This is a poignant question, but one that we honestly need to answer for ourselves. If you don’t believe that your message, training methodology, or product is worthy of truly benefiting others then you can’t expect to have positive lasting results. Let me illustrate this point with a story that I came across a few weeks ago while catching up on some professional reading.
A defense attorney was arguing a case for his client, who was charged with murder. Despite the fact that the victim’s body was never discovered, the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming, and everyone in the courtroom, including the jurors, knew that the defendant was guilty. The clever defense lawyer decided to go for broke. As he addressed the jury in his closing argument, he pointed toward the courtroom doors and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, in exactly 60 seconds, the so-called corpse, the man you believe is dead, is going to come walking into this courtroom, right through those very doors. We can begin counting now.”
Immediately, the eyes of all the jurors went to the door.
The time ticked by: 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 45 seconds, 56, 57, 58, 59 seconds—and finally one minute. And at exactly the one minute mark, wouldn’t you know it, but who should come striding in through those doors?
Absolutely no one. Certainly not the victim.
The lawyer now faced the jury again and spoke in a conciliatory, reasoning, almost patronizing tone: “Now, ladies and gentleman, I must apologize. I told you something that clearly did not come true. However, you will have to admit that the mere fact that each and every one of you looked toward those doors as you did, showed me and showed you and showed everyone in this courtroom that you had some doubt. And as the judge will instruct you, if there is any doubt in your minds, any doubt at all, you must–you must—return a verdict of not guilty and set my client free.”
The jury went in to the jury room to deliberate, and came back out just five minutes later to render their verdict. The foreman stood up, faced the defendant, and when asked by the judge what their verdict was, said that they declared the defendant – GUILTY!
The defense attorney was enraged. “How could you?!” he stammered. “I saw you all watching those doors.”
The foreman glanced at the defense attorney and replied, “Yes, sir, we did. But we were also watching you and your client–and you did not watch the door; your client did not watch the door. And that’s because neither of you believed for even a moment that anyone was actually going to walk in through that door.”
Great story that is applicable to just about everything we either teach, ideas that we try to ignite, products that we sell, or the giving of our time in the service of others. If you don’t believe in what you are promoting will genuinely help others, without a shadow of a doubt, than I can assure you that your endeavor will not generate long term success.