In his book, See You At the Top, Zig Ziglar tells the story of two friends driving in Alabama on a hot August day. They were thirsty and pulled up to a water pump in the yard behind an abandoned farmhouse. One of the men started pumping on the handle of the water pump and the other went and got some water from a nearby stream. In order to get the flow of water going, you have to put some water in. Ziglar says: “In the game of life, before you can get anything out you must put something in. Unfortunately, there are many people who stand in front of the stove of life and say, ‘Stove, give me some heat and then I’ll put some wood in you.’” Where I live, the farmers have started doing the work that is required to have a bountiful harvest later this year. We all know the proverb, “you reap what you sow.” You have to do the work up front if you want the results later on.
Succession Planning and Estate Planning is much the same way. You can’t expect the fruits of the plan if you haven’t put in the time and effort to make it work. To do so would be much like telling that stove to give you heat and then you will put the wood in it. It just doesn’t work that way.
Returning to Ziglar’s story about the pump, after several minutes of pumping the man started questioning whether there was any water in the well. He was getting hot and tired and decided to quit. The other man grabbed the pump handle and started pumping. He said: “Don’t stop now, Bernard; if you do, the water will go all the way back down and then you’ll have to start all over again.” Sometimes it feels likes it too much work to plan, like you will never get there. Unfortunately, if you quit things will slide back and much of the work will need to start all over again. Ziglar explains that you never know how many times you will need to pump to get the water. But, he says: “Regardless of what you are doing, if you will pump long enough, hard enough and enthusiastically enough, sooner or later the effort will bring forth the reward. I also know that just as you add nothing to the score if you stop on third base, you can’t quench your thirst with the water that almost comes out of the pump. Fortunately, once the water starts to flow, all you have to do is keep some steady pressure on the pump and you’ll get more water than you can use. This is the story of success and happiness in life.” This is also the story of success in planning. Sometimes it moves quickly and sometimes it takes years. But don’t quit. Keep pumping.