I want you to share some love this week among your friends and family.
Let's all take a break from the political maneuvering that has consumed this country lately, and look back at what we can ALL be grateful for. Even with all the issues that we continue to fight about here in the USA, we still live in the greatest country on earth. That we can all agree on!
I got to spend time with some very close friends and family over the 3 day weekend and realized just how lucky I am to have them in my life. You see, I choose to surround myself with people that make me a better person. Don't get me wrong, it is great to have friends that make you laugh and all, but if you are truly interested in making your life better (and your family's life too), then you have to aspire to be more than what you are right this minute. Please don't confuse my message now. This is a spiritual conversation, I am not even remotely talking about money.
Don't get me wrong. I like money. I like having extra money that I don't know what to do with especially. But making more money is not going to solve any of your spiritual needs. I try to work my life in balance between working and giving. One thing I like to do is give people small tokens of appreciation that they won't buy or do for themselves. It never costs a lot of money to do this, but it makes them feel special and can really brighten someone's day. In return, that person is much more likely to give more of themselves to you when they are needed. I can not tell you how many times I have needed to have a really tough conversation about something bothering me and someone has cleared their schedule for me because I cleared my schedule to help them in the past.
This is what you absolutely need to surround yourself with: Greatness. You need really good friends to help move you along in life. They should offer as much time, effort , and energy to building this relationship as you do. Find positive spheres of influence and hold on to them tightly. These type of friends are super rare. People that can motivate and uplift you will change your life for the better, just remember to give back to them where you can. I know this works because I am living proof of it. There is no way I would have written my first book if it weren't for some good friends pushing me out of my comfort zone and talking me through it.
So look back on this weekend and be grateful for what you have around you. Next, figure out where you need support or help. You might be truly surprised at what you already have in place. Then, with just a few minor tweaks, you can fill in the holes and encapsulate greatness!
One of the things that people ask all the time is what made you write a book?
I talk about this briefly on the ABOUT DONNIE MASTERS page, but I was frustrated by the experience consumers were getting in the retail environment. I would literally spend 20-30 minutes of an hour long sale trying to "undo" the damage someone else did when that customer went to them. A salesperson should be able to offer advice and educate someone during the sales process, not spend hours trying to deprogram them. The mattress industry was so competitive that customers were simply being treated as dollar signs for sales. A select group of people were doing what I talk about in Mattress Buying 101. We thrived selling this way.
One of the other reasons I chose to write a book was timing. Mattress sales have gotten even more competitive than when I walked away (February 2015). Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart are all now in the bedding industry. While this is great for the consumer in lowering prices and increasing competition, it doesn't offer any real education on the mattress industry. Lower prices are great, lower service standards are not. Most of the new guys selling mattresses expect the consumer to know what they are buying. How could they when no one has taught them?
My number one goal is education. I hoped that by writing a book, I could help educate the consumer on what matters and what doesn't as it pertains to mattresses. I hoped I could shed a little light on an industry dominated by commission sales where consumers are looked at as dollar signs. I wanted to make a difference on a purchase that is the third largest after a house and car.
Are you the next great American author?
Hardly! This is a first attempt for me and something I wanted to complete years ago. I always knew I wanted to write a book, but I could never figure out where I could add value to a subject. I knew a little bit about a lot of things. Back in 2014, a customer that I had built a really good relationship with asked me about some of the funny stories I had. I shared a few with him and he said, "Donnie, you should write a book about this."
A light bulb went off in my head and I realized I knew a lot about bedding. I had risen from salesperson to District Manager by the time this conversation happened. I had intimate details on construction techniques, sales data, employee relations, and business decisions that most people don't ever have access to. I knew I could write about mattresses. I could teach someone to buy a mattress!
How long does the process take from thought to book?
About 15 months for me. I started writing right after I left in March of 2015. I have spent hours writing, re-writing, proofreading, and changing the book. What I thought would be easy to write about had to be broken down in a logical manner. I knew the material, but I had to present to the reader in a clear, concise method. I struggled getting thoughts to paper (really laptop screen) at first without jumbling things together.
I slowed down in the middle months with work and holidays. I began "crunch" time in March of 2016 going back through every section and making sure I got my points in there. Is it perfect? No, and I don't want it to be. I am trying to open a dialogue on mattresses.
The last 2 months have been getting the format and publication lined up. I have spent hours formatting and getting the cover right. Then I had to get the ISBN assigned and work out distribution through Amazon. None of that was difficult, but very time consuming to get things the way I wanted it.