"The Long Walk Home"

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The Long Walk Home
by Joe Bonura, CSP


Step By Step

What is the longest walk you have ever taken? I walked from Louisville, Kentucky to New Orleans, Louisiana, a distance of 730 miles. Well, I did not walk it in one fell swoop; I walked three miles a day for one year on a treadmill in the comfort of my home.

We Will Miss You, Bill

A speaker friend of mine passed away on March first. You may have heard of him: author Bill Irwin. Bill accomplished a major feat in 1990; he walked the legendary Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine for a total of 2,164 miles through eleven states.

It Is A Long, Long Way

To get a perspective on how far 2,164 miles is, I figured how far it would be to walk from Louisville, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California, the distance from my front door to the Pacific Ocean. I tallied 2,140 miles, and that was by way of the Interstate highway system. The Appalachian Trail is a rigorous trail through some of the most rugged terrain in the country.

It Is A Big Deal

Bill Irwin took about nine months to complete the journey, while it normally takes most people only six months. So, why such disparate journeys? Bill Irwin was blind, and he made the entire pilgrimage with his guide dog, Orient Express. That is courage: Bill made the journey without his sight. He recounts his walk in his book, "Blind Courage." (check it out on http://billirwin.com) It is an awesome read about overcoming life's challenges.

No Exaggeration

In the book, Bill admits having fallen over one thousand times. When I met him for the first time, I asked him if that was true, and he confessed that he had actually fallen closer to two thousand times, but he did not want to sound like he was exaggerating in the book. His wounds were many, from scrapes and bruises covering his entire body and even a broken rib. He persisted through every obstacle; he persevered until he completed his quest.

It Is Getting Up That Counts

Over the years, I have often thought of Bill when I was tempted to concede defeat because of some obstacle or setback. As Rocky said in the movie Rocky Balboa, "It is not getting knocked down in life that determines our success; it is the will to get up again and keep going." That is exactly what Bill Irwin proved, step by step, minute by minute, day by day, and month by month on the Appalachian Trail.

Falling Makes Us Stronger

Falling makes us stronger if we immediately get up after the fall. On my first day of selling, I tripped and fell during my sales call. As I was carrying a six foot stuffed Easter rabbit, I tripped, and the rabbit flew into the air and knocked over six garbage cans. The prospective client approached me and said, "Well, that it the best attention-getting step I have ever seen in selling." Forty years later, it became the title of my book, "Throw the Rabbit - The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling."

I decided not to remain on the floor, but to rise to action and complete the sale. The client received the rabbit for in-store promotions, and I walked away with a 13-week contract.

A Real Love Letter

Here is the note that I received from Bill's lovely wife Debra . . .

February 14, 1996 was the happiest day of my life when I married my very best forever friend. And yesterday March 1, 2014 at 6:35 am was the saddest day of my life as I said goodbye to the love of my life. I love you Bill Irwin and you will always have my heart. Through my tears and broken heart I rejoice because you're in the arms of our loving Jesus.

Keep Going Anyway

What obstacles are you facing today? You have a choice on how you react. Choose to get up every time you fall, and choose to keep going. Oh yes, you will feel bruised, battered, and beaten. Keep going anyway, so that when you get to the end of your trail, you will be able to celebrate and savor your well earned victory.

© 2014 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:



Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.bonura.com
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone

E-mail: joe@bonura.com

About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.




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