I Finally Found the Success Process I Was Seeking
by Mitchell Walker
I joined Steve Harrison’s Quantum Leap program because I was completely ignorant of the entire book publishing arena.
(That’s not entirely correct. I did know how to read!)
I also had a passion for a subject most people have a “yes, I need that but...” attitude toward: personal budgeting.
I had been struggling to put an outline of the book in place for several months.
I knew the material well as I had shared the system with others for years. But there was a big difference between sitting down with someone face to face and putting the same information into an organized manner most people will understand.
When you are face to face with someone, you can be sloppy and lazy with your words because you get feedback immediately and can make adjustments based on their level of understanding. You can try different ways of getting a point across or, if necessary, go deeper on a particular issue based on the other person’s reactions.
The writer does not have this luxury of immediate feedback to guide them. I did not have a clue how to structure a book to make it clear, understandable, and enjoyable for the reader.
I also realized fairly quickly the business side of publishing a book was a complex quagmire with plenty of sinkholes to be aware of.
As I assessed my beginning level of competence as an author and possibly publisher, I knew I needed help. I began to search for that assistance.
These two guys seemed to know what I needed...
During my time with Berkshire Hathaway, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to the “80/20” concept. I really respect Perry Marshall for his work and ideas in this area.
One day Perry Marshall recommended a video series with Steve Harrison and Jack Canfield on how to write a bestseller. I watched the entire series and came away with two conclusions.
First, my level of competence was even more lacking than I had estimated.
Second, these two guys seemed to know what I need and had put it into a format I could follow.
That became my mantra over the next couple of weeks as I checked out many book writing and self-publishing programs: Did they have a format to follow and had that format produced success for others?
The Quantum Leap program was by far the most comprehensive and probably the most expensive I found.
I signed up on the last day possible to attend the Quantum Leap meeting in Philadelphia. I was still questioning the decision to join but the salesperson said I could attend the first day and half the meetings and then decide if the program was right for me and worth the cost. A very fair offer.
"Not a lot of time to recover if you screw this one up..."
Over the 30 days prior to the meeting, I tried to cram as much knowledge from the website and coaches as I could get into my brain.
The Quantum Leap website has more information and courses than a normal person could ever absorb. I was becoming more and more convinced everything needed to put together a successful book would be available to me. I left for Philadelphia with the idea Quantum Leap would be my “format to follow.”
The meetings started with a full day for new members only. This was very helpful for me as it allowed insight into where a lot of other would-be authors were in their journey. And the truth is they were all over the place.
Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon session, a new question began to develop I knew I had to answer. As a matter of fact, the answer to this question would determine if I continued in the program or returned home and looked elsewhere for direction.
By the end of the first day Steve and his team had made one thing perfectly clear: This program was going to require a ton of time, hard work and commitment in order to work. Was I willing to make that level of commitment?
Heck, I had just taken a break from 40 years of continuous work!
I wanted to write a bestseller, kick back and smoke my pipe (sorry—my vision of an author!), and have accolades laid at my feet from my adoring public.
Steve wanted me to humble myself, serve others, and work my butt off creating a public presence that would allow me to repeat the same process again and again to continuously reach more and more people with my message.
There was no way around the conclusion. This was going to be a JOB!
Did I want a job and was I ready to do everything required to be successful?
My spouse and I had a long discussion that evening. I also prayed about it. Hard.
Here I was at 61, making a major life decision. Not a lot of time to recover if you screw this one up, Mitchell.
Why not just work another five to six years in corporate America and stick back 50% or more of my pay? Then I could retire with few financial worries and enjoy my golden years. I could even mentor one or two youngsters over that period of time to make myself feel I was contributing to society as I counted Warren Buffet’s money. Not a bad plan.
But I knew in my heart it was a bad plan.
I was not being called to help Warren amass more. I was being called to help Joe and Jane amass some.
I had the possibility of changing lives for the better, maybe a lot of lives. How many people get that opportunity? Only a privileged few, and I believe I am one of them.
I asked God to give me strength and courage, asked my sweet wife for her support, understanding and patience, and decided I was all-in with Steve and the Quantum Leap program.
I felt so smart for hiring these geniuses!
Many people associated with Quantum Leap will tell you trying to take in everything they offer is like trying to drink from a fire hose. This is a very accurate description.
One of the most valuable services Quantum Leap provides is taking this huge and complex process and breaking it down into understandable and doable steps. Then they provide experts in areas to guide and direct you in the specific actions you need to take.
Let me share with you how this has impacted me.
Geoffrey Berwind kept pushing me to tell a story. He even had a formula for the story: Life is going along good, then BAM, it falls off the cliff. Just before you hit bottom you have an “aha!” moment and turn uphill to new and possibly even higher levels of life.
I did not want to tell a story, I wanted to tell people how to budget. Seriously? I’m supposed to make people laugh, cry, feel empathy or a connection through a story in order for them to budget. But I have paid a lot of money to be directed by these geniuses, so I’ll give it a try.
I had written the introduction of the book with plenty of well thought out reasoning for why everyone needs to budget. I rewrote the introduction, focusing on two stories about the situation my wife and I faced when we decided we needed to do something about our finances. Then I asked a dozen people to read both versions and let me know which they preferred.
The results were unanimous. The story introduction won over the factual one with all 12 readers.
I felt so smart for hiring these geniuses!
After a couple of consults with various book coaches, I decided Martha was the best match for me. Her friendly but firm style was exactly what I needed.
She was always insightful, but more importantly in my case, she believed in establishing and had me commit to a firm timetable. Her experience provided an expert knowledge base where all steps were laid out very clearly.
How good was she? We hit the book publishing date to the exact day from where we first planned it seven months earlier.
Martha anticipated and planned for each and every step along the way. When necessary, she helped pull together outside resources such as editing, book cover, layout design, my ISBN, and even uploading the manuscript to be published.
Because of her I have a book that can stand right beside those of the best and biggest publishers and hold its own. An amazing accomplishment for a self-published first-time author.
I owe Martha so much for making this happen.
I successfully pitched 15 media in a row at the Publicity Summit
When the book was in the stages of review and editing, I began considering whether to take part in the National Publicity Summit.
I spoke with several coaches and other Quantum Leap members and saw the opportunity as one I should take advantage of. I applied and was accepted. Taking this step was a real game changer for me.
I was tagged teamed in the coaching by Geoffrey, Martha, and Ginny. I started out in the proverbial “deer in the headlights” position. I did not have merely limited knowledge—I could not even see where I was trying to go.
I had never dealt with any media, did not understand what I was hearing about them, and was a bit scared I was going to look like some hick from the woods to them.
Nonetheless, my coaches kept me focused on each task at hand: a one page media sheet, a 30-45 second opening pitch, and the ability to listen to and respond to the media’s needs.
Slowly but surely, we made progress.
When the Summit started, I felt OK but still unsure. I was sitting in my seat the first morning and Steve asked for volunteers to share their pitch. I decided it would be smart to get feedback from the other 100 attendees before I faced the media.
I got in line to try out my pitch on Steve. I was about 15 seconds into the pitch when Steve stopped me, turned to the audience, and asked if anyone understood what I was talking about. Only three hands went up. I was crushed and really worried I had made a costly and horrible mistake in coming to the Summit.
Steve had me try again, and one member of the media gave some excellent suggestions, but my mind was reeling. I went back to my seat and asked a couple of friends sitting near me why they could not raise their hands. I did not get any useful feedback, except maybe to slow down a bit, but they said I would be fine that afternoon with the media.
My coaches had stressed the importance of making my pitch simple and interesting, so I went back to work to make the most interesting parts more straightforward. I ran it by all my coaches and everyone else I could get to listen.
Now it was time for the real deal. I gave my first pitch— and WOW! I got an invite on the spot to do a radio show.
The second one bombed, but the next 15 in a row said YES! They wanted to continue the conversation and invited me to follow up after the Summit!
By the end of the Publicity Summit, I had spoken to 82 media people, and 76 were interested in possibly booking me in the future.
Just as important, I was loving interacting with the media.
Radio shows, print publicity, a TEDx talk, and more
So where do I sit today?
Without the guidance and expert advice from Steve and the quality individuals at Quantum Leap, I doubt any of the above would have happened.
They should all take a great deal of satisfaction from the fact they are contributing to the improvement of many, many people’s lives due to their efforts. I am very thankful for each and every one of you.
Have I accomplished all I want to? No way. But I have taken a Quantum Leap toward that goal.
This post is adapted from an essay Mitchell wrote as his entry in our "How I Made My Quantum Leap" contest, in which Quantum Leap members wrote about the difference the program made for them and their careers.