Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dear You

It was July 1993. I had just started my first company - a Xerox agency. I was young, inexperienced and quite possibly the most scared individual on the planet. I was convinced the level of B.S. I had spun to get Xerox to authorize me as their local Xerox agent was going to surely be my undoing. What was I thinking? How would I ever make this work? I was convinced I was never gonna get anyone to buy something from me - especially a product that was old technology, 40% higher than most of my competitors and was being sold by a guy that still had pimples!

I was the youngest Xerox agent owner in the country and prior to that first week, one proud hombre! But now after a torturous week of doors slammed in my face I was feeling anything but proud. I was scared sh**less that I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

I was thinking about that first week this week as I prepared remarks for a talk that I am giving next week to about 300 executives. I still can't believe how far that I have come and how little faith I actually had in myself way back when. That first week was hard but I still remember the moment that defined it. It started with a letter that I wrote. It was both the shot in the arm that I needed and the foretelling for what I would discover about life, business and my ability to be successful in both.

Thought it was worth sharing:

Dear You, You will have the courage to walk through strange doors, meet new people and show that you are capable. You will take wild chances because the chances will be yours to take. You will do that which feels uncomfortable – just to prove to yourself that you can. You will play the cards that are dealt to you because you can’t win if you don’t play.

Whenever you are discouraged take a breath and say.

I will pay attention because life leaves clues and this is a mystery I know that I can solve.
I know that I cannot do this alone – nothing happens in a vacuum - I need others. I will break free from this shy self of mine and rise up to meet the people I most want and need to meet regardless of who they are or how different they may be from me. Even if at first they aren’t impressed, know that they soon will be.

I will honor those that enter my life, personally or professionally, by adding value and being a resource when and where I can. I know that this is a journey and the people that I meet along the way will open the doors of opportunity for me if I take the time to let them.

Forget your doubt. Forget the odds are seemingly stacked against you – in they end they won’t be. Trust in your ability. Prove that you are able and most importantly be yourself.

It’s worked out pretty well for you so far.

Go on – the world, your world, awaits!

Yours truly,



jag said...

Wow - usually people have to live a lifetime before tapping into that kind of wisdom, Steve. Thanks for sharing it here!

Hope all is well today,

Anonymous said...

I need this letter for myself right now. WOW! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. No wonder you are the Ripple Man today!!!

Ripple On


Anonymous said...


Outstanding BLOG post today Steve. I am taking this home to my son who has just gotten his first real job after college. He needs to read this and know there is hope.


Tina Louise said...

Mr. Ripple before he was Mr. Ripple. Great insight that clearly has served you well.

Thanks for sharing Steve.


Carol said...

Great post. Wasn't aware of your BLOG or your other work but glad someone suggested I follow you through Twitter because I really enjoy your insight. I will enjoy going back and poking through your BLOG.


Rami said...

My dear friend:
This letter is so encouraging that while I was reading it, I try to not cry. This letter got me in the right moment of my life. The moment that I have to make some serious decisions for my future. I am going to frame this letter and hang it somewhere that I can see it every day before I leave the house.
With your permission, I am going to call this letter: "My Letter to Success"

God Bless

Xerox Solid Ink Outlet said...

Hey Steve,
I respect your work very much. Well worded talent goes far in the journalism career. Keep up the good work, so far I've clearly understood and followed up with your writings and I just want to throw some kudos at you, very good to hear people putting their mind to words the clear way :)
Anyways, until the next time I run across your page, c ya' ciao!