The Key to Success: The Golden Rule in Life and Business

by John Zajaros on August 27, 2010

Online and Offline Business Success is About One Thing

The Client!

Zig Ziglar was one of the first real sales trainers and motivational speakers I heard speak live…and it transformed my thinking and my life!

Zig Ziglar said something all those years ago that has stayed with me throughout my business life and has been the basis of every entrepreneurial endeavor:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

I’ve always thought of it as pushing others up. I’ve heard other describe it as pushing people forward.

Regardless of how you phrase it, one thing is certain, if you push enough other people up, you can’t help but ascend the ladder along with them. In fact, if you help others succeed, they will generally bend over backwards to make sure you do too.

Some of the skeptics out there may disagree with that last statement…but I have found it to be true over and over again.

People are wonderful!

And, like you and I, all most people want is a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

If someone owns a business, they want to make sure their family, friends, and employees are taken care of and that they have built up a successful enough business to either sell it when the time is right, thus providing for themselves and their loved ones; or, they want to pass it along to the kids, other relatives, and/or loyal employees when the time comes.

The Life Lesson My Grandfather Taught Me

My grandfather was an incredible force in my life, an example of the type of person I have just described and have always aspired to become!

In the early 1980s, Chevrolet decided they were no longer going to have what they call a point, that means a dealership presence in a given area, in downtown Detroit. Detroit had weathered the riots a few years before and GM was moving most of its dealerships to the suburbs.

So, after almost 50 years in business my grandfather was closing his doors. Trumbull Chevrolet was the first dealership in downtown Detroit and an institution for decades. They were a casualty of the times; and, of urban blight and suburban flight.

The thing that amazed me, and has stayed with me for the last 28 years, not unlike the Zig Ziglar quote above, was that prior to closing his doors, my grandfather made sure every person working for him had a job.

That’s right!

In the midst of the worst economy since The Great Depression, my grandfather got 73 of his 74 employees jobs before he closed his doors once and for all.

The 74th person was the real lesson!

The 74th person was a man I knew only as “Little Joe.”

Little Joe had started with my grandfather many years before. By the 1980s, Little Joe was too old and too well-paid for him to be placed anywhere. Consequently, Little Joe was the one person my grandfather couldn’t find adequate employment for. In corporate America, Little Joe would have been out of luck!

Not so with my grandfather!

My grandfather, having no other option that would sit well with who he was as a man who loved and cared for his employees, hired Little Joe to help my grandmother around the house, drive her to the store, basically help her with whatever she needed help with.

Joe was probably the highest paid helper/companion in Detroit at the time. My grandmother was showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease and needed a companion more than anything. Little Joe needed a job.

It was a marriage (or a job) made in heaven!

Little Joe could barely help himself most days, but that didn’t matter, my grandfather was faithful to Little Joe and Little Joe loved my grandfather and my grandmother.

A Business and a Life Lesson Learned from the Detroit Riots

In fact, during the 1968 Detroit riots, my grandfather’s dealership, a block away from Tiger (Briggs) Stadium in downtown Detroit, was not touched. During that entire summer of upheaval and rioting? Not a window was broken not a single car was vandalized.

While National Guard tanks rolled up and down the city streets and into the suburbs, Little Joe sat with my grandfather, so he would be safe…and they protected “the store,” together.

My grandfather came to find out later that many of his employees, people who lived in the neighborhood, had more or less let it be known that Trumbull Chevrolet was not to be touched. My grandfather had made it a point to hire his neighbors, and his employees became his second family.

When he needed them, his second family took care of him…and their business.

So, while Detroit burned, my grandfather and Little Joe sat and watched from the dealership’s showroom windows. And his employees, who also loved him, made sure he was OK and that the dealership, and the office building that had held the Detroit Lions offices, also owned by my grandfather, were not touched.

He had made it his mission to help the people of Detroit and they returned the favor…and then some.

Like I said, people are wonderful!

People deserve to be treated with integrity and honesty. If you treat people according to the way you want to be treated and help them get what they want…you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

And, you’ll be able to sleep at night!

In sales and marketing, and particularly in Internet marketing, I see things that, even after all these years in sales and marketing, I do not understand. Seth Godin says much of it has to do with Little Lies…or at least that’s how it begins.

I agree!

But I also believe it speaks to who we are as individuals!

It is so easy to succeed in business, any business, if you help enough other people get what they want. Forget about the shortcuts, forget about the “fast and easy,” and forget about the secrets to success.

There is only one secret to success:

The Golden Rule!

Who among us wouldn’t help someone who has helped us get to where we want to be in life? Who wouldn’t treat us as we wish to be treated…if we’ve treated them well?

It’s about pushing people up!

The “secret to success”? Push enough people up or forward and treat them as you would like to be treated.

It really is that simple!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

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