Last week, I joined thousands of the most talented networkers in the business in Orlando, Florida for XANGO’s North American regional. There was so much energy! So much enthusiasm! The magic of XANGO could be felt by all. The time came for me to close the first general session of the event. I came to stage looked at the crowd of nearly 5,000 and began speaking about our inception…the birth of this great company and the tremendous odds it faced in just the first 17 days.
Yes, we have come a long way in the past eight years, but the focus of my speech was on the first 17 days. Why? Because it’s always in the beginning where the tough choices to keep forging ahead are always made. When the commitment is limited (in this case time), one can justify quitting. But that was never the case for XANGO. My partners and I and the leaders who joined us from the start were deeply committed…committed to each other and to the success of this company…and committed to forging ahead in the face of adversity.
The challenges didn’t matter. They had no power over us because we were united, determined and focused. At the same time we were having fun…loving every minute. Nothing has changed since those beginning days in terms of those drivers behind our success.
The California dock strikes, our initial shipments of mangosteen getting lost and spoiled in transit, competitors attempting to stifle our momentum and put us out of business, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate challenging our name…none of it would have power over XANGO because we chose to succeed…despite the setbacks. Every time we were faced with a challenge, we got to work, we made a choice to move forward, we made good decisions and we had each other’s backs in the process.
For those who had the notion that XANGO’s success came easily, we presented the reality during my speech that our success was not luck…our success was earned. And our success was our choice. It had to be. Otherwise we might have easily given in to the pressure, thrown in the towel exclaiming “This wasn’t meant to be! This is too hard! The odds are against us!!!” Instead, we chose to believe.
Choice is a powerful difference-maker. It’s empowerment. It’s determination and direction. Choice gives you the power to determine your destiny…even if the path and the destination changes along the way. Choice is not a sure thing, it’s a vision and it’s a commitment to see that vision through.
Do you know the story of Mark Herzlich? In 2009, Mark, a Boston College linebacker, was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and projected as a potential first round NFL Draft pick. Then Mark was plagued by a lingering leg pain. Doctors found a cancerous bone tumor called Ewing’s sarcoma. They told Mark he would never play football again.
Herzlich began his treatment and recovery program. While chemo zapped his strength and his hair, he built his spirit with daily prayer for the fight of his life. He made a choice, a promise to himself not just to survive. He made the choice to play football again.
Herzlich underwent seven months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation. He now has a titanium rod running the length of his lower leg. Yet, with his hair growing back and nearing his playing weight, He prepared for a new season, and on September 4, 2010 he made his triumphant return to the gridiron. Mark’s story is heroic and inspiring. He reminds me of many of the great XANGO distributors I have been honored to meet throughout the world. So determined, especially when facing a great challenge. Like Mark Herzlich, they see through the present adversity to find that something great awaits them.
Choice drives the direction of our lives. Choices can be weak or strong…resolute or passive. There is the choice to let the circumstances of our lives control our happiness or to control the way we face those circumstances and be happy in the process. There is the choice to be a leader or the choice to follow the herd.
When we founded XANGO, we made the choice to be different. We made the choice to build a brand, the choice to have focus, the choice to build a category and be a pioneer, the choice to invest more in our employees, our culture and our distributor relations. We made the choice to face challenges head-on and to innovate every step of the way.
In the past few years, in the midst of economic turmoil, we made the choice to invest in the business. In the wake of a savage global economic downturn, we made the choice to open eight new countries. We made the choice to reward our distributors with greater commissions and incentives. We made the choice to launch new products, categories, tools and systems. We made the choice to work as hard as we did in those founding days to ensure XANGO emerged bigger, better and stronger than before. Those result of those choices are now paying off. The organization is growing. Distributors are expanding. New leadership is developing and leaders are coming in to the organization.
Choice is a major component of leadership…and leaders are defined by the choices they make.
Many of you were in Orlando for my speech…I’m honored to continue the discussion here and I welcome your thoughts on the role choice has played in your success.
By the way, welcome to the new look of AaronGarrity.com! A few months ago, I made the choice to redesign my site and add new content and features. More will be coming, so please take a look around and let me know what you think.