The Epic of Mullet Head: From Starving Artist to Millionaire
I am a 47-year-old left-handed Gemini. A Communications Expert, Business Consultant and
I’ll forgo the verbal-vomit resume because I’d rather tell you my story–from a flat broke and desperate door-to-door salesman, to a multi-millionaire, then traveling to India, living essentially as a monk for two years.
Your standard rags-to-riches-to-rags tale…
But keep reading, please: there’s some vital information at the end that may lead you towards your life’s purpose and achieving the happiness and success you deserve.
My journey starts in the summer of 1998:
I was 6’2” 165 lbs with a face like a pepperoni pizza. I was living in an apartment so small you had to move the bed in order to access the front door.
I wore black T-shirts; I drank black coffee; I rode a black bicycle. Starving artist type. A nobody.
I answered an ad for a summer job, and the trajectory of my entire life changed in an instant. I was interviewed, hired, and trained in the same afternoon, along with half-dozen other unsuspecting miscreants.
It was a tech start-up—commission sales..
1. Pull your car into a strip mall;
2. Ignore the no soliciting signs and walk in;
3. Extend your right hand and smile;
4. Walk out;
5. Repeat 25 times;
6. Go home, open the phone book, and do it all again;
7. Try not to throw yourself over the upstairs balcony before bed.
I was pummeled.
Took me three months to make my first sale. (Quota was two sales a week.)
Personally, I would have rather shoveled chicken shit. But for reasons I didn’t fully understand, I could not quit. And
they could not fire me.
I earned just north of $10,000 that year. Worse, cold calling surfaced all kinds of crazy demons from my past.
All my life I had been plagued with social awkwardness: skinny, tongue-tied, never quite knowing what to say, how to express my feelings, or how to get my point across. And, yet, here I was in the lion’s den. The first day of school—every day.
But, I stuck it out. Slowly, I was waking up from the illusion of my own mediocrity. The job was a vehicle for becoming the man I longed to be.
Public humiliation is a powerful motivator.
Over the next several years, I devoured knowledge.
I took night classes and attended seminars in the fields of human behavior. Basically, I wanted to not suck.
Transformational Leadership, Social Dynamics, the Psychology of Influence, Eastern Spirituality, improving myself was my obsession.
I ended up with a Master’s degree and four certificates. Above all, I wanted to understand myself— and other people—so I could get what I wanted in life. I wanted to matter.
Fast-forward six years:
That little start-up became a publicly traded corporation with 2,500 employees. I became a senior executive training and leading the sales force—now one of the largest in the nation. These were the salad days, riding the gravy train, hand over fist, and all that.
Of course, the bottom fell out.
Everything changes. Our stock price dropped to $2. Our reputation was tarnished. We couldn’t
sell; we couldn’t recruit; we couldn’t retain.
Our beloved little company was gut-shot. I would fire about 300 individuals during this time. It was bleak. It was brutal.
Bottom line: The sales tactics I had used to climb the ladder didn’t work anymore.
We even brought in expensive consultants to determine the characteristics of the perfect salesperson to hire and train to that profile, trying to capture the elusive X-factor that would guarantee success. But, nothing worked.
The competition, the market, and our customers had all changed. We’d fallen asleep at the wheel, and we were paying the price.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Because I was desperate and because I was bored, I designed a three-day “Communication Workshop,” and put 30 new-hires through it on the sly.
It was intensely personal, interactive, and rigorous; a deep-dive immersion into the best material I had learned.
I taught them next to nothing about the company they worked for, or the product they were selling, or even “selling”
itself, much less policy, paperwork, and pricing.
Instead, I wanted to put interactions under the microscope.
The countless mini-encounters that make up the fabric of our professional, social, and personal lives.
I wanted to help people understand how they are being perceived; how to take off the mask and project themselves authentically with power and presence; how to interpret the motivations and intentions of others.
I wanted to learn how to hover over the surface of every interaction and see it three dimensionally.
In the three months following the workshop, we had retained 29 of the thirty new-hires.
One woman lost 25 pounds; a man repaired his marriage; someone else quit smoking.
And, yes, they sold our small business solutions like freaking hot cakes—to the tune of three times the national veteran average. This was unusual.
Veterans should have a significant advantage over rookies—after all, they know what they’re doing and have an established book of business.
I ran another workshop. And another.
And the ratios proved out: Graduates of the communications workshop fared 300 percent better than non-graduates. Word got out.
The Human Resources department feared I was running a cult, so they came down to investigate. Upon completion of the course, they recommended the entire organization attend.
And so it was.
I ran 37 more workshops from coast to coast. Eventually, the stock price of the company would
climb to over $100.
Still, the question you may be asking is: What did I learn from this experience that you can apply
to your life today?
Let’s be clear: I wasn’t abused. People were in fact quite kind to me.
They just weren’t about to follow the lead of someone whose body was instructing them not to.
As it turns out, countless Attraction Infractions were going on beneath the surface, killing my chances before they even started.