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Motivation 1, 2, 3 …

I was cataloging quotes recently when I came across notes I made after reading Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive ©.  It has been almost 4 years since I read his book – I guess the reading is the easy part; cataloging quotes for the writing part takes a bit more motivation!

The timing of this activity could not have been better.  Almost 4 years ago, I was in the best frame of mind in memory from a career standpoint.  Energetic, enthusiastic, dare I say “motivated”?  I used to say it took me over 30 years to find the perfect job.

As you know, every company with employees in jobs – directed by managers – defined by leaders – makes changes.  I have written about change-making many times, including this from Ellen Glasgow:

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Now, my company is making changes.  I’m keeping an open mind.  Change can be challenging for leaders; for followers, too.  We have all faced change in our careers, true?  If you’re like me, you know that it’s really not the change that’s the challenge.  It’s envisioning ourselves succeeding in our new role that can test our level of drive.

As I was going through my notebook to update my catalog of quotes I came across Daniel H. Pink’s thoughts about “drive” (ergo the book title).  A few years ago, I would have simply typed my updates and moved on.  Today, I stopped cataloging to reflect; to write.

I particularly enjoyed his breakdown of “motivation” in the business world, which I would paraphrase this way:

Motivation 1.0 was simple – it was based on survival from our primitive ancestors.  No motivation?  No survival.  Simple.

Motivation 2.0 evolved past simple as managers seek to control workers – it was and still is – based on a carrot and stick reward system with carrots or sticks being controlled by the managers to control the workers.

Motivation 3.0 – Solving today’s complex problems requires workers with an inquiring mind and the willingness to experiment one’s way to a fresh solution.

Motivation 1.0 sought survival.  Motivation 2.0 sought compliance.  Motivation 3.0 seeks engagement.

Daniel H. Pink

Maybe Motivation 3.0 is on the horizon; maybe it is being adopted in today’s workplace – Lord knows the term “employee engagement” gets lots of play.  But is it truly replacing the carrot and stick system that ultimately maintains compliance?  I’m not sure.

Daniel H. Pink illustrates Motivation 3.0 this way:

 

Imagine a manager or a leader managing or leading workers who seek “Autonomy”.  Imagine workers pursuing “Mastery” autonomously.  Imagine leaders, managers and workers collectively aligned with a common “Purpose”.  That would make one powerful company!

Yet companies are not static entities.  Times change and during periods of change I believe Motivation 3.0 intentions can be weakened from the gravitational pull towards enforcing compliance.  Control over workers using those darn carrots and sticks keeps reappearing.  And when control becomes the preferred management method, Motivation 1.0 rears its head, too.  That’s when employees say “yes” not because they are motivated in a positive sense.  Those “yeses” are pure survival oriented.

Motivation 3.0 is hard to attain and maintain.  But the combination of Autonomy + Mastery + Purpose is powerful.

During times of change we can sometimes lose our focus; lose our drive.  However, Motivation 3.0 is the place to be for the modern workforce.  And I believe we can all get there despite the occasional sighting of those old carrots and sticks.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  For many, every day is a struggle – sometimes literally between life and death.

I believe for most of us we have a choice; we still can control our mood; we can choose how we face each day.  But not for 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 42 years.  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”.

Happy birthday Eric.  I love you.

GAP

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Olympians all…

It’s hard to top Olympic longevity.  Per Wikipedia:

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια Olympia, “the Olympics”) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states … They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.

That’s 2,794 years (and counting)!

Are you watching the 2018 Winter Games?  What’s your favorite part?  Here’s mine from a previous Games:

Let your imagination put you in a grandstand at the Seattle version of the Special Olympics.  There are nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.  At the gun, they all start out, not exactly in a dash, but with relish to run the race to the finish and win.  All, that is, except one boy who stumbles on the asphalt, tumbles over a couple of times, and begins to cry.  The other eight hear the boy cry.  They slow down and look back.  They all turn around and go back… every one of them.  As you watch, one girl with Down’s Syndrome bends down and kisses him.  You hear her say, “This will make it better.”  All nine link arms and walk across the finish line together.  Everyone in the stadium, including you, stands up, and the cheering goes on for several minutes.  People who were actually there are still telling the story, four years later.  Why?  Because deep down we know this one thing:  What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means changing our own course. 

David S. Pottruck

The Olympics are a major TV event.  High drama perhaps; but has their purpose morphed? Originally the Games were religious in nature; intended to honor the Greek Gods.  Back to Wikipedia:

In the ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.  Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus.

I didn’t know that.

Here’s what I do know – Olympians are not limited to Olympic Games.  For many of us, just facing our daily challenges is an Olympic event.  For many of us, making ends meet requires an Olympian effort.

For many of us, each day we must set our mind for victory to avoid defeat

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

 

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will –

It’s all in the state of mind.

 

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

 

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or later that man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can. 

Unknown Sage

The Olympics will continue in the future.  For the rest of us; we will rise tomorrow; set our mind for the demands of our day; thinking (BELIEVING) “we can”!

Not something I would call “Games”.

GAP

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I’m Gonna…

Annual planning; boat-floating; achievement drive; creating memories; we’re one month into 2018… now what?

If we don’t intervene, the start of each New Year can look a lot like the end of the previous calendar year, don’t you agree?  Many of us have great intentions each New Year; some of us even make New Year resolutions.  That’s a boon for health clubs.  Weight loss goals, along with many other popular resolutions, recycle this time of year for many of us.

Resolutions recycle because of the high failure rate.  Here’s what the Google Machine says:

Only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures.

Count me in on the list of those with great intentions.  The problem is intentions don’t count:

You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do. 

Henry Ford

Nonetheless, I will try and re-try and re-re-try in 2018.  I bet you will too.  We vow not to get derailed by small failures; nor will we postpone our effort:

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Donald Robert

This year – we’re gonna!  This year, we will join those 8 percenters.  Of course, the odds are not on our side.

It’s curious why there are so many of us that share this dilemma.  I mean, we are capable; intelligent; even successful in our fields of endeavor.  But when it comes to self-improvement or self-discipline, we often perform worse for ourselves than we do for our companies, our clients, and our careers.  Disappointing.

I have spoken about the “Principle of Disappointment” before, meaning: Every day I know I’m going to disappoint someone.  Every day I know I won’t be able to complete every task on my task list.  Every day I start the day with determination to do it all, get everything done, disappoint no one.  And at the end of every day I fail – someone was disappointed today.  Every day.

It’s inevitable for me and I believe it’s inevitable for us all.  The better and more capable we are, the more we pile on to our daily To Do List; inevitably setting ourselves up for small failures.

If you believe (as I do) that we cannot avoid disappointing someone today, then the only question remaining is, “Who will we not disappoint today?”  Ironically, we rarely put ourselves at the top of that list.  (Google suggests 92 out of 100 of us don’t.)  And inevitably, we become the very ones we disappoint… especially as it relates to our self-improvement and personal development goals.  It’s a common trap

Life is what happens when we’ve made other plans. 

Susan Jeffers

No, we can’t “plan” our way around it.  And, we can’t avoid the Principle of Disappointment.  If we will achieve our self-improvement goals it will take focus; it will take a new way of prioritizing; it will take acceptance that we will inevitably disappoint some one today; and every day; but today, it will not be us!

This year I will try and re-try to put myself on the list of those who succeed with their resolutions.  This year, if I accomplish my self-improvement goals then I will become an even better resource for my company, my clients and my career.  A healthier, better balanced “me” is good for all those I care about.  You too?

This year – I’m gonna!

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior”

If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control”

The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time”

Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff”

The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management”

Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader”

A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy”

To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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Elephants…

One segment of the sales profession that fascinates me is selling “big deals”; “up market”; “enterprise”; “global”; “whales”… “Elephants”.  Many are enamored with the feast of the “kill”.  Few have the constitution for, nor an understanding of, the perils of the “hunt”.

Today, I do my best to support my clients in their “Elephant Hunting”.  I’m merely a guide however; having stopped carrying an elephant gun in 2011 when my elephants got away (see http://thequoteguys.com/2011/02/the-obvious-choice/ ).  My clients like that I know the language of the “hunter”; what to say; what to ask.  They also like that I know how to avoid the language of the “villagers”.

Big deal tracking is usually a quiet endeavor.  Not for want of self-invited guests.  When the boss hears we’ve got an elephant in the pipeline, she becomes our new best friend; along with product management; corporate executives; vendor partners; and a safari of followers.  Exactly the commotion the “hunter” doesn’t want.

I was speaking with a former sales rep of mine who lamented his disgust with his “elephant hunting” experiences over the course of a long and illustrious career.  Here he was, one of the best enterprise sales professionals I have ever known lamenting; lamenting!   It wasn’t about the financial remuneration or company accolades.  In my experience, it’s never been about the money (aka the “kill”) – it’s about the “hunt”.

Pursuing a big deal is as intellectually and confidence-challenging as it is exhilarating.  Exhilarating: as in exciting; terrifying; roller-coaster; nerve-wracking.  The exhilaration is the issue.  You see, “Elephants” are rare and missing the “kill” can be job-ending.  There’s also the negative impact of bringing in an “elephant” – only to have “the villagers drag the carcass off for their feast” expecting the “hunter” to simply go out and track down another.

In my wife’s business, a $500 transaction is considered “big”.  In the software business, many of my partners feel it takes a $500k level before it’s “big”.  I recently caught up with another former sales rep of mine who has been assigned a multi-million dollar quota from 13 accounts – 13.  I suppose if we were in the aerospace field, it would take a $500 Million deal before it gets to “elephant”.

Regardless, I find when a sales rep is working an “elephant”; it can not only be a lonely endeavor, but one that tests your intestinal fortitude.  Facing the prospect’s committee is tough enough.  Add-in lawyers (theirs and ours); purchasing; competition; plus, while tracking – worrying that “No Decision” is lurking in the shadows and will scare our rare “elephant” back into the jungle.

Still, all those pressures are trumped by the “village”.  It goes like this…  From our colleagues, every single time we see them – Hey Gary, how’s that big deal coming?  From our manager, every single time we see her – Hey Gary, did you close that big deal yet?  From corporate executives – Gary, you need to “commit” that big deal for this month.  From Accounting – Gary, you need to change the payment terms of that big deal to Net 30.

Even from the home front – Honey, when will you get the commission check for that big deal?  I wonder if she’s looking at our bank account:

Checkbook Balancer’s Law

In matters of dispute, the bank’s balance is always smaller than yours.

Unknown Sage

Enamored with the idea of selling “elephants”?  Be careful what you ask for.  To keep one’s sanity (and job), life as a “hunter” might mean living apart from the “villagers”.

GAP

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Who’s TOUGHER than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy the company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But business; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

We can all dream; and for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph.

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what’s called being a Road Warrior!

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”; “Road Warrior”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right. 

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Even without calling into the radio, Lou from Littleton would be proud!

GAP

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The trial and error train…

My wife was updating me recently on the remaining 2017 schedule of events her company will be participating in.  Coordinating business schedules is a common routine among married couples these days, true?

She is pursuing new business development strategies this year – including a handful of new trade shows.  We discussed the commitment; the time; the money; the risk.  We speculated on the trial and error probabilities reflecting on 2016; trying to learn from past mistakes; trying to leverage past successes.

Every time any of us tries something “new”, it’s natural to speculate whether or not such newness will be successful.  And as we all know, almost every new thing (aka trial) involves the risk of failure (aka error).  But to succeed, we must be willing to press on – move forward in the face of possible failure.

Virtually any endeavor involves such risk – a job change; marriage; having children; launching a new product line; investing in new trade shows – almost every endeavor requires a willingness to accept the principles of trial and error.  There are occasional exceptions:

Von Helsing’s Theorem 

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

But those are exceptions (and we’re not all sky divers).  For our more usual, daily adventures we press on; we overcome adversity; we risk failure in the pursuit of success – financial success to be sure; but family success; relationship success; fulfillment of life success.

Even when failing, we must follow White’s views along with those of White’s followers:

White’s Statement  Don’t lose heart… 

Owen’s Comment on White’s Statement  …they might want to cut it out… 

Byrd’s Addition to Owen’s Comment on White’s Statement … and they want to avoid a lengthy search.

So we jump on the trial and error train.  When we ride that train; when we persevere; many times great things are achieved.  Greatness as defined by financial success to be sure; but greatness has many dimensions – great families; great relationships; great levels of life’s fulfillment.

The tracks of the trial and error train lead to many destinations, some of which include expertise:

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field. 

Niels Bohn

Is it worth it?  Do we like the destination that train is leading us to?  Some have lost hope certainly; not every station is called success.  It’s sad to see friends or family members fail; heck, it’s sad to see strangers fail.  Failure by accident; self-inflicted failure; failure from natural causes; even failure arising from acts of God as it’s labeled in the insurance field – all are sad.

Feeling sad or emphasizing or helping those that experience errors is one thing.  Pursuit of our success is something else.  We can and should do all, yes?

Fall down seven times.  Stand up eight. 

Japanese Proverb

It’s more than having a positive attitude and maintaining that “I can do it” outlook.  Trial and error is the train we take to success.  It may not be the only train; some are blessed with life’s fortunes almost without effort.  But that outcome is rare and that train is elusive.

So yes, we can rise today and hope buying the winning lottery ticket will result in fame, fortune and happiness.  Or, we can rise today; face the risks of trial and error; accept that these are the tracks toward success – financial success to be sure; but relationship success; family success; fulfillment of life success.

Life – all aboard!

GAP

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Discomfort…

I chatted with a colleague over coffee recently.  We were discussing her experience and the parallels between acting and selling.  As an actor and a sales professional, she coaches sales professionals on presentation and demonstration skills (check her stellar work out www.performancesalesandtraining.com).

During our conversation something Julie said turned this light bulb on:

Sales success (similar to acting success) requires one to become comfortable with our discomfort.

Oh, and now I’m thinking discomfort is not limited to selling or acting, agreed?  I remember when my wife and I brought our first son home from the hospital after he was born.  He was lying in his crib in his bedroom, sleeping.  I turned to my wife and asked, “Now what?”  Parenthood – a lifelong endeavor of becoming comfortable with our discomfort, true?

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going. 

Unknown Sage

The more I thought about our conversation the more examples came to mind about professional discomfort.  I think about athletes calming their nerves in the waning moments of tight competition; the fame and fortune that goes to the few who made the “big play” during those “big moments” in that “big game”.

Then my mind flashes to the first time my granddaughter got behind the wheel of a car to start learning how to drive.  Everyone was seeking comfort with that particular discomfort; her, me; every other driver on the road!  And that discomfort is not limited to young people:

When I die, I want to die like my Grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep.  Not screaming like all the passengers in his car. 

Unknown Sage

My younger son was a rough rider in high school rodeo for a few years.  I can’t imagine how he overcame the discomfort of lowering his body in the bucking chute onto the back of a soon-to-be bucking bronco; settling in; strapping in; seeking comfort knowing what the ensuing discomfort will entail.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

Cowboy secrets to life’s success:

Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.

Never corner anything meaner than you.

I’m thankful Julie agreed to meet for coffee which stimulated this thinking about discomfort.  She clarified another aspect of my job I hadn’t thought of before.  You see, when I lead sales training sessions I like to take my class participants out of their comfort zone.  Truth be told, I do that because I remember to this day when I was the class participant and totally uncomfortable.

My very first sales trainer, Frank Justo in 1979, scared the bejesus out of me!  The role plays he took the class through were brutal.  Today, as I work with my class participants I smile; remember Frank; and think, payback time!

Thankfully, I came across this thought leadership suggesting one aspect of my approach actually has value:

Training Techniques – Giving Assignments

Hint: People retain and accomplish more when dealing with tasks they are not allowed to complete as opposed to those they are allowed to complete.  We are conditioned to complete things.  It creates discomfort when we can’t, but that discomfort also has a memory value. 

Geri McArdle

Julie summarized that reading for parts and rehearsing for demos whether young actors or old sales reps; are uncomfortable.  Immersing oneself into the role is one technique that helps actors and reps alike, become comfortable with our discomfort.

And hers were very comforting words.

GAP

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Turn up the music…

2017 is starting out with lots of challenges for us.  Dramatic change is in the wind (and all over the news), yes?  As Americans, the Executive Branch of our federal government is provoking great change.  At the corporate level, employees of my recently acquired company are feeling the impact of significant change.

The Co-CEO addressed our sales organization in January in an effort to help quell our jitters.  The gesture of his in-person address was impressive (and appreciated).  He was very clear on his vision of our collective future, however.  And change is a big element of his vision for a great future:

Comfort is not the objective in a visionary company.  Indeed, visionary companies install powerful mechanisms to create discomfort – to obliterate complacency – and thereby stimulate change and improvement before the external world demands it. 

Jim Collins

He asked us to embrace the discomfort of change and contribute to our company’s future success.  Many felt it was a big ask.

Change can be very difficult for us to deal with, true?  For me, it’s especially ironic to see how change affects those of us in the sales profession.  I mean, here we are the sellers of change when our clients buy our new products or services to replace their previous products and services.  Sales and change are synonymous, yes?  And yet, I find sales people in particular to be extremely change adverse.

My company has lost several people since the acquisition just because of impending change.  So far, there’s really been nothing materially wrong with our new parent company’s approach to things.  For most of us, our daily routine is the same today as it had been previously.  There are procedural differences; pay and benefits differences; internal systems differences to be sure.  But these changes aren’t really material to the valuable roles we all play.

Nonetheless, some of my colleagues simply won’t embrace the change.  Now it’s not my place to judge whether they’ve panicked or not.  It simply seems to me that they have chosen to depart before giving the new environment a chance.

When faced with uncertainty, where do we turn?

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. 

William Arthur Ward

OK, but while we are adjusting the sails how do we sooth our worries about change; how do we avoid panic?  In my case, I like to leverage music to seek peace of mind.

On the America front we’ve seen civil unrest in the face of change before.  This 8:43 YouTube clip is one example of music; change; and civil unrest: http://youtu.be/VhX3b1h7GQw

To me, music is a powerful reminder of change.  And it’s a reminder that throughout my lifetime change can be fun, too.  (We called our first band The Neighbors’ Complaint!):

So when faced with the possibility of panic in the face of change, I turn to music.  I was recently reminded by my Great Niece of the importance of music in our lives:

Whether we are faced with changes at our company or changes in our country don’t panic – instead consider the words of E.B. White:

I wake up every morning determined both to change the world and have one hell of a good time.  Sometimes this makes planning the day a little difficult.

And when in need of a little help to calm the jitters associated with change in order to have one hell of a good time; turn up the music!

GAP

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