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Rich Learnings from Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler

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Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler running through my head at various intervals. With some consideration, I’ve realized that it’s no accident that this song is on repeat.

If you really tune in…this song delivers in a big way.

As entrepreneurs, I think we all should take a few minutes and consider the many gifts that Kenny Rogers gives us in this song. Serious business lessons for entrepreneurs.

Before you ask, I am not joking. Read on for an explanation. Plus, you’ll get some insight into my “special” connection with this song. Which will either make you laugh or think I’m stuck in my glory days of the 90s.

1. The Influence of Storytelling

Whether or not you like country music, it’s hard not to love this song. Why? The power of the story.

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,

I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.

So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness

‘Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

You can literally see it happening in your head. The steam train. Their weathered faces. The sound of cards being shuffled. Hell, I can smell that train car.

Talk about high impact storytelling.

Next time you create a piece of content, how can you use storytelling and activate people’s senses so they can see, smell and taste. Instead of merely writing content, you are creating an experience.

By tapping into the senses you can help create an emotional connection with you and what you are sharing. That’s why a powerhouse storytelling will always trump logic, because our senses simply take over to process it and our brain works differently.

2. Solid Life/Business Advice

Trying to figure out your next move? Whether to continue or quit?

Kenny has you covered in the chorus with this solid advice:

Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.

Know when to walk away, know when to run.

Seriously. Doesn’t that sum up everything you need to know about your business? This entrepreneurial gig is not for the faint of heart. Learning when to hold on for dear life for a wild ride is one thing. But you also need to know when to admit to yourself that things are busted ass broken down.

Yes, it’s a little more nuanced than what Kenny lays out for us, but the most powerful skills we can develop in our business give us the tools to hold ‘em, fold ‘em, walk away or run.

But how? For starters, develop your intuition. Trust your gut instinct and stop fighting it or second guessing yourself.

Conversely, discern when your intuition has been hijacked by the lure of riches or shiny objects. Programs, sales pages and content are designed to short circuit your gut feelings and logic. That next program or coach is not necessarily what’s going to help you have your Cinderella story.

[Tweet “Do you know when to walk away, know when to run? @magspatterson muses on The Gambler and entrepreneurship http://bit.ly/1h7THEe “]

Sometimes the sheer force of will of wanting something is not enough. You may need to channel some Kenny to help you make better business decisions from scrapping the program no one is buying to getting a bridge job if you need to. True entrepreneurs do what they need to do.

3. Crazed University Students & Creating Community

Fun fact: If you join The Official Kenny Roger’s Fan Club you get a packet in the mail with a welcome letter and mouse pad. I can only hope the mouse pad has Kenny’s face on it.

Every highly successful celebrity, personality or business has a subset of their community that will do anything for them. That are devoted, loyal and fervent.

Wouldn’t you like to have those type of fans/customers?

Hello. Where do I sign up?

That type of thing simply doesn’t happen overnight. I comes from showing up day in, day out and bringing it.

Bishop’s University where I took my B.A. is a very small school, in an even smaller town. A small school makes for cray cray spirit and community in spades, including discussions of bleeding purple and being able to sing the school song on cue 50 years after you graduate.

At some point during my four years, one of the DJs started playing The Gambler as the last song of the night at the campus pub.. The first time, the second time, the third time, everyone was thrown…but committed to his vision, that DJ kept on it.

Over time, The Gambler as the last song of the night became a “thing”. To the point where the crowd of crazed students would pound on the floor and yell “one more time, one more time.” That tradition continued for years, breeding probably some of the most unlikely Kenny Rogers fans ever.

A few years ago when I went back for my 10 year reunion, the night ended with The Gambler. And that night they played it four times before kicking all of us out. It was played as the last song of the night at my wedding and most of my friend’s weddings. I’ve discussed it with fellow grads that graduated years after I did.

That is the power of community. It’s committing to a vision. It’s unwavering in the face of a more popular choice. It’s about creating something bigger than the people involved, even if it is a dated country music song as a rallying point.

What can you do in your business to have your customers yelling “one more time” or being so committed to you that they include you major business or life events? Maybe it won’t be that extreme, but you want that deep connection so they love, respect and trust you.

So, what other songs can we dissect for some business lessons? (I need some new songs for the loop in my head.) Comment below.

[Tweet “What The Gambler and 700 college students can teach you about building community. New blog post from @magspatterson http://bit.ly/1h7THEe “]

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