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For every dealer, it comes down to passion

One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, says: “Everything begins with leadership.” I agree. But looking one step further, I’m convinced that to be a successful leader requires a genuine daily passion for the boating business and the good that emanates from it.

If you’ll indulge a personal reflection here, I loved and had a passion for what I was doing as head of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association for more than 34 years. I’d tell my wife, Kay: “I haven’t worked a day in all these years.” Even now, I couldn’t write these two blogs every week (for nearly 10 years now) if I didn’t have a passion for trying to say something that might help a reader or two.

But make no mistake. Everything accomplished in those many years wasn’t me — it was clearly the success of a team. Blessed to have fellow workers who made things happen, I’d like to believe my contribution was my genuine passion for what we were doing and that others could see it. So, no disrespect to Maxwell, but perhaps he should say: “Everything begins with the passion of the leader.”

I’m convinced everyone who leads (a dealership owner, general manager, sales manager, service manager and on down the line) needs to show a passion for our boating business if real success is to be experienced. Help your team reach full potential by always modeling an attitude that inspires them to reach new levels of success. But with today’s 24/7 obligations, sustaining that passion might not be so easy.

So I’ll share that for me, reading what very successful people have said — motivating quotes — always pumps me up. “That’s for me,” I tell myself. Here, then, are 12 of many I kept on cards in a box on my desk. I still often randomly pull out a couple. Hopefully some will ring true for you:

  1. Life’s battles don’t always go to the strongest or fastest; sooner or later those who win are those who think they can. —Richard Bach, author
  2. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. — Vince Lombardi, coach
  3. For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough. — Zig Ziglar, author
  4. Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. — John D. Rockefeller
  5. High expectations are the key to everything. — Sam Walton
  6. Begin by always expecting good things to happen. — Tom Hopkins, author-trainer
  7. Live out of your imagination, not your history. —Stephen Cove, author
  8. Never, never, never quit. — Winston Churchill
  9. In any game, somebody is going to lose. But it doesn’t need to be me — Bobby Knight, coach
  10. You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself — Harvey Firestone, industrialist
  11. I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day — Mark Sanborn, author
  12. And last, something I fondly say to others all the time: “I believe in reverse Murphy’s Law . . . something good is going to happen today, it’s going to happen to me, and I can’t wait to see what it is!” (I have no idea who said it or where I heard it, but I remind myself of it every day.)


2 comments on “For every dealer, it comes down to passion

  1. Matt Koning

    Norm It has been many years since we met you and displayed
    engines at Michigan City Boat show. Well we are still building engines and striving for perfection every day. Success comes from being on the job and we still answer the phone every day.

    Regards Matt Koning

  2. John Underwood

    Great article. I left a profitable business outside the marine industry in my 50’s to start a dealership/boatyard. I made less money but had more than enough fun to make up for it. I agree with you completely. There were no work days, just chances to dazzle my customers — even if they started out mad.

    Best regards, John

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