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Football and life…

Football season is here – hooray!  Did you watch the opening games?  How ‘bout my Broncos!  Were they good?  Lucky?  Did Carolina blow it?  All of the above!

I love football (much to my wife’s chagrin).  Which is interesting because the sport of football remains branded in my mind and in my life as the one time I literally gave up and quit.  Yes quit. And worse, I let my Mom down.

Oh, I’ve failed in sports; failed in many things over the years.  That doesn’t make me unique; we all fail from time to time:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. 

Truman Capote

But quitting?  That’s another matter altogether.  It was my junior year in high school.  I originally had planned not to go out for the varsity team.  Coach Fischer had been my coach freshman year; he had just been promoted to varsity head coach.  He had brought my sophomore coach, Coach Trolliet up to the varsity as an assistant.

I was a starter freshman and sophomore years; played offense, defense and special teams; was a co-captain.  I suppose Coach Fischer simply expected me to continue playing junior year.  Problem was, I had a bad experience my sophomore year.

I wanted to play well, but I required more coaching than Coach Trolliet was willing to offer.  I think he expected me to be a stellar player based on my raw, athletic talent alone.  But that was the problem – “raw”.  I never learned techniques; didn’t really understand my positions; was mostly guessing.  And when I “guessed” wrong – well, there came the boom!  I was even benched once because my confusion was viewed as a lack of effort.

Public ridicule, in front of my teammates; in the classroom; or any other setting, was never motivational for me.  Had the opposite effect – it shook my confidence.  And in football (and in all of life’s pursuits) confidence is a critical element to success:

Confidence is an important element in business; it may on occasion make the difference between one man’s success and another’s failure. 

Alfred P. Sloan Jr.

So I simply planned to be a fan my junior year.  Coach Fischer got wind of it and called me at my home; asked me to reconsider; wanted me to play.  I agreed (but I probably wasn’t committed).

The first few practices went well.  I was motivated not to let Coach Fischer down.  Though still raw, I had enough athleticism to run fast; hit hard; catch; kick; stand out. Trouble was Coach Trolliet had different plans.  He thought assigning me to the 3rd string would be motivational.   It wasn’t; I quit.

I didn’t tell anyone ahead of time; kept it to myself.  After practice, I went in to Coach Fischer’s office and said I didn’t want to play anymore. Football wasn’t fun.  I turned in my equipment; left in shame.

The worst was to come – when I arrived home my Mom was surprised to see me; said she expected me to be at football practice.  And then she found out that her son had quit.  Of all the people I have known in my life, my Mom was the one person furthest distanced from “quitting”.

But I learned from that high school experience.  Turns out Coach Fischer and Coach Trolliet were “educators” after all.  And today I can enjoy being a football fan because football taught me the lifelong lesson that no matter how bad circumstances get – quitting is never, ever, ever an option.

GAP

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Time off…

I’m reminiscing about my just completed, 2-week vacation.  It was time:

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.” 

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.” 

“You must be an engineer”, said the balloonist.  “I am”, replied the woman, “How did you know”? 

“Well”, answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.” 

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”  “I am”, replied the balloonist, “but how did you know”? 

“Well”, said the woman, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.   You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to help. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.” 

Unknown Sage

So, I’m following Steven Covey’s advice:

It was the final of the lumberjack competition, only 2 competitors remained, an older experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack. 

The rules were simply – he who felled the most trees in 24 hours was the winner. 

The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the woods; set to work straight away; working all through the day and all through the night.  He felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win; because he knew that he had superior youth and stamina than the older lumberjack that he could also hear working away in another part of the forest. 

At regular intervals throughout the day the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop, the younger lumberjack took heart from this thinking that this meant that the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to just keep going. 

At the end of the competition the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won, he looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort. 

At the medal ceremony the younger lumberjack stood on the podium still confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack.  Next to him stood the older lumberjack who he was surprised to see looked a lot less exhausted than he did. 

When the results were read out the younger lumberjack was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had. 

He turned to the older lumber jack and said, “How can this be?  I heard you take a rest every hour whilst I worked continuously through the night, and I am younger, stronger and fitter than you old man”! 

The older lumberjack turned to him and said; every hour I took a break to rest and sharpen my saw.”

I love it when the old guy wins!

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  A common greeting these days, yes?  Our response often depends on our mood, true?  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; at least a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 40 years today – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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Still Stings…

Periodically, I’m reminded of past failures.  You too?  Oh, I try not to dwell on those negative experiences.

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

Easy to enthusiastically retreat to worldwide wisdom when thinking about a recent (or past) failure, isn’t it?  But a few of my recent (or past) failures stand above a retreat.  And when memories of those failures resurface – they still sting.

2 years ago I was asked to deliver a 3-day selling skills training class to a dozen of our newly hired college graduates.  Young; bright; articulate; enthusiastic… these young professionals have a wonderful career opportunity in front of them.

Somehow, their Sales Manager and her Sales Director seemed to think it would be a good idea for these aspiring professionals to go through my class.  It was the worst sales-training event I have ever delivered; and I’ve delivered a lot of sales training events over the past 20 years!  When I see these young colleagues and their managers in my office today – it still stings.

They don’t remember the details; they didn’t know any better; they thought it was just fine.  But I know better; and it wasn’t just fine.  Thank God for Mike Ditka:

Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.

True enough – I’m still kickin’.

I’ve had my share of failure over the years; professional; personal; you name it.  Makes me “normal” I’d say.

We all fail reaching our goals or managing our responsibilities from time to time, true?  And if we all waxed poetic after each and every failure, well there would be a lot of starving poets in the world, don’t you think?

They say the best result to gain from a failure is to learn from it; overcome it; and avoid repeating it in the future.

When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within.  Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target.  To improve your aim – improve yourself.                         

Gilbert Arland 

Easy to say, but a few of those missed marks still sting.=

I flunked Thallophytes my sophomore year of college.  The only class I ever failed – still stings.  That same year I missed a winning jump shot at the buzzer against Coe College.  I remember that miss like it just happened – still stings.

I can remember to this day the very worst business meeting I was ever involved with (even worse than that 3-day training class).  It was called an “Ops Review”; it was 1994.  I presented my plan for the sales team I was leading to our National VP of Sales and his staff.  After a string of successful sales years, I thought I knew it all.

My Division VP offered to coach me in my prep – but Nooo – like I said, I already knew it all.  It was the single worst business meeting (in 39 years of business meetings) I have ever experienced.   I can remember it like it occurred yesterday – and it still stings.  Thank God for Tom Hopkins:

I never see a failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

Today I have a healthy sense of humor.  Lots of opportunities to develop it over the years.  Been pretty successful too:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

Truman Capote

But every now and then something reminds me – and it still stings.

GAP

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Luv our job?

My job “has its moments”.  Yours too?  With today’s wired, always on, always available world, it’s easy to bathe in the waters of continuous, overworked stress, true?  If you’re like me, we need to find some stress relief opportunities throughout each day.  If I don’t – I can become an old-poop-in-the-face – pretty promptly. This is one of my stress reliefs; click on my view at the beginning of the route I take driving home from the office every day:

Rocky_Mountains

Our snow-capped, Rocky Mountains – Awesome!  They take my breath away!  They’re one of the many reasons I live in Colorado and love my job.  Plus, they help prevent me from becoming a fatty-grumba! I remember my first sales position in the technology industry and my first sales manager, Dave Schwickerath.  One of the long-lasting impressions he made with me was this:

If you can’t wait to get up in the morning to go to work, then you know you have the right job.

Dave may have studied Confucius:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Today, I can’t wait to get up and go to work.  It may have taken me 30 years; but I have found the perfect job. Now I’ve had other, stellar jobs over that 30 year span.  Learned a lot; made some money; had some fun.  I suppose all that “wandering” contributes to my capabilities to perform in my current role.  Yes, I “wandered” some throughout my career. But:

Not all those who wander are lost.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Without an extensive and diverse set of experiences, I may not be able to add as much value to my client interactions.  My job today may not be as fulfilling.  You see, my clients are another reason why I love my job.  Their encouragement and appreciation of the work I do, powers me to greater effort; and that powers me to greater fulfillment.  Makes my job fun! Maybe that’s how it works for Mary:

That Mary is the Under-Vice President of Expectation Deflations for the western semi-region tells you nothing.  That Mary is wicked smart, totally frank, and a trip to work with tells you everything.

Rick Levine

I too try to be “a trip to work with”.  I try to be awesome and enthusiastic – every day.  I suppose my style (and my shirts – sorry, inside joke) don’t resonate with everyone.  We are all “an acquired taste” I suppose – even the legendary:

People who read me seem to be divided into four groups; Twenty-five percent like me for the right reasons; 25 percent like me for the wrong reasons; 25 percent hate me for the right reasons.  It’s the last 25 percent that worries me.

Robert Frost

Well, I just try to continue to help my clients and colleagues while having some fun and making some money.  When I can help them realize the same degree of fulfillment in their jobs that I enjoy in mine, that’s awesome! And occasionally I need to remember to check my seriousness; my intensity; at the door:

Sometimes I confuse being serious about what I do with taking myself too seriously.

Tom Connellan

And when I see myself becoming a little-too-serious, fatty-grumba; I just jump in my truck and head home.  Looking at those snow-capped, Rocky Mountains reminds me to lighten up and live each day with awe and enthusiasm!  Hope you do too.

GAP

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“That man”…

I’m positively perky over a plethora of people who have progressively prompted my professional pursuits for prolonged periods.  Permit me to pore over a pair today – maybe you can relate.

Tony was one of my very first colleagues when I entered the technology business 35 years ago.  And Tony remains a good friend to this day.  Leading by example, he has helped me develop an inner sense of self-peace – maybe you can relate.

You see, when I was growing up as a young, sales professional, I was just good enough to seemingly always be in over my head.  As a result, I couldn’t rely on raw talent or innate confidence.  Throughout my career I’ve had to work at it and compete for it – every day; every deal; 35 years, and continuing.  In so doing, I’ve developed a tenacity that’s become my foundation for competitive success.  And I am extremely competitive.

Unfortunately, my unfettered, competitive foundation also made for an angry, arrogant, unlikeable, and somewhat paranoid persona.  I remember to this day my sales manager at Oracle taking me off to the side and asking me to dampen my intensity – I was intimidating my colleagues.  Intimidating my colleagues – at Oracle!  The original, “fire breathing” sales culture; developed by one of the industry’s original “fire breathers” – Larry Ellison.

My friend Tony can relate – he was a “fire breather” back in the day too.  But wait – when he helped me launch my consulting practice after I had not seen him for a few years, I noticed a distinct difference in his style.  Gone the “fire breather”; he was now a mature, self-confident, soft-spoken, executive.  When I asked him about his metamorphosis, he simply replied:

I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.

Adam was one of my very first colleagues at my current company – twice!  You see, I am one of those “break in service” employees who left and was recruited back.  And in the coming back part, coincidently I was re-teamed with Adam.  As a young sales professional – he seemed curious about my background and experience.  Adam has an intensity about him – reminds me of me, back in the day.  He has noticed the dichotomy between my present-day persona and “that man” from my “war stories days”.  When asked, I echoed my friend Tony:

I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.

To be clear, I still consider myself (A) in a bit over my head, and (B) a “fire breather” – some things never change.  However, I am trying to portray a little less intensity.  Similar perhaps to Stanley Gault, former CEO of Rubbermaid:

He responds to the accusation of being a tyrant with the statement, “Yes, but I’m a sincere tyrant.”

I wonder what man Adam will evolve to be.  He’s in the prime years of building his career.  Tony and I are at the other end: 

The young are luckier:  They don’t need to remember what the rest of us are trying to forget.

Jan Carroll

I’m a “fire breather”; following Stanley Gault’s example, “Yes, but I’m a sincere fire breather”.  My competitive intensity remains.  However I believe having such intensity, albeit best kept under control, is a good thing:

Don’t settle for less than your potential.  Remember, average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top.

Abigail Van Buren

I know “that man” I don’t want to be anymore.  Maybe you can relate.

GAP

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2014 – A year of Fulfillment?

Welcome to the New Year!  Will it be our best year yet?  I must admit, mine started off pretty darn good – I checked off one of my lifetime fantasies on January 1st – I attended the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.  Watched it on TV for as long as I can remember – always wanted to be there in person.  This year – I was – and it was awesome!

Of course when preparing for an excellent year, I always recommend starting at the beginning; in this case writing our 2014 Annual Achievement Plan.  Planning our year is more than simply thinking about a few goals.  Unwritten goals without corresponding milestones are just “hope”, and as the business book title suggests, Hope is not a Strategy©:

http://thequoteguys.com/2011/01/1st-rule-of-personal-business/

Nonetheless, our 2014 Achievement Plan should start with a point of reference: 

The first and most important thing about goals is having one.

Geoffrey Albery

Then, to advance our Plan we should write down our goals.  And when writing our goals, I believe it’s wise to incorporate the “Principle of Balance”:

Bus Plan quadrant

At work, many of us write business plans thinking only in terms of Financial Success, true?  Yes, Financial Success is important.  I remember while leading top sales teams, I would occasionally hear one of my Producers say that being Family oriented was more important.  I agree however, I also believe one of the best ways to care for my Family is to be successful.

Financial Success and Family are connected; but beyond finances, I believe in establishing personal goals for my Family role, too.  Writing down goals for our Family is quite personal – but just as important as any other quadrant in our Annual Achievement Plan.  Go on – take a moment to write down your 2014 goals for the role you will play with your Family; we’ll wait.

The importance of the Personal Development quadrant in our Plan is another key to success – as the business book title suggests, What got you here won’t get you there©.  Personal Development is personal; yet writing goals in our Personal Development quadrant reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Leading us to Fulfillment – Doug Larson put it this way:

Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours.

Although I advocate writing an Annual Achievement Plan; with measurable goals; corresponding milestones; striving to make each year my best year.  I also believe in the power of imagination; the presence of magic; and the purpose of Fulfillment.

The idea came from a former colleague of mine, Peter Goodwin.  He believed in the annual planning process, but added a unique twist to his that I have since incorporated into mine.  Each year I write down lifetime fantasies that if I could be so blessed, I will achieve – like attending the Rose Bowl Parade!

And when I do realize the Fulfillment of one of my fantasies, I don’t check it off the list.  No, it remains on my Annual Achievement Plan with the date of Fulfillment; serving as a constant reminder of the power of fantasy; the presence of magic.  And it reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Go ahead – update your list of fantasies in the Fulfillment quadrant of your 2014 Plan.  And “DREAM BIG!” with these goals.  James Collins in his book, Built to Last©, called them:

Big, Hairy Audacious Goals!

So here’s to 2014 – may it be our best year yet!

GAP

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R U Awesome?

Are you known as an “ace” in your field?  Are you, as the line from the movie Top Gun goes, “…the best of the best”?  Remember when Maverick flew through the jet-wash and his co-pilot Goose was killed?  Not so awesome. 

When I joined my current team, my friend Adam labeled our team: DFoA – Delta Force of Awesomeness!  I’ve quoted Adam before (see Sorry – I wasn’t Listening).  He now leads a new team within our company; leaving an awesome standard behind for us to live up to. 

I’d like to think of myself as being awesome.  My manager and my company seem to – awarding me very nice recognitions over the years and even citing my contributions at our most recent quarterly analysts meeting.  Maybe you too have received accolades; earned Presidents Clubs; and benefited from similar remunerations for being the experts that you are. 

But here’s the thing – such accomplishments are earned; one day at a time; one client at a time.  And the more I know, the more I realize what I don’t know: 

            To teach is to learn.

Japanese Proverb           

Recently, I led a coaching-event for one of my clients – I sucked!  Tough to take when you’re a member of DFoA.  My client didn’t think I was so awesome.  Now, I’m trying to regain the right perspective: 

I am neither so green that I can not teach; nor am I so gray that I can not learn.                            

That’s the thing about business in general and the sales profession in particular:  everyday, you’re either teaching or you’re learning. 

A poor performance stings when you take your work seriously, doesn’t it?  I mean here I was, requested by name (and perhaps by reputation) to work with this client, and rather than doing what needed to be done to insure they had an awesome experience, I let them down.  In so doing, I let my Manager down and myself, too.  I’d call that Lose ³.  Not very awesome. 

Oh at first I wanted to blame others; avoid fault; maybe “they” did this and “they” did that.  But no – I was the pilot; I flew through the jet-wash.  I’m still working to get over it.  It was so disappointing that I’ve literally lost sleep thinking about it. 

That’s the thing about being awesome – when you’re not, there’s no place to hide.  I‘ve done a thorough “post-mortem” to determine how to perform better in the future.  I’m following Gilbert Arland’s advice:

When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within.  Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target.  To improve your aim – improve yourself.           

I can only guess how my client feels.  Afterwards, their manager said, “Great job” and moved on; opting for courtesy vs. sincerity.  Two people, who weren’t even there, gave me critical feedback on pieces of the program.  (It must have been pretty bad to travel all the way to them!) 

Yep – I failed; flew threw the jet-wash; crashed and burned: 

            Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.                

Truman Capote 

I’ve tasted that distasteful condiment many times throughout my career; I’m quite sure I will again.  And I know Adam would expect the same from me today that he now expects from his new team; and what I bet you expect from yourself as well – get back up; go out there; and taste awesome again! 

GAP 

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How to have a winning day…

I’ve enjoyed surrounding myself with smart, successful, professional people.  Since I began my career in that innocent state of cluelessness, I felt the best chance I had for success was to do what they did – sort of a “paint-by-numbers” approach.  Well, three decades later I’m still “painting” – and if I can do it, just think what you can do!

I’ve known several great sales professionals:  I worked along side many; managed a few; reported to one; and learned from them all.  I still stay in touch with some of these colleagues (thank you Linked In).  I have even created my own, “Sales Hall of Fame”.  And next to the name of each of the best sales people I’ve known I have reminded myself of exactly what makes them great.  Yep; still “painting-by-numbers”.

These great sales people have many things in common.  For instance, they are all wealthy (Duh!). They have the “earned wealth” kind, not the, “inherited-from-their-families” kind.  Also, they are extremely competitive; very smart; keenly skilled; unbelievably smooth; totally articulate; and quite worldly; again, no surprises.

Some are more personable than others. (Yes, arrogance can creep into successful, self-made sales professionals.)  A few are older than me; most are younger; all of them are the best-of-the-best in their field.

And I’m still learning from them – every day.  Sometimes it’s something new; often times it’s a reminder of the basic principles from those Hall of Famers that came before me.  I mean, if there are time-tested principles why not leverage them?

One example is from Gary Givan, a great salesman I used to work with – the principle of having a good day.  He used to say;

Focus on having a good day, every day; and the year will take care of itself.

Sage advice for us all, yes?  Over the years I’ve found extensions to this principle – along the lines of the “How” vs. the “What”:

How to have a Winning Day 

      1. You have to listen more than you talk…

      3. You have to smile more than you frown…

     10. You have to be fascinated more than you’re

             frustrated…

     15. You have to believe in yourself more than

                     you doubt yourself.

     16. You have to work more than you whine.

     17. You have to do more than you don’t.

Rob Gilbert

Do more than you don’t – I especially like that one!  When you’re having a tough time one great remedy is to just go sell somebody something!  (OK; easier said than done sometimes; but a great remedy nonetheless.)

The nice thing about focusing on one day at a time is that it’s just one day.  Some days we win; some we lose; and some get rained out; but tomorrow is always another day and another opportunity to succeed.  I guess I should add resiliency; mental toughness; and the ability to try and try again to my list of attributes successful people have.  William Feather described it this way:

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.

And while we’re hanging on; one day at a time; we can narrow our focus to simply trying to make today a good day.  Oh, and one more tip (from our favorite, unknown, pet loving Sage) regarding the “How”:

Wag more than you bark.

Today – may you the feel the peace and leverage the power of a positive perspective!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

What do I know?

I was working with a stellar sales team in Canada last week.  The total years of knowledge and experience in the room was awesome!  But… 

Why is it that in business, generally, and the sales profession in particular, the more we know and the more experience we have the more we assume we know?  I mean, what do I know? 

Who knew a camel could be featured by an insurance company in a commercial for a national advertising campaign?  (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBhP0EQ1lA )  For the record, I didn’t understand the term “hump day” until a just couple of years ago.  See what I mean – what do I know? 

So I’m working with this team of highly experienced business owners and sales professionals last week, practicing discovery skills; using a case study.  In the case study, one of the company’s goals is to increase annual revenue from $30 Million to $100 Million in 3 years. 

OK – it’s a case study for a selling skills class – but the presumptuous reaction from class participants was amazing.  “No way” was the consensus; “Gary, that’s a hope, not a goal” they insisted.  This company could not possibly grow from $30 Million to $100 Million in 3 years! 

Wow – such enthusiasm!  It reminded me of those that poke fun at the highly educated: 

What has been suspected for quite some time about young men with MBA’s – seldom right, but never in doubt. 

To be fair to our sales brethren from the north, I get the same reaction from highly skilled and knowledgeable sales professionals in my Denver classes, too.  Why do you suppose this happens?  Is it that if we have not accomplished the feat ourselves, it can’t be done?  Here’s how our favorite Unknown Sage looks at it: 

            People can be divided into three groups: 

1. Those who make things happen,

2. Those who watch things happen, and

3. Those who wonder what’s happening.                                 

Which group are you in? 

One of the aspects I enjoy the most about the sales profession is all of the things I get exposed to that I don’t know about.  I am easily awed I guess.  Take Oracle Corporation for instance.  In 1985 Oracle’s annual revenue was $26 Million; it reached $1 Billion in 1991!  Or, take Crocs; 5 years following their 2006 IPO sales exceeded $1 Billion! 

But, what do I know about technology or plastic shoes?  And am I really so smart and so experienced that I can tell which prospect will be the next Oracle or the next Crocs?  Put me in Group #3 above, please: 

            I’m living each day with awe and enthusiasm! 

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary offers us this about “awe”: 

     Synonyms; 

admiration, amazement, astonishment, wonder, wonderment 

Now we’re talking! 

And Winston Churchill offered us this about “enthusiasm”: 

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. 

Successful prospects are willing to face the challenges of moving from failure to failure in their search for success.  And I’m willing to help them.  Of course, we have our own challenges in the sales profession when calling on prospects: 

After all; the difference between cluelessness and greatness to the outside observer is often imperceptible. 

But what do I know about a prospect’s ability to reach their goals?  I’m very content being categorized in Group #3 above.  I simply strive, enthusiastically, to make a living selling to prospects that are in Group #1. 

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.