Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Can just about anyone become a success? David Patrick Wilson, actor, writer, director, producer, veteran of 40 years in the entertainment field says, “Yes!”

At a recent talk at the Orange County [NY] Business Accelerator, Wilson, head of Willy-Gilly Productions of Goshen, NY, outlined his views. He presented tools that anyone can use, that daily exercise will strengthen, that -- if done -- will always succeed. Of course, one must do the work.

One key to success is to master communication. The first requirement is committed speaking, you must know what you’re talking about, know it cold. To engage your audience, you must also practice clear listening, you must be wholly present and attentive. You must observe carefully to get feedback on how well you are making yourself understood. When you get a response, you must control your own reaction, waiting to be sure things are as they seem. Finally, to take advantage of the interaction, you must undertake critical planning, decide on at least one step that you going to take in order to advance, and do it.

Highly successful investor Warren Buffett once said, “Every day I do one thing to move my project forward.” Chicago industrialist Clement Stone’s motto was, “Do it now.”

Wilson shared with the audience the detailed career-planning outline that he used over 20 years ago, that has indeed shaped his career to the point where he realized that he had achieved his plan and needed to write another one.

Wilson’s career plan had the following components: under the heading “Career” were: field of endeavor, annual earnings, residences, and other interests. Each of these had subdivisions as well. Under the heading “Family,” he listed: spouse or soul/mate, children, and other family members. Under “Spiritual pursuits,” he listed: practices and specific programs.

When Wilson’s son was in his late teens, Wilson had him fill out a career plan. It was stashed away somewhere in their kitchen and ignored for almost 20 years. When, roughly 20 years later, Wilson and his son discussed his son’s career trajectory, having unearthed the original plan, they were fascinated to note that although there had been many diversions, the son had ended up pretty much where he had hoped to be at the end of his initial 20-year plan. Somehow, on some level, making that plan had shaped his future, too.

Wilson noted that a crucial element in success is integrity. “Integrity” is derived from a root word that means “whole” or “being in order” or “standing alone.” Integrity requires self-honesty. When Wilson had a brief stint as a telemarketer, he outsold a roomful of fellow marketers by paying close attention to and being in harmony with the response that he got from the people whom he called.

Exercises that you can do to enhance your probability of achieving your goals include careful listening, clearing your mental space of distractions, observing carefully with all your senses, repeating your goals to yourself, planning your work and then working your plan.

Our thoughts shape our speech; our speech can be transformed into writing and into action. Over time, you become who you say you are, if you hold yourself to your commitments. It is been said, “Before you have, you must become.”

In summing up, Wilson recommended that daily you carry out each of the following one-minute exercises: listening intently, clearing the mind by going into the eye of your mental storm, observing your environment, repeating precisely to yourself what others say, writing down one thing to do that fits in with the picture you have of your future, and then doing at least that one thing.

Soon after Wilson’s talk, I gave Wilson’s career plan outline to my already-terrific thirty-year-old son, who is mulling over some career decisions. It should help.


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