I don’t mind waiting. Maybe he will have some free time or a cancellation.
For the last time, NO! You will leave now or I will be forced to call security.
Take it easy Lady, I'm Leaving.
I had come to the office, yet again because I wanted to meet the man called ‘The Mentor’. I needed to talk with this man if my life was ever going to change. I was determined to meet the mystery man and I would not allow anyone to stand in my way. I had to try something else.
I returned to my beat up Ford Bronco which should have been retired 5 years ago. I thought about the events of the last few days which had made me become obsessed with success. It all started while I was driving down a country road in Northwest New Jersey. I was admiring the brilliant yellow and red fall foliage when my gut started rumbling. I hadn’t eaten since yesterday!
Money was always an issue, but when things were really tough, I checked the good old change box in my car in which I was pleased to discover a veritable fortune of $4.50. The best cure for hunger was Rae’s Tavern located in Netcong. It’s a classic pub where the old timers hang out all day throwing darts or playing cards. The decor is early Salvation Army chairs and tables with a pool table and a 50’s Jukebox. The postman drops off the mail every morning on the bar, has a quick shot of Bourbon and then continues merrily on his way. Atmosphere aside, it’s the food that everyone comes for. The place is always packed for lunch and today was no exception. A huge bowl of macaroni twists and two large meatballs, a couple slices of Italian bread, all for $3.00. It’s run by brothers, Sam and Junior. Better hosts you would never find in any expensive restaurant.
I saw a hefty patron leave his bar stool and I deftly slide into his spot. Sam came over to me and spoke in his perfect New Jersey drawl. Hey kid, ya want the special?
Sure Sam and a bag of beer nuts and a draft please.
You got it. Haven’t seen ya in a while, ya know. What have ya been up to?
His interest seemed genuine so I started telling him about my troubles in business. Isn’t that what bartenders are for? Aren’t they a working man’s therapist?
Ya know kid (he called anyone under 30 a kid), I was in the same pickle years ago before we bought the tavern. I couldn’t get ahead financially. Had a wife and kids to provide for and couldn’t sleep at night always worrying about bills. I was getting up 6 days a week, sitting in traffic and going to a job I couldn’t stand. A dinner bell interrupted, wait a second and let me get your lunch. Sam brought back an enormous bowl of steaming pasta and meatballs dripping in spaghetti sauce (otherwise known as gravy).
Ya want some cheese wit dat?
Sure, I responded. I dove into the concoction while Sam attended to other customers. When he returned, I was cleaning the gravy with my last piece of bread. He picked up the conversation where he left off.
Hey kid, ya want to know what I finally did? I decided to do something about my predicament, something that I always wanted to do. I quit my job and raised as much money as I could and bought this old bar. My brother and a few friends helped me fix it up. I love to cook so I created the daily special. Entertaining, talking and feeding folks is what I do best! The word got around and we are always busy.
Sam, can I ask you a question?
Hold on fer a minute while I take care of a few folks. The hustle and bustle of the place was in- tensifying as the real lunch time crowd came in. He was back in 5 minutes.
Go ahead kid, you had a question.
How did you get the nerve to make all the changes in your life, quitting the job and starting a new business?
He stared at me and said one word “Max”. He was my Success Mentor. Everything changed the day I met him. He is a genius in business, a self made Millionaire and one of the greatest people I have ever known. It was his advice and counseling that made it happen for me.
I was totally captivated and intrigued by Sam’s story of success. I had been to all of the motiva- tional seminars and had ‘get rich’ books and CDs, but I had never considered a true Mentor. Could I talk to him, would he give me a few minutes of his time?
I can’t make any promises, but why not go to his office and tell him I sent you. Thanks Sam, I’ll think about it.
Hey kid, what have ya got to lose? One warning before you go.
As Sam was walking away, he said, Max might put you through a little Gauntlet, a test. I gotta go kid, hungry people everywhere. Let me know what happens.
Thanks for the advice Sam. What the Heck was a Gauntlet?
Fergittaboutit kid! With that, Sam was gone.
The day was still young and I decided to take Sam’s advice. I drove to Max’s office about 30 minutes away. When I arrived I was blocked from see-ing him by his faithful secretary, Brunhilda Miller.
Do you have an appointment, young man?
No Ma’am, but I need to see Mr. Max ASAP.
Mr. Max does not see anyone without an appointment. Can I make one now?
No! Good day young man.
So now you know. I had been trying to see Max for 5 days and I’d been tossed out every time. I couldn’t even get through the phone system. I decided however that Iwould not be denied! The more I was rejected, the more I wanted to see him.
Sam had said something about a “Gauntlet”, maybe this was it? Maybe it was supposed to be hard to see Max. As I was leaving the receptionist area,
I spotted the sleeping security guard. Excuse me, sir.
Huh, whadyawant? He responded sleepily.
Does Mr. Max get here by 9 or 10 AM?
10 AM !!, he laughed. Mr. Max has never been here later than 6 AM in the last 20 years!
The next morning I was in the parking lot at 5 AM facing the entrance. It was cold and dark. 45 minutes later a long black limousine pulled into the parking lot and drove to the front office entrance. The driver got out and opened the rear door. Now was the moment of truth. For a second I considered turning around and going back to my car. What if Max rejected or chastised me for being so abrupt? What if I was humiliated? What did I have to lose? I would have to be daring if I was going to change my life for the better. So I went for it.
Sir, excuse me, you don’t know me, but I am a friend of Sam and he said I should speak to you.
The eloquently dressed man with silver hair turned around. Are you the guy who keeps trying to see me and who is driving my secretary crazy?
Yes, Sir, that would be me.
Well, good. You have been successful in your first Gauntlet.
What Gauntlet, Sir?
Finding a way to meet me no matter how difficult we made it for you. I LIKE POTENTIAL MENTEES TO HAVE TENACITY! He held out his hand and we shook. Now, go down the street and get me a toasted plain bagel and a black coffee. Then we will have a little talk about success.
Yes sir, Mr. Max.
Call me Max and make it snappy!
I smiled knowing that whatever was before me, my life had changed for the better at that precise moment.