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Have You Paid Your Dues?

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I had dinner last night with a friend who told me a story about his snow blower. OK, so the snow blower story wasn’t that exciting so won’t go into it. Although, in the middle of the snow blower story, the Penn State vs Pitt wrestling match came on the big screen in the restaurant which caused him to light up and launched him into another story, and another and another.

John is a former wrestler. He loves wrestling. He has coached and continues to travel all over the northeast United States to tournaments and knows everybody in the sport, or so it seems to me. He is a former two-time WPIAL Wrestling Champion, a one-time PIAA Champion and continued on to wrestle for Pitt. But prior all of that, John spent four years wrestling without winning a single match. How does a winless athlete become a champion? Hold that thought.

What organizations do you belong to? Are you a member of Rotary, your local chamber, BNI or another networking group, SMC Business Councils? If so, you have paid a membership fee and now you are a member. One of the benefits of being a member is that other members find out your name, research your business, drive to your location and write you a check….NOT!

Getting something out of an organization without putting something into it is like somebody joining a wrestling team and expecting to become a champion without putting forth the effort. Let me jump back to John for a little bit.

“No way did you go winless for two year!” is said to John, because I’ve seen the championship photos and trophies and medals. “What happened?” John continued to tell me that he, like a lot of wrestlers, athletes, and business people didn’t understand his potential, didn’t think it was achievable, and, as a result,  didn’t care enough to put in the proper effort. Then one day, he won his first match and a light went on in his head. He said to himself “hey, I can do this!” He started lifting weights, working out, and working harder at practice. He started winning. He said “I can do this, and I’m pretty good at this.” He started expecting to win and worked even harder and before long he said “I can do this better than anybody else!”. And then he did.

What kind of effort are you putting in to your organization? Do you show up for meetings? Do you attend networking functions? Do you join any committees? Do you attend any training? Do you review the members-only benefits to see how they can benefit you?

Be a Champion of your organization. Become involved, meet some people, get some wins. Pretty soon you may learn that you can do this better than anyone. You may learn that you cannot afford to NOT be member!

As for John? After his wrestling days, he was selling for a window and door company when his dad told him that he should become an entrepreneur and start his own window and door business. He told his dad that it was too hard and too much work. His dad looked at him and said “John, you’ve never failed at anything you put your mind to. What makes you think you’ll start now?” John went to the entrepreneurial mat and began to pay his dues. He has owned his company for over twenty-five years. I met him 16 years ago when he sold me windows and we became friends. For several years he told me “Dan, you can do this, and you can do this better than anyone.” I finally listened. He taught me to pay my dues.

So you want to become a Champion? Once you pay your membership fee, think about paying your dues.

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