The following is the 8th chapter from Peter Nevland’s book, Wiener Dog Marketing. His interview with Roy Williams about the business lessons from the Buda Wiener Dog Races continues from where it left off in Chapter 7.

Peter: So if I’m a business owner, and I’m reading this book, and I’m not sure if I’m a wiener dog, but I really want to be a wiener dog… what does it take for me to become a wiener dog?

Roy: It really comes down to, “are you a wiener dog, or are you a wiener?” And whenever you say, “yes, yes, tell me what I need to do, and I’ll do that.” That’s not a wiener dog.

Peter: Mm hmm.

Roy: When somebody says, “tell me what I need to be, and I’ll be that.” That’s not a wiener dog. But whenever you say, “the wiener dog is a wiener dog already. They’re going to continue to be a wiener dog whether you ask them to be a wiener dog or not. You have to be able to name the mountain you’re willing to die on. You have to be the captain that says, “I will go down with this ship. I will give my life before I will abandon ship. I’m the captain, and if the ship goes down, I go down with it. I care more about this idea than I care about myself.” Now you’re a wiener dog.

Peter: We’re not talking about passion…

Roy: No, we’re talking about commitment.

Peter: Screw passion.

Roy: Passion is for weasels and nose pickers and whiners.

Peter: That’s right. Who go on treks to find, perhaps, the guru who will inspire them, the vision that will sustain them, the identity that will please them. We’re looking for people who say, “you know what, I already believe. I’m committed. You could kill me. I will not give up…”

Roy: When a person says, “I’ll do whatever I need to do,” that’s not a wiener dog.

Peter: Mmm

Roy: When a person says, “this is what I’m going to do no matter what.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: Even if it’s not popular, and even if it costs me everything. This is who I am. This is my identity. This is my purpose. And this is the end of my adventure. I will be who I am. I will be what I am, and I cannot change. You can’t create commitment. It’s either there, or it’s not.

Peter: Now it’s interesting, somebody can actually live their way into that kind of commitment.

Roy: They can.

Peter: It might not be there when they’re 25, but it might be there when they’re 40.

Roy: No, listen, it can be there when they’re 25 and a half.

Peter: They may suddenly… find Jesus.

Roy: Anything that happens that causes a person to say, “Oh, my god, I’ve been wrong…”

Peter: Ummm.

Roy: “…I have been wrong all this time. I repent. I change. Everything I’ve believed is wrong, and I’m now willing to die on this mountain. I’m willing to go down with this ship. And if you’re not willing to die on a mountain, if you’re not willing to go down with this ship…”

Peter: If you’re not willing to be wrong, then you fit the characteristics of the person who will miss the wiener dog.

Roy: That’s true.

Peter: Who will pick something else.

Roy: I’m going to say it even stronger.

Peter: Bring it.

Roy: If there’s nothing for which you’d be willing to die, you have little for which to live.

Peter: Mmm hmm.

Roy: And I can tell you right now. There’s 2 people in this room. I can name what you and I’d be willing to die for. It’s like, you know what…

Peter: He’s talking about himself too.

Roy: Listen, I know the two of us well enough to know what you’d be willing to say, “oh no, oh no, no no. If I had to give up my own life for that, sure I’d do it, of course I’d do it.” For your wife and your children and your grandchildren… Shit yeah. It’s like, I’m sorry. It’s either me or all of them? I’m outta here. Gladly give my life. See now, and the point is, if a person has nothing for which they’d be willing to die, they have little for which to live. And there are some people who have nothing for which they’d be willing to die. That’s not a wiener dog.

Peter: Ok, you talked a little while ago about a friend of ours who said, “I knew. I had come to the point where this was the final fork in the road. This was the final decision. I need to make this decision. If I make this decision, and I make the wrong one, it’s over. If I make this decision, and I make the right one my life will forever bloom, blossom and thrive. Talk to me about the dangers of choosing not to go with the wiener dog even when you know there’s a wiener dog.

Roy: Ok, here’s the thing. The only people who’ve told me these stories… I’ve heard from lots of people who said, (when I say lots, I mean five)…

Peter: It feels like a lot.

Roy: It does feel like a lot. When those people didn’t know each other, and they say, “there was a moment in my life when I knew, this one’s for all the marbles. I’ve been here many, many, many, many times before, but this is the last time I’ll ever be here. I’m going to choose right now. If I do this, I’m going to continue this way for the rest of my life.” They always say, “I knew that with all my heart. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew, if I turn this way, I’ll never turn back. And that’s the direction of my life forever.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: “This is my last opportunity to choose this other direction.” And they’ve been presented with that choice many, many times before, but when it’s the last time, the people who it had absolute terrified… It terrified them, because they knew this was the last time, and they said, “wait a minute. I will never have this choice again. What I choose right now is forever. I’m either going to go this direction and never look back, or I’m going to go this direction, and the door’s going to close behind me.” And I’ve heard people tell that same story that never met each other. And they have to search their identity. They have to evaluate their purpose. And they have to anticipate their adventure.

Peter: Hmmm.

Roy: And they said, “you know what, who am I? Why am I here? What must I overcome?” And that gives them all the direction they need. Now listen. If you’re not a wiener dog, get a job at the post office.

Peter: (chuckling) right.

Roy: They have good benefits. You can’t be fired. It’s a good government job. Your employer will never go broke.

Peter: Security.

Roy: And what I’m saying is, but if you’re a good wiener dog, you say, “screw it. I’m betting the farm, because I cannot be other than what I am.”

The Breakdown

I said before that commitment beats passion every day of the week. This chapter reiterates that and takes it to its most extreme level. If there is nothing or no one for which you would be willing to give your life so that it can exist or they can live and have a future, you won’t experience lasting success. I’m not advocating that when the moment comes, you will be passionate about dying. The only people passionately excited about dying are fools, terrorists or otherwise mentally deranged individuals. What we’re saying is that as a wiener dog, your commitment to the sake of something bigger than yourself will be stronger than your passion to escape death if you are ever faced with it. You fear death less than you fear living without identity, purpose and adventure. That would be a worse sort of death.

If you’re reading this book, I’d bet that you have something you care about more than yourself. Whether it’s your family, justice for a group of oppressed people, God, or a way of living that makes the world better. Shoot, maybe it’s all of those. The only reason you might waver from your commitment is lack of awareness. I’m challenging you now to document your commitment so that it’s obvious to you forever, not in your mind, on paper.

1. What are you willing to die for? What do you believe or care about so strongly, that you will do whatever it takes, up to the ultimate laying down of your life, to achieve?

2. When did you make that commitment? What happened that made you realize you were going in the wrong direction? How did it change the way you act? Write that story down.

3. What are you doing to fulfill that commitment? If you believe that strongly about something, there’s something you should be doing every day to move closer to it. If you’re already doing that, write it down. If not, write down what you will do, at least every day, to make that happen.

In Wizard of Ads terminology, we call this the ELBs. If there’s something we want to achieve, we commit to doing at least one thing every day towards it. It doesn’t have to be big. It just needs to be some activity that keeps that commitment at the forefront of your mind.

For example, if I commit to write this book, every day I need to do something towards getting it done. Some days I may write 2 chapters. Some days I may change one word. But no matter what, I’m doing something to move toward what I’ve committed to. Now, what are you committing to do to achieve what you just wrote down?

Wiener Dog Marketing:

A Silly Sounding Book for Serious Business Growth

available now on Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble and many other digital sellers…

available June 1st in Hardcover at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many others…

Read the rest of the series:

  1. An Introduction to Wiener Dog Marketing
  2. Wiener Dog Marketing: For the Love of Wiener Dogs
  3. Body of a Sausage: The Way Things Are vs. The Way Things Ought to Be
  4. The Wiener Dog Question: What Can You Count On Not Changing?
  5. Wiener Dog Focus: Helping the Customer vs. Helping Yourself
  6. Wiener Dogs on the Wrong Track: Having the Qualities of Success Without Being a Success
  7. Embrace Your Wiener Dog: Identity, Purpose and Adventure
  8. Becoming a Wiener Dog: What it Takes to Have Enduring Success
  9. Magical Wiener Dogs and Storytellers
  10. Follow the Wiener Dog: How Employees Become Wiener Dogs
  11. Once a Wiener… Repurposing the Proven
  12. The Heart of a Wiener Dog: Character Diamonds
  13. Wiener Dogs Forever: The Power of Crowd Promotion
  14. Are You A Wiener Dog? Last Chance to Commit