Fred LeBow changed the world. He was a Romanian immigrant that had a way of connecting with people and infusing his vision. He started the New York City Marathon and made running an international virus. His journey looked like this:
Fred’s story is the story of most evangelists and difference makers. Their skills are collective from years of experience constantly seeking to grow. In Fred’s case, he knew how to identify, make and sell a deal. He was an opportunist that could sell the invisible – the classic pied piper. He juggled the balls until they all came together. As one person says in the movie, Run For Your Life, “What it was was that everybody believed him,” in reference to the 1976 Five-Burrough New York City Marathon. He did what everyone in New York City thought was insane because he was noted for taking on challenges noone else could.
Fred LeBow’s story is the hard journey of success. There is a price to be paid up front. All you have is a vision and conviction. There has to be momentum generated from perseverance, clear vision and leadership.
After that, the world starts to change. Momentum starts to kick in. LeBow started having fun. He had ornate road races based on themes and made running a new marketing category – event marketing. Racing the Empire State Building, Corporate Challenge, bagel runs, and many other themes were part of a visionary’s force on the world of running. He made it a show.
Your world may be different. Your work is no less. You still need to change the world, or do everyone a favor and call it a day, or a career. At the bottom of the curve, it is discouraging, hard and lonely. Only people with crazy conviction make the curve ramp up. Your business breakthroughs come from a commitment to a vision and story. Make sure that story is clear in your head and get others around you to join the journey. What do you believe the world should be like? Sell the vision and make it come to life. That is what changes the world.