Joining ForcesMar 20, 2014
An Excerpt From Lessons From My Brother Zig By Floyd Wickman and Mary Johnson
Sports teams know that playing on the home field increases their odds of winning. Research proves them right – they do win more often when they play at home. Professional baseball teams win between 53% and 55% of home games. In football, 60% of the games played at the home stadium are won.
It’s easy to distinguish the home team. The roar of the crowd feeds energy to the players. Physiologically, that energy creates endorphins so that the players play better, harder and faster. The Minnesota Vikings often call the fans the “tenth man on the field” because the noise in the stadium makes such a powerful impact on the game. They have “home court advantage” - and an opportunity to be their best in front of people that care about them and urge them on.
What does this have to do with you? That the home court advantage can be developed in your personal life is one of the most important revelations that I ever had. And whether you choose to do so is completely up to you.
If you have ever heard Zig Ziglar speak or read his books, you would know that he never makes an appearance without mentioning his wife, Jean, “The Redhead.” He frequently refers to his family and how proud he is of each of his children. One of his most powerful messages is that to succeed, it is essential to have the “home court advantage.” He is passionate about it.
In my desire to emulate my mentor, Zig, I have said something positive about my wife, Linda, during every speech I have given for many years. His example guided me and has paid big dividends. I always let my audiences know that I am in love with my wife. Those in good relationships identify with me and come to tell me how lucky I am; those in difficult relationships seek advice; those who have heard me before ask after Linda’s health – drawing them into a more personal relationship with me. I have tried to demonstrate faithfulness to my marriage from the platform, and to model values and behavior that are counter-cultural in these times. I hope to inspire those who have chosen a permanent partner to fight against the social mores espoused by the tabloids, soap operas and popular television shows that imply faithfulness is the exception, rather than the rule. I want the people in my audiences to strive toward healthy, stable relationships.
My parents surely didn’t teach me how to have a happy marriage. My father worked hard and when he came home he wanted dinner, a beer, and a ballgame. My mother suffered from depression. There wasn’t a month that went by during my childhood that she didn’t threaten to either leave or to kill herself. I don’t remember them going out together, or in any way working on their relationship. In fact, my parents were deeply unhappy most of their lives and their marriage was a reflection of that state of mind. Not exactly fertile ground for a boy to learn how to build a satisfying, solid, life-long relationship.
Do you believe in love at first sight? From the moment we met at age 17, I fell head-over-heels in love with Linda. She was perfect. Before too long though, the pressures of raising three children, trying to live with the uncertainty of commission income, and my erratic hours were taking their toll. It looked like we were doomed to live apart or in the same kind of joylessness my parents endured.
I was working fourteen hour days, seven days a week, and earning almost nothing. When I arrived home, Linda was exhausted from fending off bill collectors, running the household, and caring for our children. She needed to know where the money was, and I couldn’t tell her when the next paycheck was coming in, or even if it was coming in. Our relationship deteriorated. I was committed to her and to our marriage, and I really believed that building a real estate career would pay off. Yet I felt as though I was in a pressure-cooker, both at the office and at home. Can you relate to that?
That’s when I invited her to dinner at a little restaurant down the road. Her mother watched the boys so we could be alone and talk. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant but it had great Italian food and was a special place for us. Before we arrived, I rehearsed what I would say. I would tell her I loved her. I would ask her to imagine our future together when the money started to come in. And I would give her an ultimatum. Sitting in that little restaurant, eating gnocchi, I told Linda that I was going to succeed. With her or without her. (I probably chose better words that night.) I asked for her support and explained exactly what I meant. I told her how much I needed her to encourage me and to trust that I was doing everything I could to earn a living. I asked her to come along with me – to the top, and I promised her that if she did she would see the financial benefits. And she agreed.
I look back at that evening as a turning point in our relationship. Everything began to change. Linda’s willingness to give me home court advantage made all the difference in the world.
My job titles changed over the years, but the one constant has been having my wife in my corner. I never take her for granted. When I am on the road I call home every night to say good night. If I expect to be traveling for an extended period of time, I ask for her approval before finalizing my plans. Last summer we were remembering those early days and she said, “All I ever wanted was for him to be happy.” The big change was in me – and my ability to communicate the kind of support I needed from her. Once she knew how much her encouragement meant to our future, she became a willing partner. Together, we built a foundation that has grown ever stronger through the years.
Read more powerful lessons from Floyd and Mary’s book Lessons From My Brother Zig today. And if you want to learn more about staying in control in your market? Contact a Floyd Wickman Program Trainer today at 1-800-910-5351 and join us on our Team Facebook Page for daily inspiration!
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