As you’ll see, this post, written by The Go-Giver coauthor, John David Mann is very personal to all of us in The Go-Giver Family. He shares the fascinating story of a young woman from Lithuania who over the course of a year and a half managed to fulfill a personal and business vision. And within her journey she utilized each of the Five Laws from the book. I think John and I both have another hero to admire! You might feel the same way after reading this inspiring story. Enjoy! – Bob Burg
In November, 2012, we received a letter from a Lithuanian woman named Neringa Oboleviciute, then living in London. Neringa was writing to tell us about a dream she had to bring The Go-Giver to her native country in a Lithuanian edition.
“Your book can change my beloved country. Even if it changes only a couple of people — every life is so worthy.”
She went on to explain, in passionate detail, exactly what this mission meant to her:
“On March 11, 1990, Lithuania had the courage to be the first Soviet Republic that declared its independence. A year later, in mid-January, when Soviet Army and tanks came to fight our country back, people came to protect TV station and parliament – without guns. I remember staying with my mum and my little brother at home when my dad went to one of the main governing places in my town. They stood next to each other, sang hymns, prayed, shared food, helped to stay warm in the cold night. The people who went risked their lives; they did not think of themselves; it was just not about them, it was about others, about their kids, future generations. And this is how Lithuania protected its independence. Fourteen people died because tanks drove over them or Soviet soldiers shot them, and hundreds were injured. It’s sad and inspiring at the same time, because hundreds or thousands could have died if they would have reacted — however they responded instead. People did not fight back using guns. It was sharing, giving, standing for each other that won a revolution.
“When I look back at my grandparents and parents, they were very so brave. They had hopes, and faith, and they helped and trusted each other. Sadly, today Lithuania has highest suicide rate in the world. But the truth is that deep inside of every Lithuanian I still see that person who is brave and giving.
“We cannot change history, but we can change the future. We need to look forward and start creating a successful story based on great values and helping each other. No matter what happened, the time has come to forgive, let go and start something beautiful — by thinking about others first again. We will fly high once we realize that our own success depends on how much we help others.
“People are saying that young people will emigrate and the country will disappear. I do not believe that! I believe Lithuania can fly again, but only if we help each other fly higher.
“I saw people start questioning their minds after reading your books in English. It also gave a great value to me — which I would like to share with those whom I love so much.
“As I said, even if one person changes way of life because of reading Lithuanian version of your book, I will be happy.
“I would greatly appreciate your advice of what my next steps should be to make this dream come true.”
We wrote back and encouraged her, telling her what we tell everyone who writes us asking about having the book appear in their language: that this would need to be contracted by a publisher in their country with our publisher, Portfolio/Penguin, in New York.
“I will find a publisher,” she replied, “and will come back to you again.”
We didn’t hear from Neringa again for the next year and a half. Then this April she wrote us once again to bring us up to date on her journey.
After five years of living in London, she wrote, she moved back to Lithuania about a year ago. She contacted two Lithuanian publishers; both passed. One didn’t even want to hear the book’s title. The other one, however, once they saw how determined Neringa was, offered their advice, suggestions, and connections, adding that she could call them any time with any questions.
Which she did. “Since our first meeting,” she wrote, “they’ve been there to guide me.”
She described how she started talking to everyone she knew or met about her dream of bringing The Go-Giver to Lithuania.
At first it was hard to talk about this, she admitted, “without being afraid of people stealing my idea. I had to step over myself and still do it. As you say in your book, sometimes you feel foolish, you look foolish, but still do it — only in my case I guess it was, sometimes you feel vulnerable, you look vulnerable, but still do it.”
Even without her asking for it, people began offering their help, and soon wonderful things started happening.
“I am still shocked how many people offered their contacts and suggestions. It’s as you said in the book: you get what you expect. If you stop expecting people to steal your idea and wish bad for you, they all start living your dream with you. Now all my friends want this book to go wild in Lithuania. It’s crazy!”
She contacted a foreign rights agent, who agreed to sell her the Lithuanian rights if she could have a publishing company ready to buy them and line up the necessary distribution channels.
So she formed a publishing company herself, naming it Kitas Gestas (Lithuanian for another gesture), and signed a contract with the largest distribution company in Lithuania.
Neringa translated the book herself, and now has professionals lined up to do the editing, layout, and cover graphics. She has talked with journalists about advertising and has plans for a website and Facebook page for the book.
That’s not all.
She has also put together a plan to use profits from her Lithuanian edition’s sales to distribute copies free in jails, orphanages, and other institutions in need.
Her brother has invested in her venture and become part of the company (he’s working on online promotion) and her mother, a senior accountant, is on payroll to manage the finances.
“This has become our long-dreamed-of family business,” says Neringa. “It’s amazing!”
This week our U.S. publisher, Portfolio, signed a contract with Neringa’s new company. It’s official. A Lithuanian edition of The Go-Giver, in hardcover, is on its way.