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Cam Marston on Work Well Done

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I read this expression last week: Work done well is done forever. I wasn’t sure what it meant, and the author repeated it several times.

Then an email popped up last week and I just now hung up from a call with the woman who sent it. She was instrumental in a steep upward trajectory my career took about fifteen years ago. I was giving a speech at a GE event. She had booked me after watching my YouTube. “He’ll work,” she said, and she called and several weeks later I was giving my first presentation to a fortune five hundred company. This was the type of audience I’ve always wanted – a fortune five hundred sales meeting. Audiences had been smaller, with local and regional companies. This could be my ticket to the next level, I thought, if I don’t blow it.

In the few weeks between our call and my speech, I buckled down. I rehearsed my stories repeatedly in my car, sometimes talking into a mini-tape deck and replaying it so I could coach myself on what would make each story better. I practiced with my slides. I updated the data I was using to make sure it was the freshest I could find.

The date of the event, I was introduced and walked to the front of the room. I was nervous but it was go time. It is what I had wanted, and it was time to perform. When the speech was over, I walked off the stage to the back of the room where the woman from GE, Tanya was her name, stood in the aisle waiting for me. She stopped me, looked me dead in my eyes and said this: “You need to raise your speaking fees.” How often has a customer ever told you that you need to raise your fees? I didn’t know how to act. She was telling me I had passed her test. That I had performed beyond her expectations. That speech began what would become a four or five-year relationship with GE that included a North American speaking tour with their top executives and a book on sales that I wrote based on my presentation. GE bought a bunch of speeches and a bunch of books. And, at that time, when GE blessed your work, other companies wanted it, too. Since then, I’ve given speeches in 48 states and multiple nations. Life changed that day.

And then her email last week, fifteen years later. “Cam,” she said, “I haven’t forgotten your presentation from all those years ago and, I think I have a new need for your work.” That one speech for GE fifteen years ago that I worked so hard on, that had me recording myself talking in the car, changed my professional career. And that speech that I prepared so hard for continues to work for me. Work done well is done forever.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.