Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on Tue Jan 31 2006

If you’d like to make a big change in your life but are afraid, I’ve got quite a story for you.

It’s about an entrepreneur who had things go terribly wrong until he took an action that made all the difference for him and if you took a similar action, it could make all the difference for you as well.

His email message describes what had been his sorry state of affairs.

“Flat broke, $30,000 plus in debt, maxed out credit cards, negotiated store credit for first laptop and printer at Best Buy since my credit cards were full, business partner that was addicted to cocaine (which I didn’t know when I went into the venture), cease and desist lawsuits from former employer, etc. etc.”

This email is from Tom Ruff and despite that terrible start; he built a very successful recruitment firm and he uplifted his life. Here is his story.

After graduating from college in 1989, Ruff joined a Chicago management recruitment firm and through long hours of hard work, he became their top recruiter and remained their top recruiter for the next three years.

In 1992, the firm sent Ruff and another man to Los Angeles to open a satellite office but soon, the two men quit to form their own recruitment firm. After struggling for several months, their business jelled and they hired three recruiters and added office space and equipment.

To pay for this expansion, Ruff charged it to his credit cards, which seemed fine because the firm kept adding new clients and was doing well.

Then one day with no notice, his partner missed a client meeting. Ruff’s phone calls to him went unreturned and after two days passed, the partner showed up and said he’d had the flu and had been too sick to call.

For the next month, everything got back to normal. Then again with no notice, the partner missed another client meeting. Once again he didn’t return Ruff’s calls and after two days, turned up and said he’d been partying with old friends but everything would be fine.

Two weeks later, it happened again and when Ruff confronted him, he acknowledged that he had cocaine and alcohol problems. He assured Ruff he’d get help but two weeks passed and he got no treatment, no help.

Ruff felt compassion for this man but feared the business would collapse and take his reputation and financial security with it. He wanted to end their partnership and the partner reacted angrily, shouting at Ruff but ultimately they hired a mediator and dissolved the partnership.

Ruff was deeply in debt and wasn’t sure what to do next. He said, “I went to Hermosa Beach (CA) and went for a run. At the end of my run, I sat on the sand and decided to change every aspect of my life: spiritually, financially, mentally and physically. When I sat out there, I broke down in tears, I began to cry.”

He realized he’d neglected his family and friends, had stopped working out and had begun eating junk food. His entire life had become long hours of work and now all he had to show for it was a dissolved partnership and a pile of debts. He said to himself, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

“I went back to my home and I wrote, ‘Today is the day I turn the corner and no longer accept mediocrity. I am the master and in complete control of my destiny’ and signed it; Thomas Ruff, November 9th, 1994.”

Ruff then took action. He believes in setting goals and that’s what he did. “I don’t know how the mystery of goal setting works but I can tell you there is a power, a force, things start happening on your behalf when you’re that clear on what you want.”

He started what is now Tom Ruff Company in Manhattan Beach, CA, a specialist in medical and pharmaceutical sales recruiting. “I had no employees. I did everything through an executive suite and I did everything myself for a year and a half.”

Within six months, he was out of debt and making money. He’d also regained the balance in his life, enjoying family and friends, workouts and healthy eating. His life became fun again.

Today, his successful firm has two offices and places about 150 people a year in professional positions. Ruff adds, “I feel so fortunate and I’m blessed to have gotten this opportunity.”

Success Tip of the Week: Like Tom Ruff, if you want to make an important change in your life, set a clear goal with a time frame and act on it. Even if you don’t initially attain your goal, you’ll begin to make progress on it and be much happier than you are today.

In the next KazanToday, A fascinating man who had little money but if measured in the love and respect thousands of people held for him; he was vastly wealthy.

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Many of these short stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
2005 Kazan Today