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Jim Lovell


In an interview with Selling Power, former astronaut Jim Lovell likened crisis situations to playing solitaire. “You pick up a card and that’s a cri- sis,” he explained. “Only after you find a place to put that card can you pick up another card and move on to the next crisis. You can’t think about the 20th card in the deck; you have to focus on the card in your hand.”


A crisis is certainly what Lovell faced on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, when a deep-space explosion led to sys- tem shut-downs and an unplanned slingshot trip around the moon. Thanks to their teamwork, ingenuity, and calm under fire, Lovell and his companions Jack Swigart and Fred Haise made it back 200,000 miles to Earth in one piece. Lovell had never been the type to let obstacles get in his


way. As a child, he had dreamed of flying rocket ships be- fore space travel existed. He wanted to become a rocket engineer, but didn’t have the money to go to Cal Tech or MIT. No problem – Lovell switched his goal to flying jets. “If you can’t go in one direction, you set up a goal for something else,” Lovell said. “A lot of times you won’t accomplish them but, when you’re striving, often you luck out and something else opens up.” In fact, if the NASA doctors had their way, Lovell would never have joined the space program, flown in four mis- sions, or been portrayed by Tom Hanks in a Hollywood blockbuster. Why? He failed a physical exam on what amounted to a technicality. A few years later, however, NASA eased up on physical requirements in favor of pilot- ing experience, and Lovell leapt at his second chance. To be a success, he says, you must persevere. “When you look at the end result today,” he explained,


“it’s easy to think that it was nothing but smooth sailing all the way. But perseverance was absolutely essential to get- ting to where I am.”


Ronald Reagan If there was ever a president who could connect with the American public at a basic level, it was Ronald Reagan. With an easygoing smile and a twinkle in his eye, Reagan exuded confidence and sincerity.


Supporters and critics alike agreed that “Ronnie” was a master salesperson and story-teller. Although critics often accused him of being “simple” or superficial, there was no denying that Reagan’s style worked. He could take a complex topic and put it into simple terms that resonated with his audience. Many of his profound one-liners created tremendous impact (for example, “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen?”).


Reagan used humor to disarm world leaders, audiences, and political opponents. Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “He calls up: ‘Tip, you and I are political enemies only until 6 o’clock. It’s 4 o’clock, now; can we pretend it’s 6 o’clock?’ How can you dislike a guy like that?” As much as he relied on friendliness, Reagan was no pushover. He made good on promises to fire more than 11,000 air traffic controllers for not halting what he consid- ered an illegal strike, as well as to shut down the federal government when he and Congress were unable to come to agreement on the emergency-spending bill in 1981. In 1994, 10 years before his death, Reagan announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In a hand- written letter addressed to the nation, Reagan wrote with typical eloquence. “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.” Reagan is buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California.


Bill Clinton


Bill Clinton seemed to reach the White House almost on the strength of his personality alone. Blessed with the gift of gab, Clinton combined a high intellect with an “aw, shucks” demeanor, which gave rise to one of his nicknames, “Bubba.” For example, Clinton was the brains behind the economic policy that decimated America’s record-breaking deficit and created a surplus of funds. How did he explain the complex plan to voters? “Bubba’s” single catch phrase – “It’s the economy, stupid” – cut straight through the clutter. One-on-one, Clinton wooed with his listening skills and


perceptive responses; with crowds, his energy and passion inspired and impressed. His reputation as a public speaker became legendary. In 1993, about to deliver a speech to Congress on his health care reform bill, Clinton looked at the teleprompter and saw the wrong speech. He signaled the mistake to his team, and while the teleprompter text flashed forward and backward as operators desperately attempted to locate the speech, Clinton calmly and with utmost self-confidence spoke for a full nine minutes before order was restored. No one noticed the slip-up. Once he left office, Clinton moved mountains with the Clinton Global Initiative, whose mission is to bring to- gether political leaders, great minds, and high-powered high-rollers (including Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch) to find solutions to poverty, religious and ethnic conflicts, energy needs, environmental concerns, and health crises. “By lifting the weakest, poorest among us,” Clinton once said, “we lift the rest of us as well.”


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