Preparing to Fail is the First Step to Winning

Failure

Some of the most important lessons we learn in life are from our failures.  They serve as proof that we are trying new things, pushing new boundaries, and welcoming the unknown.  John Maxwell, the famous inspirational author, says the quality that distinguishes someone successful from one who is unsuccessful is his “capacity to manage disappointment and loss.” He goes on to say that while we all want to succeed, we should instead train for losses.

From our earliest days as children we learn to accept failure.  We fall while trying to learn how to walk, or ride a bike.  We don’t make the team we try out for, or we do make the team but as second string.  We get accepted by 4 of the 5 colleges we apply to, but that one declination stings.  Failure is everywhere.

Imagine if the world’s greatest inventors refused to fail.  Everything from the light bulb, to air travel, from the television, to the computer would be at risk.  When Thomas Edison was asked about how many times he tried for the light bulb and failed he said, “I didn’t have 1,000 failures.  It simply took 1,000 steps to make the light bulb.” Talk about an optimists attitude.

Our challenge is to rid our mind of the negative stigma associated with failure.  Human beings by nature are curious creatures.  Asking “why” leads to testing new thoughts, ideas, ways of doing things.  In the absence of curiosity we would have never discovered new lands, new civilizations, new technologies, or new medicines to treat and cure disease.  So why is it that people run from failure?

I would submit that some people believe failure shows weakness.  If you knew…you wouldn’t have failed.  Talk about an absurd viewpoint.  The famous management expert, Peter Drucker, said, “I would never promote a person into a high-level job who was not making mistakes…Otherwise he is sure to be mediocre.” Many organizations reward status-quo.  Companies that find themselves on a winning streak become complacent.  Their leadership sits back to relax and enjoy victory.  The problem is, that while you’re sitting back complimenting yourself for being so brilliant, your competition is working feverishly to disrupt your success and pass you by.  It happens every day.

So shift your thinking from having to be an expert at everything to one of a beginner…a learner.  When you’re in a learning mode your mind is open to everything that’s possible.  When you’ve decided you are an expert your subconscious shuts down your critical thinking skills creating tunnel vision.  So open your eyes, let your mind wander, and begin to think of new ways to do things.  As John Maxwell said, “Mistakes are acceptable as long as the damage isn’t too great. It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow!”

Embrace your failures…with each one you’re learning, growing, and becoming better at whatever you’re doing.

 

 

Stop Hiding, It’s Time to be Remarkable.

dog

Long hair, short hair.  Clean shaven, beard.  New York accent, southern drawl.  Short, tall.  Heavy, slim.  Most people think of physical attributes when considering how remarkable they are.  Sure, David Beckham or Kate Beckinsale certainly turn heads but what truly makes you remarkable?  The answer?  It’s what you do and how you do it.

All of us have encountered remarkable people in our lives.  These are the people we remember.  The ones that made a difference.  They are the people that cared enough, shared enough, and gave enough to us that we walked away feeling beyond satisfied, feeling completely fulfilled.

The great author, Seth Godin, was one of the first to raise the concept of remarkable in his book Purple Cow.  Everyone can be remarkable. Few do, but all can. It’s a choice.  The fact is you’re already remarkable, you just need to show it.  We were all born with talent.  Your first job is to be self-aware enough to identify what your talent is and then live it.  Your second job is to understand your current circumstances and determine what actions you can take that will result in someone seeing you as remarkable.

Maybe you don’t want to be cold calling all day but that’s your current circumstance.  Your choice to gear up, toughen up and lighten up will come through your interactions as remarkable instead of choosing to be beaten up.  As inspirational writer John Maxwell says, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”  Not only is he right, but your attitude also determines just how remarkable you are, and can become.

Remarkability is not just about being different, or memorable.  If it were we’d have to include people like Hilter, Hussein, and Nero.  Being remembered is not being remarkable.  Being remarkable is having a positive impact in someones day, week, or life.  While others may define remarkable differently I would simply say that it’s about making others smile, happy, or feel fulfilled.  Perhaps that’s why nurses, pharmacists and fireman always top the list of most trusted professions, because in life’s most critical moments those are the remarkable ones we turn to.

Making the choice to be, act, and do remarkable things is all yours.  The world is waiting…needs you…to be just that – to be remarkable.

 

 

4 Keys To a Better S.A.L.E.

Improve

No matter if you’re new to sales or a seasoned sales executive, brushing up on your selling skills is as important as changing the oil in your car regularly.  Leave the oil too long without changing it and your engine gunks up, gas mileage deteriorates, and in time your engine will fail.  Knowledge is to the sales person what oil is to an engine.  When you stop feeding your mind new knowledge your performance deteriorates and failure is around the corner.  But with so many things to think about, so many calls to make, numbers to hit, you don’t know what to focus on first.  So here’s a tip that will keep it simple…just remember SALE.

The “S” in Sale stands for structure.  Every sales person needs structure.  Some people are naturally disciplined and have strong internal structure while others require help to remain focused and disciplined.  Only you can be honest enough with yourself to know where you fall on the structure spectrum.  Structure includes when you make your calls, how your desk is set up, and whether your car is cleaned.  Structure speaks to your ability to organize.  Stronger organization equals higher efficiency which yields better results.

The “A” in Sale stands for attitude.  John Maxwell, the famous inspirational author, wrote “your attitude determines your altitude.”  Having a positive attitude is essential to success in life and critical to your success in Sales.  Have you ever met a sales person who seemed like they were on their last leg?  No more gas in their tank?  How did that make you feel?  Excited to buy?  Confident in purchasing their product…from them?  No.  No one wants to work with someone with a poor attitude.  No one buys from someone who lacks confidence in themselves, their product, or their company.  If you’re honest enough to recognize you have a confidence gap – read.  Thousands of books and books-on-tape are out their that can help.  Take action.  Don’t let another day go by with a bad attitude.

The “L” in Sale stands for learning.  If you’re not a continuous learning become one…and fast.  Albert Einstein said, “You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than everyone else.”  The rules of the game are always changing in Sales.  Your customer is evolving.  The internet and its ability to provide mountains of information will continue to change the game for years to come.  Better educated customers and prospects force a sales person to constantly up their game.  If you think the sales skills that won you awards 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year will work in 2016 you’re wrong.  News flash!  If your buyer hasn’t already changed, they are in the process of changing.  Read.  As much as you can from as many sources as you can.  Commit to bringing one or two points from what you read that day into your sales conversations, then watch how your customer engagements change before your eyes.

The “E” in Sale stands for energy.  And lots of it.  Sales is physically and mentally demanding.  Some days are more draining that others.  Break up your day.  No matter how good you are you simply can’t sit and make 50 sales calls in a row without stopping.  While that may be physically possible, your energy levels will diminish and your customer will sense it.  Stay hydrated.  Drink 4 – 5 glasses of water throughout the day, or bottles if more convenient.  Stop for lunch.  If you don’t have the time for lunch keep an energy and protein bar handy.  You don’t want low energy levels to come across as poor attitude.  And make sure you get a work-out in daily.  Whether you start, or end, your day running, spinning, swimming or CrossFit, simply make sure to get some exercise in.  It will help keep your mind fresh, your energy up, and your endurance strong.

Happy Selling!