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Words Have Power: Know Them and Use Them Wisely To Your Advantage

Words Have Power:  Know Them and Use Them Wisely To Your Advantage

Dave DeBlander

Businessman and author Dave DeBlander set records in high school and was an All-Ohio basketball player who realized at an early age that dedication, hard work, and a positive attitude can make your dreams come true. In 1976, after dropping out of college and getting married, DeBlander and his wife, Kate, opened a natural foods restaurant and bakery in Wisconsin. By 1990 the couple had sold both and relocated to Pensacola, Florida, where Kate began her career with Mary Kay Cosmetics.

That year, DeBlander founded the award-winning Pro Clean Restoration and Cleaning, to this day one of the most successful such businesses in the country with sales of over one million dollars a year. DeBlander is also a public speaker, coach/trainer, and co-founder of The Game Changer Turn-Key Business Program, a nationwide consulting and mentoring program for entrepreneurs. As one of the most popular contributors to “ICS” magazine, he is consistently ranked in the top three of searched authors for the publication. Of late, he’s been nicknamed by some “The Napoleon Hill of Today”—referring to the late author of the now-famous “Think and Grow Rich”—due to his popular and inspiring 103-page book “40 Words {To Awaken The Entrepreneur Within}.”

Book Synopsis

For “40 Words {To Awaken The Entrepreneur Within}, DeBlander asked 75 very successful people—including an astronaut, a spy, one of America’s top college football coaches, and the number-one national sales director in Mary Kay Cosmetics—to tell him, in one word, “What does it take to be a success?” The top 40 words wound up between the book’s covers. In 103 brief pages, DeBlander treats the reader to personal anecdotes, quotes, and insights surround each other. In doing so, he draws a picture of success that Ordinary Janes and Joes can relate and aspire to.

Why did you write this book?

I wrote it because it had to be written. The 40 words that I had were just screaming out, “Write about us!” And since I’ve written it—and this is an important part, especially for this market—the book has become a spectacular tool for sales training because the trainers can pick a word and discuss that it. Since there is a total of 42 words, a lot of companies and trainers will spend 42 weeks, and every week they’ll speak about one word. It is a great venue for stimulating discussion about success. I also wrote it in hopes that the reader would have an “Aha!” moment and realize that—as they take an inventory of their character—a word may jump out at them and show them, “Ah, that’s what I’m doing wrong.” Or perhaps jump out at them and make them realize, “Wow! That’s what I’m doing right.”

Why should readers buy your book, and what will they get after reading it?

They should read it because it’s very simple. It’s very easy to read. And so many people are not readers these days. But non-readers can read this book and enjoy it. They can read a word or two and put it down. And like I said, I hope they get an “Aha!” moment that shows them where their strengths and weaknesses are—that it inspires them to be a success in life and/or business.

Where did you get the idea to write this book about the power of words?

Originally, I just started out asking people the question—“In one word, what leads to success?”—with no book in mind. I don’t remember when. Why is just because I am kind of a student of life, so I thought that it would be interesting to hear the answers. So I didn’t have a in mind, but I just kept asking it and asking it. And then, when I wrote a book for the carpet cleaning industry titled “How to Get Off the Truck and Onto the Beach,” one of the chapters was on how to have the right attitude. And so I used the 40 words that I got from the 75 people to write that chapter. And then, over time, I realized that this was a whole book in and of itself. People were also telling me, “You gotta write a book about those words.” So that’s how it came about.

How did you pick and find the people you interviewed for the book?

Many of them are Mary Kay national sales directors, a very unique group of women. There are 200 in the United States. There are 800,000 women in Mary Kay, and 200 of them are national sales directors. A lot of them, some of their husbands were also very successful. One guy was the head of the Dale Carnegie Training franchise for about five states. Another one was Bob Stoops, who is the football coach at Oklahoma. And also, people just whom I have run into. Because I ask this question all the time. There were some fascinating people like the astronaut and the spy.

What is your word?


And why is that?

I really truly believe that attitude is everything. If you have the right, positive, go-for-it attitude, then nothing is gonna stop you. If you don’t have the right attitude—if you have a negative attitude, a loser attitude—nothing’s gonna help you. Also, Mary Kay said, “You can do everything wrong with the right attitude and be a success. And you can do everything right with the wrong attitude and be a failure.” I agree.

What’s your anti-word—the one that would not contribute to anyone’s success?

I’d say “Negativity.”

What’s your favorite word that belongs to someone else?

“Perspicacious.” Want me to spell it for you?

No. I know how to spell it, but I don’t think everyone knows what it means.


So tell me what it means in your mind?

Well, the astronaut gave it, and his definition is better than the dictionary. And he described it as putting together the elements that matter and then acting on them and then not getting distracted by the noise.

One of the reasons I love the concept of this book so much is that it’s all about words. Why do you think words matter, why do they have such power?

Well, there’s a lot of elements in being a success, and words—even simple words—describe those elements very simply. It’s all about being simple. So a word such as “Focus” has such power because you have to be able to focus in on what you’re doing to be a success. A word like “Desire.” You have to have a big desire to be a success. So I think it’s the simplicity of the word that helps you to understand what success is. What is success? It’s hard to define. But if break down into these individual words, it makes it easier to understand.

What’s the best advice you ever got in business or in life?

In business it was by a millionaire developer, and he said, “Don’t do anything unless you’re gonna make a lot of money at it.” The reason I like that is a lot of people are afraid to charge higher prices because they think other people are poor and won’t be able to afford it. And that’s a big, big mistake. My favorite advice I got in life was from Mary Kay, who told me, “Pretend that everyone has a sign hanging around their neck that says ‘make me feel important.’”

And the best advice you never got—the lesson you learned all on your own?

I learned a few things on my own when I was a basketball player—I was an All-Ohio basketball player. I don’t know how, I just did. One was working on my weaknesses. So I learned to dribble with my left hand as well as with my right hand so that when it came to dribbling I would be ambidextrous.

Any regrets? An opportunity you didn’t take? A big mistake you made?

I made a lot of mistakes but I don’t regret any of them because successful people—that was the spy’s word, “Failure”—successful people have the most failures. I don’t regret any of my failures so no, I don’t really regret anything. It’s all worked out well. I’ve got a very successful business, a successful life. So, I don’t regret anything. My failures are a big part of my success.

What’s the one thing you did right?

I planned. And that’s what most business people do not do. I plan what I’m doing. I set goals. And those two elements right there—being a goal-setter and planning your business—will probably put you at the top 2% of the people in business because most don’t do that and you have to do that to be a success in business.

What other books have you read that you would recommend to others?

Leander Kahney’s “Inside Steve’s Brain.” It’s about Steve Jobs. And it points out the brilliance of Steve Jobs in that what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in. Simplicity is so important. You have to make the complex simple. And that’s what Apple’s all about and that’s what I’ve tried to do in my business—make things simple. So that was a big book. I’d say “Today Matters” by John Maxwell. That emphasizes the importance of right now. Right now counts. If you’ve gotta be a success, be a success today. Don’t worry so much about tomorrow and yesterday. Just make today a success. One more was “Coach John Wooden: 100 Years of Greatness” by Matt Fulks.

And why did that resonate?

I’m just such an admirer of John Wooden. He was so smart. He just did things right in his coaching and in his personal life. It just inspired me to do things right.

What is one of your greatest present challenges?

Marketing my intellectual property material is like starting out all over again. My business is successful, I don’t have to worry about that. But this is like a new startup business, so it’s a challenge to learn this market of information marketing and intellectual property.

Why do you love to give interviews and do speaking engagements?

I just like speaking. I don’t know why. I just love being in front of crowds and speaking. I like to see people learning from what I’m saying while also having a good time. I hate boring speakers, so I would like to think I’m the opposite of boring and that people walk away with one or two inspirational ideas.

How do you use social media—Facebook, Twitter—if at all?

I’m learning. I don’t. I need to. It’s important in this day and age.

I know you love this topic, so I’m going to ask you, “Is the American Dream dead?”

It’s a fascinating question because whatever your answer is, it’s correct. If you think it’s dead for you, it’s dead. If you think it’s alive, for you it’s alive. My answer is, “It will be dead when there are no more problems in this world.” Because today’s entrepreneur is a problem-solver. So, as long as there are problems, there are going to be creative entrepreneurs who are going to build businesses to solve those problems. Obviously, I don’t think the American dream is dead. I hope you don’t think it is either.

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