Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. ~ Muhammad Ali

A common question posed to young people is, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” Decades ago that was a valid question. Today’s marketplace technology is changing all the rules. Other factors conspire; and before we know it, a giant segment of industry is carved out, never to be replaced.

The question, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” has become more complicated. The average teenager today may have to change careers up to four times before he or she retires. That’s one of the reasons why it is important to embrace the personal and business reinvention concept.

Remember those long-playing (LP) albums? The record industry had billions of dollars invested in the manufacturing, packaging, and marketing of 45s and LPs. Except for an occasional yard sale, they are currently hard to find. Why? Because a little thing called digital technology came along and changed everything. The folks invested in the 12-inch records had to reinvent themselves—almost overnight—with the introduction of the CD and digital technology. If you were born before 1960, you probably got a bit cranky the first time you had to purchase a CD player. But now you wouldn’t dream of going back to the old technology. Your perspective about the way music is delivered has been reinvented.

A Personal Story

How have I been challenged in this area? Glad you asked. There have been times when the seminar side of things has virtually dried up for me. I have facilitated many seminars for government agencies in the Washington, DC region. The fiscal year of the American government runs from the beginning of October to the end of September. In recent years there has been what they call a “Continuing Resolution” (CR). This is government-speak. Our public servants on Capitol Hill can’t get their act together to fund the new budget for the government. So instead of shutting the government down, they allow the government to function until the new budget is approved, but nothing new is funded for months. A real morale booster! Seminar training is the last thing on their minds.

Sometimes I will have seminar events in the pipeline for nine months ahead. I know that the family bills are taken care of for that period of time. All of a sudden the phone will ring and an apologetic voice on the other end states, “Dr. Freeman, we’re sorry, but our plans have changed. We have cancelled the convention for November. We’ll keep you in our plans for next year’s
convention.”

And then, as if a conspiracy has been triggered, the phone will ring more times that same week with similar messages for three or four other high-paying events. All of a sudden, the smug smile is wiped off my face, and I have to start thinking what can be done to refill the pipeline and create more business.

It’s during these times that new ideas emerge. Mind you, when things are rolling along, I am quite comfortable. Is that true for you? I tend to take my hand off The Freeman Institute® throttle. My creativity tends to flow into my non-profit adventures. It isn’t until I am in tough times that my creative juices start fl owing back toward The Freeman Institute®. I guess there is a side benefi t to dry times—it keeps me on my toes.

Critical Incident Debriefings

Let me give you an example. One dry season hit a few years ago and I wasn’t sure what to do. One morning I received a call from a human resources executive representing a physician referral company. He asked me if I had a customized process developed for Anger Management that could be used for one of their doctors.