Sean’s Journal: Okay, I’m at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. If there’s a “mecca” for horse lovers, this has got to be it. The Kentucky Derby is my favorite sporting event—not the Super Bowl. It is thrilling just to be at this racetrack to experience its beauty and to feel the power of horse racing. I can hear those thundering hooves in my mind right now.
I am having what they call an “epiphany moment.” It’s about horses. I know what I want to do with my life in addition to raising a family. It will probably have to do with quarter horses back in Utah and not thoroughbreds here in Kentucky. Thoroughbreds are inspiring, but quarter horses are the workhorses of cowboys and I am a cowboy at heart not a jockey. So, what’s to do with the remainder of my time in Kentucky? I’m going back to Darby Dan to soak up the horse culture that exists all over this glorious State of Kentucky.
BTW: Did you know that Louisville is the home of Muhammad Ali, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Louisville Cardinals, and Louisville Slugger baseball bats. How many kids in the USA have that etched into their baseball bats? Only a zillion, including me.
Darby Dan. The manager agreed to let me hang out at the farm and to meet members of his staff. Most of all, I got to watch the horses in the stables, in the pasture, and during their training. I could go on and on about horses and the love their owners and keepers have for them. I also realize that I need to do something with my career that gives me the business acumen and financial wherewithal to be able to afford my own horses.
Vince’s Response: Ok, my friend, Sean. First, I LOVE horses. I did grow up on a small horse ranch in Arizona. Secondly, I have a very good friend named Darby. We were boyhood buddies. Third, I enjoyed watching Muhammad Ali in the ring…used to be a regular KFC customer, and I had a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Isn’t it great!
Careers. Sean, as you are feeling some inspiration about your career, let me discuss epiphanies. Earlier in my consulting career, I was inspired by a best-selling book entitled The Tipping Point written by Malcolm Gladwell. It was at a time when I had been diagnosed with cancer and was enduring one of those battles of life. A tipping point is that moment when something which may be leaning in one direction suddenly moves definitively in that direction. An epiphany might “just occur,” but a “tipping point” can be brought about deliberately—engineered on purpose.
At that tipping point in my life with cancer, I decided to write a book to explore the idea that we need leverage to make whatever it is we want to have happen in life move forward to become reality. I spoke with Mr. Gladwell by phone and asked if I could use the idea of “Tipping Point” in the title of my book. He gave me his blessing. My book became Leverage: How to Create Your Own “Tipping Points” in Business and in Life. As soon as you return, I will give you a copy. It puts forth many principles that will prove powerful for you as you pursue your “equine / equestrian” dream. I will be anxious to learn what you learn from the folks at the Darby Dan Farm—and from their horses. BTW: Three of my and Marie’s favorite all-time movies are: Sea Biscuit, Secretariat, and Hidalgo.
Early V&M Family Memory. As for Kentucky, let me tell you of our first major family vacation. When we were living in Detroit, when our first three children were about 4½ , 3, and probably 1½ years of age, we took them to Mammoth Cave National Park. Marie and I enjoyed touring the magnificent cavern. Our little tykes weren’t so sure, but they would periodically leap out of our arms and scamper where they should not have gone. We spent the day holding them closely when in the cave or chasing them around the campground and parking lot. It was a big adventure for such a young family.
I must remember tomorrow, on your Day 24 when you’re in Tennessee, to tell you about one of my most adventuresome client engagements that took me by helicopter across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The area is spectacular from the air.
Bookends: (1) Hold onto your dream. (2) Get leverage—professional skills and financial resources, powered by intellectual and spiritual determination. (3) Always include your family.