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What Ben Vereen Can Teach You About Business - Stamping Is My Business!

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July 23, 2012

What Ben Vereen Can Teach You About Business

John-ben-vereenThis weekend, I had the honor and pleasure of seeing a performance by a living legend, Ben Vereen.

If I had to count, I've probably been to over 100 Broadway, off-Broadway and cabaret shows in my life.  I can honestly say that Mr. Vereen's performance Friday evening was the best theater experience of my life.  I was, simply, blown away.

I also had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Vereen after the show.  As we spoke, it didn't take long to realize I was in the presence of someone who 'gets it.'  Someone who understands the gifts he was given, and doesn't take them for granted.  Someone who shows his thanks by leaving it all on the stage night after night... but still has the energy and graciousness to converse with friends, fans and colleagues after doing so.

During his performance, he told a story that reminded me of an important business lesson...

In 1992, you may remember, Ben Vereen was hit by a truck.


He had been in a car accident earlier that day.  Unbeknownst to him, he suffered a brain injury in that accident.  While walking home later that evening, he suffered a subsequent stroke and was struck by a truck.

As he described it, when he woke up in the hospital some days later, his leg was broken and in an apparatus. His head was in an apparatus. He suffered other broken bones and various injuries.  He had a tracheotomy and a colostomy bag.

Doctors told him that, due to the nature and severity of his injuries, he would never sing or dance again.  Just regaining the ability to walk would probably take about three years.

Mind-numbing, depressing news, to say the least.

A short time later, the late, great Gregory Hines visited Vereen in the hospital.

He told him one thing...

I'm opening a Broadway show and in ten months, you're in it.  Be ready.

And he was.

Ten months later, Ben Vereen danced onto the stage in the show, "Jelly's Last Jam."

So, how did he do it?  How did he resume his stage career singing and dancing in less than a year, when doctors told him he'd be lucky to walk in three?

Gregory Hines put something in front of Ben Vereen we all need if we want to succeed... a powerful "why!"

Imagine being in that hospital bed.  Hooked up to this and that.  Being told you'll never do what you love... what you were born to do... again.

The powerful 'why' Hines gave to Vereen... the thought of being back on stage, doing what he loves, was an incredible motivator.  An amazing incentive. 

By focusing on that objective, and backed up with the encouragement of thousands of letters from fans, Vereen worked harder than he ever worked before, didn't accept any excuses and committed to that powerful 'why.'

It's an inspiring story, and one we can all learn from.  A powerful 'why' will allow you to overcome just about any obstacle.  It will propel you past your fears and doubts.  It will open up a reservoir of energy you didn't know you had.  And it will get you to your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Spend some time determining your powerful 'why.'  You'll be glad you did.


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John - this is fabulous! Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks John. This is great. Passing it on to my DL.

Great story and timely reminder about keeping our focus on our 'why'. Thanks, John.

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