Lesson #4: Do Not Sit Around and Wait for Something to Happen
When Hall first moved to Kansas City in 1910, he had no grand thoughts of becoming a millionaire or even creating a company of any significant success. All he wanted to do was make a living, and he thought Kansas City was the perfect place for a hard-working young man to do just that.
From that very day, Hall’s career has been characterized by his desire to take action. Even where it meant no big rewards were to be had, Hall preferred taking action over inaction. After all, even if he achieved little, Hall knew that little was better than nothing, which is precisely what would happen if he in turn did nothing.
The success of Hallmark as an internationally-recognized company is a testament to Hall’s hard work. Beginning with the days where Hall would take the train by himself far out into the countryside to see if there was any interest in his cards, Hall recognized the value of taking action, even where it meant nothing more than often tiresome leg work.
Still, Hall’s ambitions stretched far beyond his greeting card company. Where Hall saw something that needed attention within his own community, he stepped up to take action. In fact, when Hall stepped down from the daily running of his activities and took up the position of Chairman of the Board, he found more free time on his hands than he was used to. But instead of just sitting around with himself with nothing to do, Hall got involved in his local community. The effects of that involvement in those communities can still be felt to this day.
One such situation arose when Hall started to get active in his local neighbourhood’s land development issues. Commercial decay was pervading his urban neighbourhood and it bothered Hall. At the time, no one else had bothered to come forward with any kind of renewal plan, so Hall decided he had no choice but to do it himself. “I just don’t like to sit around and wait for something to happen,” he said. “It’s more fun making it happen.”
To that end, Hall helped develop Crown Center, a privately financed city-within-a-city next door to Hallmark’s international headquarters. The 85-acre area was on the decline when Hall stepped in and made things happen. Today, Crown Center is a vibrant residential, office, hotel, and entertainment district that has subsequently pushed forward the development of neighbouring communities.
Hall once claimed, “I figured I wasn’t as smart as some of the other fellows, so I had to work twice as hard.” Whether Hall took action out of a fear of inferiority, or because of his desire to make things happened is irrelevant. What matters is that where others refused to step up to the plate, Hall did. Where others saw problems as too challenging to take on, Hall saw them as too challenging not too. And, where others let time decide their fate, Hall took control of his own.
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