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Often, leading takes a leap of faith

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Mike Kelley lives on the island paradise of Maui, where he headed after only a year of college on the mainland. He started by selling tanning lotion by the pool. Now, he owns several companies that provide recreation for tourists, as well as business and concierge services for hotels.

Kelley’s story proves that, to lead, you often have to take a leap of faith.

Here’s how it happened:

When he was first trying to expand his business, Kelley wanted an important hotel as a client, but a competitor had held the contract for more than 15 years. One day, Kelley read in a trade journal that the hotel would change general managers.

Kelley reflected on how hard it would be to get through to the new manager once he arrived, so it would be better to contact him before he moved to Maui from Copper Mountain, Colo. But how? Should he write a letter? Call?

Instead, Kelley threw together a business proposal and jumped on a plane the next night. Once in Colorado, he drove two hours, arriving unannounced at the general manager’s office. He introduced himself, congratulated the fellow on his move up, said he looked forward to having him in Maui and asked if he could take a few minutes to pitch his services.

Kelley didn’t get the contract right there, but his enthusiasm and the self-confidence he showed by flying several thousand miles on the chance of meeting a potential client left such an impression that when the manager did arrive in Hawaii, Kelley nailed the deal. Over the 15 years since then, it’s been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to his bottom line.

— Adapted from The Success Principles, Jack Canfield, HarperResource.

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