Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Weldon Long. He was the keynote speaker at the Radiant Professionals Alliance’s first annual meeting during the Mechanical Systems Week Conference.
Weldon is known for turning his life around and becoming a successful HVAC salesman, motivational speaker and author of books, including “The Upside of Fear.” His book has won awards and was also endorsed by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and Tony Robbins, author and motivational speaker.
During his keynote, Weldon told RPA members about spending more than a decade of his life in prisons and halfway houses. In 1996, while in jail, he received news that his father died. This event was life altering for Weldon. From that moment forward, he decided to make a change. After contemplating what led him down a path of crime, he had some realizations (you will have to read the book to find out the details), and came up with the four steps that would turn his life around. (These same steps can also be applied to running a business.)
First, Weldon realized that fear had been the reason for where he was and all the failures in his life.
Weldon writes in his book, “For years I had feared going to prison, I had feared living in poverty, and I had feared about not being a father to my son. I was beginning to see a pattern … Because of my fear I had wasted my life with crimes and booze and drugs, and I was now facing a minimum of several years in prison, I was penniless and homeless, I was a high school dropout, I was a three-time loser, and the prospects for my future looked bleak. But I decided to make my future brighter than my past. I decided to completely transform my life into something that I could be proud of. I knew it was the longest of long shots, but I had nothing to lose.”
Once Weldon realized his fearful thoughts and understood that he needed to change his thought processes, he developed a plan. By using the word “fear” as an acronym, he decided he would focus on what he wanted his life to be; make an emotional commitment to the things he wanted in his life; take consistent action towards the things he wanted in his life; and take complete responsibility for working toward achieving those things.
I just finished reading Weldon’s book, so I know that everything he wanted in his life did not magically appear out of nowhere. Every day, he worked on focusing, making a commitment, taking consistent action and taking responsibility for himself. Just as a professional athlete workouts on a daily basis, both physically and mentally, Weldon focused and worked on these four steps every single day.
Side note: To read about the physical and mental training an athlete goes through, check out these articles about Olympic athletes: “Lolo’s No Choke,” “China's Gold Standard,” and “Who is the Fittest Olympic Athlete of Them All?” You will see how athletes not only train themselves physically, but also mentally.
“I never gave up on the new life I had created in my mind," Weldon writes. "Failure and surrender were no longer options for me … I came to believe that I was completely responsible for the process of changing myself. I could not control people and things around me, so taking responsibility meant no whining and no excuses.”
How did Weldon overcome setbacks? What did he do when he had doubts? Why did he end up in jail in the first place, and how did he end up a successful CEO of an HVAC business? You will have to read his book to find out all the answers.
Even if you were at the RPA meeting and heard his keynote address, I recommend you pick up a copy of his book. It’s an inspirational true-life story that you will enjoy. You may even decide to apply Weldon’s four steps to your own life or your business. There are bound to be some golden nuggets you can take away from his story to live a prosperous life and run a successful business.
Click here to learn more about Weldon Long.