Ron Alford: Learning to be a man

Ron Alford's Southwestern Advantage Review

25 years ago this month, I made a choice that changed everything.

June of 1994, I was about to spend another summer landscaping & partying, free golf at the course we were working, Mariners games most every day with my best buddy, Jason Bunge, pictured with me, and just a perfect season in the Pacific Northwest.
A buddy then called me and said ‘hey, you need to come sell books door to door for the summer, man. 80+ hours per week on straight commission and leaving home to work in a random part of the US, so less distractions.’
Wow.
It scared me to death – I had never sold a thing in my life.
I was torn!
I knew I had been too comfortable and needed to do something that scared me… However, this sounded like the worst summer job on the face of the earth. It was!
I told Bunge about it and of course, being the friend he was, he was IN and was coming with me! We were about to ROAD TRIP to Nashville 5 days later for an intense week of “sales school” and then head to Texas to sweat all summer knocking on doors.

I wanted to quit every day that summer.
More than anything I had ever wanted.
I didn’t.

It was the most intense love/hate experience I had ever had.
Literally the highest highs and the lowest lows.
The rejection and loneliness were unbearable at times, feelings of guilt from being constantly “off schedule”, I feared I was going to let my parents down, make no money, and waste a summer.

Yet, I was truly learning to be a man. How to manage my emotions. What true self discipline, acceptance and unconditional confidence looked like. Perseverance, resilience and true grit. Not just the kind written about in books or classrooms but 14+ hours per day of practicing it. I hated it. And I needed it.
Constantly humbling, constantly growing.

I could write a book on just that first summer.

The rest is history.

Summer after summer – living this out and learning to build organizations of students from campuses all over the west coast to lead on the excursions. Going through this WITH them. Friendships that are lifelong and so strong because of what we went through together.
Payed 100% of private college tuition from those summers with plenty left over to travel all Fall.
The $ has come and gone, but the rest will live with me forever.
Delivery weeks, sizzler trips, bookmares, deep conversations, Sunday meetings in Central Park NYC and Time Square and random tiny parks in rural random states all over the US. Unreal to look back on!

Tens of thousands of doors. Thousands of customers. The most incredible families I got to sit with and will never forget.
It all shaped me.
This will all live into my 3 kids, – and their kids – the principles, the character traits, the way we treat people and control what we can, while accepting what we must.

It was never about selling books.
It was about who we were becoming through the process and the lives we were changing.

25 years later, still with Southwestern Family of Companies and more locked in and appreciative than ever.
I now get to bring these principles to the real world and every industry and company on earth via coaching & speaking with Southwestern Consulting.

Just getting started and more grateful than ever!!

Most important, deepest thanks to all who have played a role in this journey. I am who I am because of you.
Excited for the unwritten chapters ahead ….

Southwestern AdvantageRon Alford: Learning to be a man

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