anything significant and never will. So how could you possibly enjoy what you're doing?

But you can. You really can enjoy what you're doing no matter what your job is. And no one understood that better than Wilbert Williams. In fact, if you're ever in Chicago, look up his street, Wilbert Williams Way.

As you may know, the city of Chicago can be confusing to navigate because so many streets have two names. On one block you may see a street sign bearing the original designation, but several blocks down, the street sign has changed to a celebrity's name—such as a famous religious leader, an artist, or a business tycoon. It's a way of paying homage to the people who have positively influenced that area or the city in some way.

Some folks might be puzzled when they see the honorary street sign for Wilbert Williams Way erected downtown on a corner of the Magnificent Mile. Wilbert Williams doesn't ring a bell with the greater population of Chicago. But for the hundreds of Chicago residents who were greeted each working day by Wilbert Williams, the sign makes perfect sense.

Mr. Williams served as the doorman at the Women's Athletic Club for forty years, but he was so much more than a doorman. He made everyone who passed by and everyone who entered the building feel ten feet tall. He remembered their names, greeted them with warmth, and treated them with respect. So much so that his reputation for kindness and caring spread throughout the area, growing year by year, traits that prompted one woman to give her Cadillac to Williams! He was a simple, humble man who became bigger than life. He became a legend.

When Williams retired after forty years at his post, the fuss made over his retirement decision caught him by surprise—because he didn't think the way he did his job was anything out of the ordinary. He just enjoyed what he was doing.

But those familiar with Williams know better. They think of him as an icon or a city treasure. As police officer Paul O'Donnell puts it, "I've worked this area for fifteen years, and he's the best down here. In all these years, I've never heard him speak a harsh word about anyone. He's a gentleman; what more can you say?"

What, indeed. It was just Williams's way. He enjoyed what he was doing.

What about you? Are you enjoying what you do? If your answer is "no" or "I'm not sure," then ask yourself two questions. One, what would you do if you knew you could not fail? And two, what would you do if no one would say "no"? Your answers will clarify what you really, Really, REALLY want. And your answers will move you toward those things you enjoy doing.

Then ask yourself the next question.

Are You Happy with Where You're Going?

Whether you planned it or not, you're going somewhere, whether you like it or not. The question is, "Are you happy with where you're going?"

If you're happy, congratulations! But if you're not happy with where you're going, or you've never even taken the time to think about where you're going, it's time to stop and think.

Think about this for a moment. If you make no changes in your life, your job, your relationships, your financial planning, health-care regimen, or anything else, where are you most likely going to be five, ten, or fifteen years from now? Will your marriage be stronger if you simply take it for granted? Will your bank account be bigger in the future if you make no changes in your use of money today? Will your health be better if you keep on eating and exercising the way you have been?

When you think about questions such as these, you will be able to answer the bigger question I've just posed, "Are you happy with where you're going?" Again, if you're not happy with where you're going, take time to discover what you really want right now. Take ten minutes a day for ten days to just plain think about it. For some of you, that may be a rare activity, but you will get some answers.

There will be a lot more about this later in the book, but the best way to be happy with where you're going is to get off autopilot, merely drifting through your life and your work, and get on with the work of creating the future you want.

As Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), has observed, "The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing."

If you're not happy with where you're going, change it. It's your responsibility. It's not your company's, your boss's, your spouse's, your parents', or the government's responsibility to make your life better.

Even Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and UN ambassador, believed this. She said, "One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."

There are two ways to face the future: one way is with apprehension and the other is with anticipation. To face the future with anticipation, to make sure you will be happy with where you're going, you must create your future.

Finally, ask yourself this question.

Are You Satisfied with What You're Becoming?

When I share this third question with an audience, I know it changes lives. One audience member wrote to me about his experience. He said his life revolved around the stock market. He said he finally realized that he was sick and tired of grabbing the Wall Street Journal first thing every morning and organizing his whole life around the financial reports he read. He didn't like what he was becoming. He was too involved with his investments. Indeed, it had become his entire life.

He wrote, "You're going to think I'm off my rocker. I just liquidated my investments. I'm starting a new life. And I'm free."

I'm not saying what he did was right or wrong. I'm not saying you should liquidate your investments. But I am saying you had better take a good hard look at yourself to see if you're satisfied with what you're becoming. Do you like and respect yourself more today than you did one, two, or three years ago?

Are you becoming the kind of person you want to be?

Are you growing into the kind of person you admire? If you're not sure about your answers, then ask yourself these additional probing questions.

Are You Satisfied with the Direction of Your Growth?

Are you continuing to read books, attend seminars, meet with mentors, listen to educational and motivational recordings, and engage in activities that will help you become a better person? Despite what you've heard, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance leads to poverty, illness, poor jobs, and broken relationships.

Are You Satisfied with the Rate of Your Growth?

You may be growing too slowly, if at all. You may feel like you continue to get stuck in the same old nonproductive behaviors and nothing ever seems to get better.

Just don't confuse the rate of your growth with the rate of your life. You may be working furiously to get ahead. You may feel like you're working harder than ever but never seem caught up. You may be getting ulcers or finding it harder to sleep at night. There's a huge difference between activity and accomplishment.

Are You Satisfied with the Target of Your Growth?

If all your ambition and hard work is focused on getting more power, more money, more fame, more attention, and bigger cars, houses, titles, and stuff, chances are you won't end up being satisfied with who you become. Ancient history affirms that. King Solomon, who was reputed to be one of the richest men of all time, wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:11: "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity." It meant nothing. He didn't like himself anymore. And modern psychology continues to affirm it. Professors Lan Nguyen Chaplin and Deborah Roedder John discovered that materialism actually creates low self-esteem or less satisfaction with yourself.

In study after study, it has become abundantly clear that the people who are the most satisfied with what they are becoming are those who spend significant amounts of time helping other people.

As novelist Elizabeth Berg sees it, "There is incredible value in being of service to others. I think if many of the people in therapy offices were dragged out to put their finger in a dike, or take up their place in a working line, they would be relieved of terrible burdens." In other words, they would feel so much better about themselves.

To get a clearer handle on whether you're satisfied with what you're becoming, try this exercise. Make a list of ten people you deeply admire—people you'd like to be more like in some way. Your list may include people you know or may include famous people you've never met from politics, religion, books, and movies. Write down every one of their characteristics that you admire and respect. And then ask yourself how you stack up against those characteristics. Are you becoming more or less like them?

Whether you like your answer to that question, you will have taken another step in defining what you really, Really, REALLY want. And that's good. Once you figure that out, this book will help you get more of what you want, because this book is all about making things happen.

Becoming a Person Who Makes Things Happen

Some people say there are three kinds of people in the world: those who wait for things to happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened. And only one of those has a career worth pursuing or a life worth living—the one who makes things happen.


Excerpted from The Payoff Principle by Alan R. Zimmerman. Copyright © 2015 Zimmerman Communi-Care Network. Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What Do You Really, Really, REALLY Want?,
Chapter 2: The Payoff Principle and the Producer,
Chapter 3: The Power of Purpose,
Chapter 4: The Practice of Purpose,
Chapter 5: The Power of Passion,
Chapter 6: The Attitude of Passion,
Chapter 7: The Persistence of Passion,
Chapter 8: The Character of Passion,
Chapter 9: The Power of Process,
Chapter 10: The Process of Affirming Achievement,
Chapter 11: The Process of Continuing Education,
Chapter 12: The Process of Connective Communication,
Chapter 13: The Process of Compassionate Listening,
Chapter 14: The Payoff Principle Continues to Pay Off,
About the Author,

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The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Xkoqueen More than 1 year ago
Well Thought Out Self Help I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Payoff Principle by Alan Zimmerman is an interesting take, if not completely original, on the self-help book to achieve one’s goals. The book is logically organized and builds upon the prior sections like a piece of music building to its crescendo. The Payoff Principle purports to give readers the entire formula for success. Success being defined by one’s purpose and passion. Success being reached by identifying one’s purpose, applying one’s passion in a specific process. Success at the end of the process happens only when one correctly determines one’s purpose with Zimmerman’s guidance, and then only when one applies one’s total passion to the process. A worthy self-help book for those looking to get out of their rut and finding the life they want.