The 333 Story

The 333 Story

From Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition

The 333 Story

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

~Norman Vincent Peale

I was doing a weekend seminar at the Deerhurst Lodge, north of Toronto. On Friday night a tornado swept through a town north of us called Barrie, killing several people and doing millions of dollars worth of damage. Sunday night, as I was coming home, I stopped the car when I got to Barrie. I got out on the side of the highway and looked around. It was a mess. Everywhere I looked there were smashed houses and cars turned upside down.

That same night Bob Templeton was driving down the same highway. He stopped to look at the disaster just as I had, only his thoughts were different than my own. Bob was the vice president of Telemedia Communications, which owns a string of radio stations in Ontario and Quebec. He thought there must be something he could do for those people with the radio stations his company had.

The following night I was doing another seminar in Toronto. Bob Templeton and Bob Johnson, another vice president from Telemedia, came in and stood in the back of the room. They shared their conviction that there had to be something they could do for the people in Barrie. After the seminar we went back to Bob’s office. He was now committed to the idea of helping the people who had been caught in the tornado.

The following Friday he called all the executives at Telemedia

into his office. At the top of a flip chart he wrote three 3s. He said to his executives “How would you like to raise 3 million dollars 3 days from now in just 3 hours and give the money to the people in Barrie?” There was nothing but silence in the room.

Finally someone said, “Templeton, you’re crazy. There is no way we could do that.”

Bob said, “Wait a minute. I didn’t ask you if we could or even if we should. I just asked you if you’d like to.”

They all said, “Sure, we’d like to.” He then drew a large T underneath the 333. On one side he wrote, “Why we can’t.” On the other side he wrote, “How we can.”

“I’m going to put a big X on the ‘Why we can’t side.’ We’re not going to spend any time on the ideas of why we can’t. That’s of no value. On the other side we’re going to write down every idea that we can come up with on how we can. We’re not going to leave the room until we figure it out.” There was silence again.

Finally, someone said, “We could do a radio show across Canada.”

Bob said, “That’s a great idea,” and wrote it down.

Before he had it written, someone said, “You can’t do a radio show across Canada. We don’t have radio stations across Canada.” That was a pretty valid objection. They only had stations in Ontario and Quebec.

Templeton replied, “That’s why we can. That stays.” But this was a really strong objection because radio stations are very competitive. They usually don’t work together and to get them to do so would be virtually impossible according to the standard way of thinking.

All of a sudden someone suggested, “You could get Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson, the biggest names in Canadian broadcasting, to anchor the show.” (That would be like getting Tom Brokaw and Sam Donaldson to anchor the show. They are anchors on national TV. They are not going to go on radio.) At that point it was absolutely amazing how fast and furious the creative ideas began to flow.

That was on a Friday. The following Tuesday they had a radiothon. They had 50 radio stations all across the country that agreed to broadcast it. It didn’t matter who got the credit as long as the people in Barrie got the money. Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson anchored the show and they succeeded in raising 3 million dollars in 3 hours within 3 business days!

You see you can do anything if you put your focus on how to do it rather than on why you can’t.

~Bob Proctor

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