Mr. Success had just experienced one helluva bad day.
Nothing had seemed to go right. It was a double-down stress-filled day and at the end of it, he was wiped out. That’s when his executive assistant reminded him that he had an important black-tie dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria that night with a banker’s convention.
Now Mr. Success usually would have relished attending such an event. But not today.
The markets were in chaos and investors were going out of business all around him. Additionally, he was neck deep in debt by billions and the last thing he wanted to do was hob-nob with a bunch of uptight bankers who en masse wanted to lynch him.
Did I mention he owned billions?
Mr. Success did not want to attend a stuffy black-tie dinner with people who hated him.
In fact, there was one particular banker who was ruthless and had already forced 37 other investors into bankruptcy. This banker was a nasty piece of work and decided to call in the loans of everyone, who of course, could not pay. And Mr. Success was his next target.
Mr. Success instead just wanted to go home, grab a bite to eat and watch some football on his big screen TV. It was cold and rainy outside. A perfect night to unwind from a very bad day.
So he went home with no intention of attending that black-tie dinner.
However, once he got home, he got a second wind. He decided he was going to attend the black-tie dinner event with the bankers who wanted to lynch him, after all. He said to himself, “I must go. It’s my job.”
So he got into his suit and went into the cold, rainy night. He realized he couldn’t take his usual limo because when you hope to get mercy from the tax-collector, you don’t show up in a private jet. He couldn’t get a taxi, so he walked eight blocks to the hotel, in the cold rain.
When he arrived, he was soaking wet but was still able to grab the last seat at a table.
The man to his left was very nice. Mr. Success figured he didn’t owe him any money. But the man to his right was just downright rude. Throughout the evening, Mr. Success spoke to the man at his left but would still try to make small talk with the man on his right.
The man on his left, Steven, would frequently say, “I don’t think that man likes you.” Mr. Success agreed and assumed he probably owed this man money. But he kept trying to make small talk.
Finally, after about thirty minutes, the man on the right began to open up a little and Mr. Success felt good about finally thawing him out. Then he asked the man’s name.
He just about fell out of his chair because as it turned out, the man on the right was the very same ruthless banker who had put the 37 other investors into bankruptcy and was looking to do the same to Mr. Success!
Mr. Success couldn’t believe it. Out of 2000 bankers in attendance, he just happened to sit next to the one who wanted his head on a platter more than anyone else! Yet he continued to talk to Mr. Nasty and discovered he liked to talk about women. So they talked about women.
And then Mr. Success discovered something really interesting. It just so happened that Mr. Nasty was actually miserable. Even though he was calling in the loans of many businesses, they couldn’t pay, so his bank wasn’t making any money.
Mr. Nasty’s bank was actually upset because they wanted him to bring in money. Instead, his legal fees were eating him alive. He was spending too much time dealing with lawyers instead of bringing in money.
By the end of the evening, Mr. Nasty said, “You know, you’re not such a bad guy after all. How about you come to my office at 9:00 AM on Monday?”
Now Mr. Success was used to having people come to his office for a meeting. But he knew at this point he wasn’t the rockstar that he used to be. When you owe someone money, you go to their office.
So Mr. Success went to see Mr. Nasty at 9:00 AM on Monday morning. Within five minutes, they worked out a great deal.
Later, Mr. Success reflected on what would have happened if he had decided to stay home that night and skipped attending the black-tie dinner. He was certain that Mr. Nasty would have bore down on him first thing Monday morning.
Instead, he made a deal.
Now for those of you who don’t know, Mr. Success was Donald Trump and this was a true story taken from his book, Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker.
In the book, Donald Trump says this:
Going to the bankers’ dinner was hard work. It was not like going out to a nice dinner and having a wonderful time; it was work. That was a horrible time in my life, but in the end it all worked out because I did my work, and then I got very lucky, and I worked out an unbelievable deal.
In other words, Donald Trump showed grit.
The difference between leaders and everyone else is that everyone else would have stayed home rather than be in a roomful of people who hated them.
Donald Trump realized that you don’t get the big wins without the big risks. He took a huge risk by attending the dinner. He showed grit by going the extra mile to connect to the bankers, even though he owed them money. That in itself is worth admiring. Most people would be hiding behind their accountant.
In a very small way, it reminded me of when I attended the wedding of a good friend. I had liked Dave very much and was hoping for a romantic relationship to develop. But it didn’t. After we decided to cool down our friendship (because I wanted more and he didn’t), he met someone else and after dating her for six months, asked her to marry him.
When I told my friends I received an invitation and intended on attending, they were surprised. They knew how much I had liked him and how potentially sad the event could make me. They wondered if it was such a good idea.
I told them that although I was sad things hadn’t worked out, I still wanted to celebrate him finding love. And besides, there was no way I wanted anyone to think I was sitting home crying my eyes out. Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen.
So I went, enjoyed the evening, and went home.
Years later, I met my husband and immediately thanked God things didn’t work out with Dave.
When you show grit, it strengthens you. It toughens you up so you can take the next punch from life, which was meant to be a knock-out punch, but you just swayed slightly and still remained on your feet.
The world is a tough place. And if you want to succeed, you’ve got to get used to those punches. It’s not easy. I can relate to Donald Trump because if I had been in his shoes, part of me would have wanted to stay home and watch television.
But he went because it was his job.
What’s going on for you this week that you’re loathe to address?
Show some grit. Put on your black-tie suit, walk into the room with confidence and sit next to the person who wants your head on a platter.
Then turn on your brilliance. You just might make the deal of your life.