The American doctor who was an expert at sensory connection of the body, saving countless lives from choking to death by inventing the world-famous Heimlich Maneuver®, Dr. Henry Heimlich, happened to be the uncle of actor, director, author and business entrepreneur, Anson Williams (well known for his role as ‘Potsie Weber’ on the biggest TV sitcom rated show of its time, Happy Days).
Today, Anson is on a mission to building another legacy, by saving lives from sleep deprivation while driving, based on an inspiring life-saving innovative formula Dr. Heimlich provided him before his passing, December 2016.
Being in the product business for over 20 years, on QVC for ten years and maintaining a list of celebrity clientele, Anson has many stories and lessons to share. So, I wanted to know from him, what is the transformational “mindset” journey from taking an idea through research, design, testing and reality to then having it become a legacy? And here it is; 11 mindful tips he graciously shared with me:
1. Purpose First
– “For me, it always has to be ‘purpose first, profit second.’ If there isn’t a real meaningful reason there, I am not interested in pursuing it further. It needs to have a much bigger meaning than just the product. The purpose needs to have a story. What is the story attached to it? Like for me, it’s to stop drowsy driving. I discovered just how catastrophic it is. There are over 168 million drowsy drivers. And, it’s one of the major problems in the world. And, we are saving lives.” Arianna Huffington
, author of Sleep Revolution
, had even started a campaign on Change.org
trying to get people to pledge not to drive while tired as drowsy driving was tied to 1.2 million car crashes per year, resulting in up to 500,000 injuries and 8,000 deaths.
2. Know Thyself – “In other words, don’t be part of the crowd. You know, for a band leader to lead, they must turn away from the crowd. To make beautiful music, we need to turn away from the crowd. Find out who we are.”
3. Feel What Pulls You – “It’s just instinctual. An opportunity, and idea, is instinctual. You just know. It just leads you. It’s almost like a pull that takes you somewhere. Almost a destined kind of direction. And, a lot of times, even if it’s not your initial push, it puts you in a place to find where you’re supposed to be.”
I know exactly what this pulling feeling feels like. For me, I’m being pulled to a direction, for quite some time now; the Andalucía area of Spain. It feels like an energy keeps wanting to pull me there; connecting me. And like Anson expresses, it does feel like a destined kind of direction that ends up putting one in a place supposed to be. In November 2018, I will be presenting the neuroscience research behind my book, The Dance of the Business Mind, in Seville, Spain. Feel and trust the energy that pulls you.
4. Connect with Yourself
– “To feel the energy of the pull and the direction it wants to take you, you need to be able to connect with yourself. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of noise and you’ll be confused and there won’t be the clarity of exactly where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do. Plus, when you are connected, others will also want to help you on your mission. In my case, the media is really helping us get the word out there for my product, Alert Drops. Like, I was on the Megyn Kelly Today
, NBC show.”
5. Brainstorm with Someone You Trust
– “I called up my uncle, Dr. Heimlich, and I talked him through the product formation steps and he told me to absolutely do it. The key is calling someone you’re close to, someone you trust, and to get a kind of brainstorming kind of session and reconfirming the information that says, ‘Yes, go for it!’ So, it’s part of that kind of seeking advice and listening to others.”
6. Ignore Words – “People get caught up, they get caught up with a lot of icing, a lot of pizzazz. But, they’ve got to work through it. Just be an individual and stay independent from the public noise. They’ll be more people telling you not to do it than to do it. Really know what you need. Like a truth finder. Your instincts will tell you that this situation doesn’t help me. I went through this when I was going out with my first product with my business partner. We were very naïve and really didn’t know the way to go. Everyone said that you should do market research, you’ve got to have all this paper work and proof. Blah, blah, blah. So, we went to these companies and they had these graphs and the Harvard degrees and this and that, and oh, it’ll only be a quarter of a million dollars. And, I’m looking at this knowing it is a survey gathering information, finding out if they like it or not and why? Does it work or not? I mean, it’s basically all you’re getting. They make it into all these different complex reasons, but basically, it’s simple. Everyone’s saying, ‘Oh they’re the best in the business, you’re so lucky they wanna take you.’ Oh my gosh. Ignore external words and noise and connect with yourself. Thank goodness, I was connected with myself. For a few thousand dollars, we had detailed market research that we used very effectively to further our business. Again, that was a gut reaction. That was practical thinking. It was just seeing through the noise.”
7. Know Your IT Factor – “We know we have the only product, the only one that can save your life, other than sleeping. There’s no other product in existence other than a jalapeno pepper, that will give you what you need to avoid a catastrophic problem. I’m saying that because I know it. I researched it. Know your distinguishing IT Factor.
Here’s the other thing. Retail is a very, very hard business. Very competitive. Very hard to get shelf space. A lot of politics involved. And, you must build the product to where there’s a real need for it with the public. So, the buyer has heard of it, they know there’s traction. They know that it’s out there. They know that it’s important. If they’re going to give you a spot on the shelf, it can’t just be a really good product. You really got to get away from the noise and have that IT Factor to get on the shelf.”
8. Impact Society – “My uncle, Dr. Heimlich, said what I am doing will save more lives than the maneuver. He told me I’m obligated to do this now. He said, ‘It will work.’ And, that’s what started it. That’s when we started developing and perfecting the product, Alert Drops. And now it is recognized by the US Congress for making the community a better place to live. It goes back to having a bigger meaning than the product itself.”
9. Move Forward Yourself– “You know, 95% of products don’t make it. 95% of inventions don’t make it. But, 5% make it because usually the ones that don’t make it, takes you to a place that does make it. But, you’ve got to move forward. I just find a lot of people wanting everyone else to do the job for you. Many say they will hire the best, hire an expert, when it is themselves that really know what they need. And to do it takes discipline, takes risk.”
10. Look at What You DO Have – “Everyone’s saying what they don’t, no one is saying what they do have. So, everyone’s going into it negatively. ‘Oh, I don’t have materials. Oh, I don’t have this.’ No one sees what they do have that they can build and do something with. A story for you, about 50 years ago, there was a dishwasher at a restaurant. Who would think a dishwasher would have opportunity? Well, this dishwasher didn’t graduate high school, but had a very smart entrepreneurial side and some practical thinking. A smart kid. He didn’t like the soap at the restaurant, so he created a new soap with what he could find and that ended up becoming the soap for restaurants. He became a millionaire. He found opportunity in washing dishes. So, I’m saying it’s just a mindset, a time to think. It’s seeing what’s there instead of not seeing what’s there.”
11 Be on Top of It – “It’s always trial and error and it’s always fixing what needs to be fixed. There are constant problems to be solved. You learn as you fix. You learn to correct, you learn to solve problems. I look at it as a completion project. Like, I want it done. I want it out there. I want it in people’s hands. I want to save lives!”
The legacy is when your meaningful purpose, that was built through an emotional connected story lives on. Simon Sinek’s bestselling book, Start with Why, helps connect that story. Dr. Heimlich’s legacy continues through the Heimlich Heroes organization that trains kids and adults to save choking victims from death.