Find The Liquid Fire In You
I started my consulting business, Luce Performance Group, in the summer of 1999. My venture began with a vision of coaching media reps to become the best that they could be in their field. As with any career change, I was taking a risk in starting over. Before I set off on my new career, I decided to visit my parents in Lincoln, Nebraska.
While I was in Lincoln, I went out for my usual morning run. I also purchased my daily cup of coffee before I ran. As I got in the car, I took a drink of the coffee. It burned my tongue like the space shuttle coming back into the atmosphere without a heat shield! My instant response was to drop the coffee in my lap. The coffee hit my left thigh first. It then went between my legs and into my groin area. My head literally hit the ceiling of the car. My mom attempted some home remedies, but I soon headed for the emergency room.
I received a quick diagnosis and was scheduled for immediate surgery to mend second- and third-degree burns. The third-degree burns would require a skin graft. The fortunate part of this story is that I was in one of the top burn centers in the United States. I was a patient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and under the care of Dr. Chet Paul, a 40-year veteran of burn surgeries. I sensed that I had a good team, but I was unaware of the scope of my recovery.
Describing rehabilitation from skin graft surgery defies explanation. To complicate matters, my graft was located in an area where skin tissue is at a minimum. A few days before the accident, I had been eagerly awaiting the start of my speaking tour and new business. I was now sitting in the hospital painfully starring at a two-month recovery. My speaking partner pulled out and left me to start alone. Cancelling the tour looked more and more like a reality. In an instant, I faced the possibility of never getting out of the gate with my new company. Before I could contemplate my future, I had to deal with my present state, and it was not looking pretty. Welcome to the world of "You Better Have a Great Attitude or Your Ship is Sunk!"
After a four-week recovery in Lincoln, I was ready to travel to my home in Houston for another long month of rehabilitation. Before I departed, I went to the hospital to thank Dr. Paul. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. After expressing my gratitude to Dr. Paul, I went on to ask him about the most difficult burn situation that he had ever encountered. I became instantly spellbound as Dr. Paul recalled the incident. While he was an intern in the early 1960s, Dr. Paul said two men came into the hospital with almost identical burns over 70 percent of their body. The only method of disinfecting burn victims at that time was to place them in tubs of Clorox. Dr. Paul called it "liquid fire."
The two men were treated in separate bathtubs of Clorox, but they entered at the same time. Dr. Paul recounted that the one fellow looked at the other while in the "liquid fire" and told him, "This isn't worth it. I'm checking out." He told me the other man said, "This is worth it, and I'm going to make it." According to Dr. Paul, the man who lived went on to have a family and a successful career in sales. Dr. Paul said the only thing that will keep a patient alive with burns over 50 percent of their body is attitude. My conversation that day with Dr. Paul changed my attitude about my recovery and my business. I decided, “This is definitely worth it!"
At Luce Performance Group, we present awards each year to people that I work with who excel in various areas of sales and management. We created the Liquid Fire Award to honor the “comeback” sales rep of the year. It is named after the burn victim who survived the tub of Clorox and went on to lead a productive life. I presented the first LPG Liquid Fire Award to Christine De Alba in 2010 for her remarkable cancer survival story along with her successful return to media sales at Castanet.net.
I recently presented Christy Watkins of the Ozark Horse Trader in West Plains, Missouri with the 2012 LPG Liquid Fire Award.
Christy is a young mother who was diagnosed last November with ovarian cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, Christy was also helping her husband recuperate from a serious automobile accident. While undergoing chemotherapy, she was diagnosed with a rare bone disease unrelated to her cancer. Christy has been a valuable part of the Horse Trader sales team, not to mention having one of the best attitudes of all time. Christy’s always positive outlook would pull her through some very difficult times this past year. Christy has remained upbeat throughout her ordeal. She reminds me of the man in the Clorox tub who said, “This is worth it." I am happy to report that Christy is currently in remission and has returned to work part time for the Horse Trader.
On all Luce Performance Group awards, we inscribe the LPG Battle Banner which states, “Fast as the wind. Quiet as a forest. Aggressive as fire and immovable as a mountain.” There is no substitute for a positive attitude whether battling cancer or dealing with a difficult client. Attitude is the one thing that will keep you in the game of life. Luce Performance Group congratulates Christy Watkins on receiving the 2012 LPG Liquid Fire Award!
Sean Luce is the head international instructor for Luce Performance Group and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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