…That have kept me on track for over 30 years
It was September 1973 and I was a junior in high school. From 1954-1994, my high school only had two principals and Frank Tracy took over in the fall of 1973. He wanted to leave his mark early on. It was a hot September afternoon when we had his first assembly in the gym.
My high school graduating class had 751 students and the classes before us and after us had about the same. This meant that in this assembly we had over 2,300 people including teachers, administrators, and staff in the gym this hot September afternoon.
As Mr. Tracy began to speak, I noticed he was speaking to the students and not at the students. Somewhere in his speech he paused and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to share with you the secret to success. The secret to success is really quite simple and it comes in just 10 little words. Like the Gettysburg address delivered by President Lincoln in 1863, these are all simple words. In fact, each word has just one syllable and two letters. It is when you string these 10 little words in this particular order that they become the secret to your success. I don’t mean just your success at High Point High School; I mean your success throughout life.”
Now let’s be clear, I was a junior boy in high school, so was I really listening to what he’s saying? What was more important? Girls, cars, sports, and food were way more important and, depending on the day of the week and time of day, would actually determine what was more important at any given time.
The fact is, I am not sure whether I remember this from the fall of 1973 or if it was at the graduation for the class of 1974. Or maybe in the fall of 1974 (my Senior year) when he had the same assembly. Maybe it was at my graduation or at the graduation for the class of 1976. In fact, even after I graduated, many of my friends’ younger siblings heard the same words. Several years later, as I became the director of youth activities at my church, many of those kids were graduating from High Point and subsequently heard the words. I then heard them again at their graduations.
I did not realize I was actually living the words until almost 20 years after I graduated from high school. Somewhere along the line I realized I had never had a job where I relied on a salary to pay my bills. Every job in my adult life has either been 100% commission or my own company. As a manager, I received a small salary with the bulk of my income coming from the production of others on the team.
After I came to this realization, I began to practice living the words on a regular basis. I even purchased a card with 10 little words on the card and sent it to Mr. Tracy.
High Point High School is located in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC, and I have had the pleasure of speaking there on a regular basis. In a few of my workshops, I have had High Point graduates in the class and as I begin this story they look at their neighbor in the class and say, “I know the words”. That is the impact that Mr. Tracy had on everyone he met.
At the opening day for the 1999 Baltimore Orioles baseball season, I was walking and noticed a man coming towards me. As I looked closer, I realized it was Mr. Tracy. I stopped him and said, “Good morning, Mr. Tracy. How are you?” He responded, “Good morning, Mr. Gregory. I am wonderful and how are you?” It was almost 24 years since I had graduated and he still remembered my name.
I can truly say that these 10 little words have been my personal focus on my life, both personal as well as professional. I guess you could say they have been the track I have been running on for years and I would like to continue the Frank Tracy tradition and share them with you now. Please write them down and read them every day in the morning before you begin your day. Remember there are just two letters for each word.
IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME
It is not up to your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your aunt or uncle, your cousin, your friends, your company, your boss, or even your co-worker. It is up to you and only you.
Copyright © 2011, Gregg Gregory & Teams Rock. First published October 18, 2011.
A diverse, twenty-year background in real estate, mortgage banking, event planning, and production, as well as radio and television broadcasting, created a perfect storm that put Gregg Gregory where he is today. Gregg works hard to ensure that different personalities can work together successfully to accomplish your organization’s mission, goals, and objectives.
For more information, visit Gregg’s website at www.teamsrock.com.
Image courtesy of Eric E Castro