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In the early 80’s, after being in the auction business for almost 10 years, I decided to enter the Florida Auctioneers Association bid calling contest. I felt that I had developed a good auction chant during my career and was confident I would emerge the state winner!

There were quite a few entrants from all over the state and it was fun to listen to each unique chant. And as the winners were named, it was announced that I was THIRD best, which, I must say, disappointed me greatly. That’s NOT to say the first and second place winners weren’t good, for they really were! It’s just that with my record of conducting successful auctions over the years for many different clients, I was all geared up to be formally recognized as #1. (Yes, I did have quite an ego.)

Initially, what I failed to do was to recognize that the award was just for bid calling; not for overall auctioneering. They did not know, nor would have taken into account, everything that I did to make an auction successful. But upon reflection, I came to the conclusion that I should be the judge of my abilities. Conducting successful auctions required an effective advertising and marketing program, a strict attention to details and answering the specific needs of my customer. When I looked at how I handled my business and the quality product my customers received, I knew I was the #1 auctioneer!

So, I began advertising my auction company as “The #1 Auction-Marketing Company.” By my putting it in writing to the world, I was constantly reminded to always perform to that high standard I set for myself.

A few years later, I decided to have a class ring made for myself, that would symbolize my education and remind me of who I wanted to be. Accordingly, I designed with a large #1 and an auction gavel on the face of the ring. Even as I wear it today, it serves as a reminder that no matter what I endeavor to do, I will do it to the very best of my ability so I can always be #1 to myself.

In entering into various business ventures, I endeavored to do things in a manner that would match that standard. I would always look into the mirror and say to myself that I am proud what I do and I am doing it to the best of my ability.

After all, when we look into the mirror, it’s the person looking back at you that counts most. Believe in yourself; hold yourself to the highest standards and do all you can with what you have. That way, you will always know that you are #1!

Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr. wrote a poem that speaks to this way of thinking so well:

The Man In The Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what that person has to say.

For it isn’t your father, mother, or spouse

Whose judgment upon you must pass

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass.

That’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest

For he’s with you, clear to the end

And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test

If the person in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you’ve cheated the one in the glass.

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