Gales Point village had no running water, no electricity, and no commercial activity.
At least, that’s how it was when I was growing up in the late 1960’s. Every Easter and every summer holiday, my mother would bulk up on supplies, pack her children up on the river-boat, and we’d chug along for the six-hour ride, 26 miles up the old Belize river. It took us through lush tropical rain-forest, teeming with exotic foliage, disturbing the peaceful symphony that veiled diverse wilderness wildlife.
The chug-chug of the little boat overloaded with sweaty, barefoot villagers, their week’s supplies, and people like my mother and her family who were only going to camp out in a cabin for the school holidays. It was an exciting time for a little 8 years old city-boy.
The passing boat would make a wave that ebbed, then flowed, then flooded the embankments. It so mesmerized me how that sequence kept up for miles, and the lilies had to bow to the wave, kiss the water, get inundated, then settle down again as they disappeared in the distance behind us; only the squawk of some noisy bird or other to tell the tale to the forest.
Priming the Pump
It was fun even when the boats took in too much water.
The villagers seemed rather nonchalant by this, but my mother was especially irritated by the fact that it happened every single time.
But it was fun for me. One day I got to work the pump. Mr. McDonald, the boat owner, was too busy tinkering with his engine, so when I started to work the lever, he just smiled and beamed at me.
But after 3 minutes he saw that I was serious, and no water was leaving the boat. The lever was light and easy but nothing happened no matter how fast I cranked it.
“Boy, you have to prime the pump.”
I’ll never forget those words. I don’t know why certain things never leave you no matter how insignificant it seemed at the time, and no matter how much time passes. Mr. McDonald took a rusting tin can set aside just for that purpose, scooped some water out of the river, and poured it into the top of the pump.
“There! Crank the thing now.”
I started pumping again and immediately noticed the difference. The old pump began coughing and I felt some pressure on the lever. He poured in the rest of the water and told me to pump faster. I did. Then just when my forehead beaded with sweat and I was getting out of breath, I felt full pressure on the lever, and oily water that had settled in the hull gushed out the pump and flowed back in the river to join the boat wave. The scowl disappeared from my mother’s face as she breathed and settled back in the wooden plank that formed her makeshift seat.
I think what struck my little 8-year old brain was how counter-intuitive it seemed. To get water out, you have to pour water in…. it just didn’t make much sense.
But it was the only thing that worked… time and time again.
The Marketer’s Mindset for Success
Every time I’ve had to try something difficult, I’ve remembered that lesson from those days back in Central America in the 60’s. Every time I’d win.
Prime the pump. It’s a mindset for success every target marketer needs.
- You’ll need it every time you second-guess yourself about the money you’re spending. Remember that course you think will help you build the skills that will take you one step closer to getting it all together for yourself and your family? If you’ve given it some thought and checked out the benefits carefully, you’re not just spending money, you’re investing in your business. You’re priming the pump.
- You’ll need it every time you consider quitting because you’ve been working your tail off, creating awesome content, and doing it consistently. You’re not wasting your time. The sweat on your brow is not in vain. You’ve primed the pump, but that water doesn’t gush out just yet. Keep going. You’re in this for the long haul. That’s just the way it works.
- But you’ll also need it when you realize that you can’t just keep creating content and expect traffic to show up miraculously. You have to prime your pump by putting even better content in front of bigger audiences. That’s what guest-blogging is all about. It’s the water you pour in even as you keep cranking the leaver on your own blog. You didn’t buy into the “it’s going to be easy” spiel, now did you?
- You’ll need it when your efforts actually start to bear fruit, and you see some cash-flow. It’s gratifying, but it takes a little while to get used to how much more pressure you’re suddenly under. It’s not a frantic pace any more, but it does take a harder push to get others to start succeeding… just as it takes when the pump starts to flow. The pressure you feel today will feel like nothing as you get better at motivating others. Flex those muscles. That’s the stuff that leadership is made of. Put your back into it!
The Big Picture
A long time ago, our societies moved away from community. We all ran to the cities in search of work, and it changed many things for the better, but it also changed the deep sense of connectedness that humans need to really prosper.
It may seem a bit strange, but I believe the technology we are using has begun to make time and space less of a big deal. I like the feeling of community it returns to us. It’s different and new, but somehow it reminds me of those days when the plain-talking villager sitting next to me never knew me, but had the right to treat me as one of his own.
Some of us are focused on local markets because of what we do. Others are more global, but it’s essentially the same message! I’m excited about that. Who would have thought? Modern technology is bringing back values and feelings that are so old-school, many of your parents never fully experienced them.
You get the picture, don’t you? We’re all in this together… an online community of target marketers at different stages of growth. It’s important to understand that you’re involved with something far bigger than yourself, but the role you play is important. In a very real sense, you empower the following you bring with you in ways that the biggest brands never did in the past. You give them a voice, and you connect them with a wider network of real people they can learn, grow and change with. It’s an exciting time.
Come! Share with the community. In what ways are YOU priming your pump as you go about your business?