Once an Oklahoma Pork Council lobbyist, Gene Parsons now deals with motivational management on the lecture circuit.
"I have a great time doing motivational speeches because I always get a new friend and I learn something," said Parsons, 83. "My main idea is to share what they need to do to have a good life."
His business cards carry his motto: "A good attitude will give you more success at work and at home and will guarantee you a better life."
FAILURE BEFORE SUCCESS
His own "awakening" came years ago as the co-owner of Gilt Edge Farms in Norman, which gave him many sleepless nights because of the strong competition.
One early morning before a management meeting, he went into the bathroom, picked up a mirror and said: "When I look into the "¦ mirror, I have no control over what I see. But when you look into the mirror, I have complete control of how you see me, through my attitude."
Parsons changed his attitude and that of his two partners, which filtered down through the whole company. Eventually they sold the business, now known as Hiland Dairy.
In 1982, Parsons launched his seminars to improve sales, productivity and people's attitudes. He received the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Parsons has strong advice for anyone wanting to get into the risky restaurant business.
"Really, if you don't have some experience, get some," he said. "And if you really want to be successful, realize that you will work very hard and long hours, and there's no substitute for you being present in that restaurant. That's what makes it tick." "Carol Smaglinski