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3 Feet From Gold

3 Feet From Gold (VIDEO)

This is a wonderful story told at the beginning of “Think and Grow Rich,” about a man named RU Darby, persistence and getting advice.



There is a wonderful story at the beginning of, "Think and Grow Rich," about a man named RU Darby. Darby was interviewed by Hill later on in life. He was a millionaire at that time., having sold insurance. He tells a story about when he was much younger than I think is a great lesson for many of us. Salespeople are taught this lesson early on in their training. But, if you don't work in sales, you may not have heard this story before.

Darby's uncle went to Colorado during the gold rush days and eventually located gold ore. He needed mining equipment so we went back to raise money to buy equipment to bring back to mine for the gold. He enlisted Darby and they raised money, bought equipment, and returned to Colorado to mine for the gold. Initially, things went very well; the 1st goal that they found was very pure and it looks like there will be a lot more there. They kept rolling and suddenly lost the vein.

They couldn't find more gold and, each day, went deeper into debt. Eventually, they decided to quit and sold their equipment to a junk man. Before disposing of the equipment, the junkman had the idea of mining for gold and reached out to a mining engineer before breaking down all the mining equipment and selling it.

The vein that Darby and his uncle were looking for was just 3 feet away. 3 feet away! The junkman started drilling exactly where he was told and found it just 3 feet away from where Darby and his uncle were looking for it. The junkman made millions from them mine because he was smart enough to know what he didn't know I got advice.

This is also a wonderful story about persistence. These people could have kept drilling in the wrong spot and never found the gold. The reality is that if they had the gotten some help, if they had drilled in the right place, they would have become incredibly wealthy.

I always think back to the number of people I meet, myself included, who give up too soon, or worse, never ask for help. This is really the story about getting advice and getting support, which, in US culture, we are not very good at. We all seem to hack from the belief that we have to figure it out by ourselves, or else it is not good.

I remember working for a guy many years ago, who did a lot of work for the old Morgan Bank. He really believe that if we fill jobs at J.P. Morgan, it was good. I would say to him, "When you go to the bank and give them a check to deposit, do they say to you, 'Ooh! This is a fee from J.P. Morgan. This is much better than a fee from any other firm.'"

No. They just look at the money. No one cares. It's the same thing with you.

Asking for help, getting advice, is smart. Willpower, forcing your way through things we don't quite know what you should be doing is not smart.

Get some advice. Get some help. If you need to hire a coach, hire a coach. Yes, I do coaching AND there are many capable people who can help you in a variety of different ways.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and leadership coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for and

Follow him at The Big Game Hunter, Inc. on LinkedIn for more articles, videos and podcasts than what are offered here and jobs he is recruiting for.

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The 3 Keys to Being a Champion

September is a great time of year for sports fans.

Baseball is in the middle of its pennant drive. Football is kicking off. The US Open is finishing in New York. College football has begun its drive to the national championship. Men’s basketball training camp is a few weeks away but women’s basketball is in the midst of its playoffs.

And that has reminded me to remind you about the three keys to becoming a champion.

The first is talent. I won’t spend much time on this because everyone has talent. The question is what someone will do with their talent.

This leads us to the second key to becoming a champion– Practice.

All of these great athletes, every last one, spends an enormous amount of time practicing their craft before they ever step into an arena to compete.

How much time do you spend?

If you are like most people, from the time you receive the call that invites you into an interview, until the time you arrive, you spend very little time preparing and, when you do, most people spend time getting ready to talk about what they’ve done, not what they’ve done in the context of what the employer is looking for.

This leads us to the third key–Persistence.

To quote former US President Calvin Coolidge,

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

So many people I speak with job search lackadaisically, even in the face of tremendous financial pressures. Maybe they spend an hour a day on a good day trying to find work.

Yet they tell their friends about how tough the job market is when they themselves are the problem.

So, as you look at the scoreboard to see the final score from your favorite team or athlete, remember what they put themselves through to compete and apply the lesson to yourself.

© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2010

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