Elevator Opportunities

Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”

191-July 10

“I have missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I have lost almost three hundred games. On twenty-six occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot—and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.”—Michael Jordan

The room was bubbling with ideas. We were talking about luck—that magical happenstance that has been described as preparation meeting opportunity. I had asked the group what would you do if you walked into an elevator and the only other person in it was Bill Gates? Or the Pope? Or Stephen Spielberg? You’d have thirty seconds in which to make an impression. What would you say?

Linda Sivertsen, a professional dog-walker, woke up one morning with a vision of a book of celebrity interviews about experiencing success in every area of life. She followed her dream and wrote her book, Lives Charmed: Intimate Conversations with Extraordinary People. But the path to the book’s success involves an important elevator story: “I was about half way through my manuscript and had run out of contacts. I had already interviewed all of my clients and was in need of further subjects. Several publishers had shown interest in my book and were anxiously awaiting several additional ‘big names.’ I was feeling pressured to deliver.

“I was staying attending a golf tournament and was introduced to Charles Barkley. He agreed to be interviewed for my book. I was excited and knew in the back of my mind that his best friend, Michael Jordan, would also make a great interview. But I was reluctant to ask him for an introduction.

“One afternoon, I was in the elevator and Michael Jordan got in. He said hello. Feeling timid about asking him to be in my book, I knew I would forever regret it if I didn’t at least give it a try. ‘Hey, you wouldn’t want to be in a book I’m writing, would you?’ I knew as soon as I said it that this was a sure way to lose a deal, but my fear of interrupting in Michael’s day was greater than my need to get the interview. He smiled and said, ‘Uh, I think I’m going to have to pass.’ Trying to make light of the situation, I laughed, ‘Barkley’s doing it,’ to which he replied, ‘I can see why.’ With a smile, Michael left the elevator and was out of sight. Ouch.”

Linda’s book turned out beautifully, with Woody Harrelson, Leeza Gibbons, Arnold Palmer, Robert Townsend, and other celebrities who share their secrets of creating a charmed life. But Michael Jordan isn’t in it, because she wasn’t prepared for the elevator opportunity. You can bet she is now. She’s working on book two.

And on elevator speeches. When your opportunity gets in the elevator with you, don’t you want to be prepared for it? Write down what you’d say to get the interview, get the appointment, get the job, get the date. And start practicing. Get your ships together then people will start remarking how “lucky” you are.

Today’s Affirmation: “I am now highly pleasing to myself and to everyone I know.”