In this transcript, Clay Clark (Founder of Thrive15.com, one of the best sales training programs) and Clifton Taulbert (Bestselling author) discuss the importance of Clifton's formative childhood on Thrive15.com, the best sales training program.
Clay: How many dollars in your pocket when you leave? You're 16, you're 17, how many dollars were in your pocket when you left?
C. Taulbert: Why would you ask that?
Clay: I don't know, I'm just curious. Did you have any money when you left?
C. Taulbert: No. Maybe, I don't know. I lived with my great-aunt. I graduated from high school. She fixed my lunch in a brown paper bag, I remember that. I had one brown suitcase.
Clay: So one suitcase.
C. Taulbert: Yeah.
Clay: Where did you go to?
C. Taulbert: I went to Saint Louis, Missouri.
Clay: Okay, so you moved from Mississippi to Saint Louis.
C. Taulbert: Yeah. Going north.
Clay: Did you find a job right away?
C. Taulbert: Of course not.
C. Taulbert: And this is important, because when I left ... And I didn't have but maybe 3 dollars.
C. Taulbert: Yeah. But 3 dollars was 3 dollars.
Clay: Maybe in today's money that might be worth ...
C. Taulbert: Fifty maybe?
Clay: Fifty bucks.
C. Taulbert: Fifty. I had maybe 3 dollars. But the one thing that I knew, like I said, I wanted to be successful, and for me, success was Saint Louis. But what I really learned Clay, success was not Saint Louis. Success had to be me. I had to win where I was. And I think I won early on in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, because I had a mindset that would really make a difference in how I would view my life.
Clay: So everybody watching this, I don't know if you ever felt like this, but if you feel stuck, and you have 50 dollars, sometimes you just can't park the bus. You have to get moving, you got to make some changes. You got to change, maybe it's the change of scenery, or it's getting more education. But you can't just sit there waiting for something to change, right? I mean you have to ...
C. Taulbert: You can't be a bystander. Taking your word, if you really want to thrive, you cannot afford to just simply be a bystander to life. You got to jump into life and add your input.
Clay: Kind of make it up on the way as you go, I mean, you jump in and then you just kind of figure out as you go?
C. Taulbert: I don't think you make it up. I think life happens as you go. And because you are determined to be successful, you handle the happenings of life differently. When something's going to be thrown at you, like when I first went to Saint Louis, I had never filled out an application in my life for a job. You don't fill out application to pick cotton, so I didn't fill out an application. All of a sudden they're giving me 5 sheets of paper to fill out, and they want background checks on who you work for. That's what they asked you in the city.
Clay: So you just put "not given"?
C. Taulbert: I had to say "not applicable." But you had 3 pages of "not applicable" which meant it took me a while to get a job.
Clay: So you basically were in Saint Louis, you started with nothing, you came from the cotton fields, you moved to Saint Louis, to ultimately today you've had some huge successes. I'm going to list off just a few of that I know of, and maybe I'm missing something here. You've been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize with your book, you've been a best-selling author. Your life was made into a movie, which I think is surreal. You helped launched the StairMaster, helped market the StairMaster?
C. Taulbert: Yeah. It was a failing company, and that some idea of success that I had in the Mississippi Delta, I brought that with me to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thrive15.com, an incredible sales training program, was founded in Tulsa.
Clay: On your lapel here, you are on a board of a bank?
C. Taulbert: Yeah. I'm on a board of a bank, and it's a bank that was purchased by a holding company out of Missouri, but that particular bank, I was part of the investing group in that de novo bank in Oklahoma.
Clay: So you helped invest in the bank. You also are a member of an exclusive country club in Tulsa.
C. Taulbert: Why would you want to bring that up?
Clay: I'm bringing it up because I, as a kid, I'd never really went to country clubs. And I remember one of our first interactions when I really got a chance to know you, you took me to Southern Hills Country Club and made a huge impression on my life. So I remember that.
C. Taulbert: Well, I think it made a huge impression on my daughter's life when she was alive. She called it "the big restaurant."
Clay: The big restaurant?
C. Taulbert: Yeah.
Clay: Was there any other successes that you can think of? I know you've addressed the Supreme Court, which is a huge honor. You've been asked to speak at Harvard. Any other honors in your mind that just kind of blew you away, how blessed you've been, or anything else as far as achievement?
C. Taulbert: One of the great turning points, when I graduated from college, I had an opportunity to become part of a retirement system that was associated with a university here in Tulsa, Oral Roberts University. That literally pulled out of me skills, and gifts, and talents that I didn't know I had. I faced an opportunity, it was like a huge mountain to climb, but I learned to climb it. That experience has literally helped me in every single experience. That to me was a great success, having that opportunity.