Archive for the ‘Matter’ Category

TOMS-shoes

You may have never heard of Blake Mycoskie, but you’ve probably heard of his company, TOMS shoes. They’re the company  that when you buy a pair of shoes, they’ll give a pair to a child. All told, they’ve provided over 60 million pairs of shoes to those in need. Mycoskie was once asked if his company had ever had one of those WFIO moments-one of those We’re F’d It’s Over kinds of situations. Chuckling today, Blake thought back and told of a time that just as TOMS was started to catch on, they began to fulfill the large orders rolling in until one day Blake got a call from his warehouse that due to a cheaper glue used, the soles were coming off of the shoes.  Faced with mounting orders-a reputation at stake, a supplier who had screwed them, and being flat broke, Mycoskie sat back and said, “We’re fucked, it’s over!”

After some heavy drinking and shoulda/coulda recaps, Mycoskie and his team made some adjustments and found a supplier to take a chance on them. With no money to offer-only potential orders, Blake convinced the supplier that if they could produce the orders to specifications, they would get their money. They took the chance…but Mycoskie took the first chance by asking for the seemingly impossible.

The story reminds me of the parable of the 5 loaves and 2 fish….with thousands of people to feed, Jesus took his eyes off of his circumstances and it is said that he looked up into the hills for the answer.

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See…the solution to your problem is never at the same level as your thinking. You’ve got to lift your eyes…elevate your thinking and take some GTF outta here kinds of actions.

Blake didn’t just sit there Indian style and just let life punch him in the jaw. Jesus didn’t just turn and look at his disciples, shrug and say, “Bruh I don’t know!” You can’t just hold onto the buoys of life hoping the waves will eventually subside…sometimes you’ve got to catch a wave and start riding…and when you fall off, you’ve got to get back on your board and find the next wave.

TOMS shoes said that if they were going to go down, they were going to go down swinging. They refused to back down to the problem-instead they would punch as the problem until they found a crack and once they found the crack, they would squeeze their fingers into the crevices and began pulling away until they found the solution. They lifted their eyes-thinking higher, so high in fact that because they believed in what they were doing, they were able to convince a supplier to fulfill the orders now and get paid later.

There’s a solution behind every circumstance, but you’re not going to find it thinking at the same level as the circumstance.

You’ve got to move from It’s over!  to Dammit it’s on!

I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop.

doubledip

As retold in Max Lucado’s book Fearless, reporter Bob Garfield tracked health articles in major publications and discovered that among other health issues, 59 million American have heart disease; 53 million have migraines; 25 million Americans have osteoporosis; 16 million struggle with obesity; 3 million have cancer; and 2 million Americans have severe brain disorders. Reportedly 543 million Americans consider themselves seriously sick…that’s a troubling statistic since there are only 323 million people living in the U.S. Garfield went on to say that either society is either doomed or someone is seriously double dipping.

We’re in an epidemic of fear …and while I’m not discounting the fact that there are some people who are obviously sick, I am highlighting the notion that many are living in a state of fear.

Fear sells. Networks, newspapers, the Internet -hell even your neighbor loves to serve up a good ole’ juicy slab of fear. Log onto Web MD and you’ll quickly be scratching your head wondering how in the hell you’re still living?

Fear is all around us….seriously.

What’s going to happen with Russia…what country is facing sanctions…who’s going to be called to face a Congressional hearing…what are the interest rates going to be…will the NFL commissioner get a contract extension…or who’s going to be the next President….man I have no idea. I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t have any control over any of that…so why should I be fearful over the things that are out of my control or likely won’t even happen?

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In sales, we tend to worry about what everyone else is doing.We worry about what the other dealer is doing down the road; we worry about why the top salesperson gets all of the “house cheese-” you know the one who gets all of the manager’s loyal customers and friends. We waste all kinds of time conspiring how one cat is succeeding when we should be knuckled up in learning how to be more consistent. And when something isn’t swinging our way-when Life kicks us dead in the center of our being, we freak out and double dip-pouring more problems onto ourselves…choosing to sit in fear instead of working by faith. 

Control the controllables..you can’t control the total number of customers that come through your dealership today, but you can control the fact that you grab your 2 or 3 opportunities. You can’t control how many salespeople the dealership decides to hire, but you can control what you do when you show up every day. You can’t control the fact that they passed you up for management, but you can control the process of starting to act like one-developing yourself as a manger so when the opportunity comes-whether there are somewhere else, you’re ready for it. You can’t control the weather, but when adversity strikes, you can control whether you’ll use it as fuel to step up or fuel to flame out. 

Control the controllables…play your game today. Stop double dipping in fear and start doubling up your efforts. That’s what you can control..and when you do..when you play your game, we’ll all benefit because you gave us the only thing you have control over….

….YOU…

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

multiplechoice

My daughter Mackenzie had a test coming up so we talked about her upcoming multiple choice test, then I had her go in the other room to study for it. In no time, she brought her worksheet back-all smiles, saying that she was ready for me to quiz her-only when I asked her the questions, I mixed up the her choices of answers. In other words, if the answer to #1 was “A,” I instead made “B” her first choice, “C” her second and so on. My intuition was right; Mack didn’t even wait for me to finish asking the question before she blurted out the letter as her answer-she got them all wrong because she had memorized the letter-she never learned the answers.

So much of what you and I do every day is through memorization-not learning. Many things have been downloaded into our internal hard drives from a very young age.  You’ve memorized the actions of others and today, you do many of the things your parents and family members did without even thinking about it. Every day you brush your teeth, bathe (hopefully), put your pants and socks on, drive to work, cook, and a thousand of other things without even thinking.

Every day, we’re picking the letter “D,” all of the above-we make decisions without challenging why we are making them.

If you find your career has plateaued; your weight is heading north; or your relationship has grown stagnant, chances are you’ve chosen “D.” You’ve stopped learning and now you’re just sleepwalking through life.

Life doesn’t have to be all multiple choice…as if there are only 4 possible options to choose from-no, from this moment on, start filling in the blank__________-a blank that YOU fill in…but don’t just fill it in with muscle memory or a I got if from my mama kind of legacy answer…

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Damn, go find your answer today…go find something today to put in your blank. There’s no right or wrong answer necessarily-sure you’re going to f’ up-you’re going to wish you would’ve done it a different way, but hell at least you filled in your blank instead of turning in your Life’s test with nothing put in those blanks….

This is YOUR Life…your blank…and it’s on you to fill in the blanks. 

I remember when I moved to F&I a little over a year ago. I hadn’t spun paper in nearly 2 decades so obviously things had changed. I’d gotten pretty good working at persuading and negotiating with a customer to buy a vehicle, but had lost the skill set and verbiage of how to handle all of the financing options for them. Life moved and I was forced to learn these skill sets again. I either had to adapt, gain my competence and confidence back or my career was dead.

Ask yourself this question today. “When was the last time it was the first time?” Think about that…when was the last time it was your first time attempting something new, different, or forgotten? That’s a question that stumps us all.

Toss the letters…

Fill in your blank today…

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

 

comma

Whatever you title is at work, chances are it goes after your name. For instance, I am Marsh Buice, Business Manager-there’s a pause after your name, then your title. There was a time when I said my name..(pause).. followed by General Sales Manager and when I lost that distinction-when I lost my spot, I took it really hard. I took it hard because the title that followed my name didn’t carry the same weight-it didn’t carry the same clout that it once did. It was hard for me to shake-I mean I’d always prided myself that I didn’t care about a title, but it was only once I was stripped of my title that I realized how much of my ego was wrapped up in that title. 

I had to go through a process-a reset, a remolding of sorts, to realize that there’s a comma after my name not a period. Where I found myself one day didn’t mean I had to stay there; instead, I had to think of the moment, as a pause-a pivot for me to re-prioritize things-to accept responsibility, learn from my mistakes, and to forever remain humble. When people that I’d known for years would come in and ask me why I wasn’t sitting in my old spot, without trying to tiptoe or spin a story, I told them I’d gotten demoted. Painfully embarrassing, but necessary. Quick, easy, and no story-line (i.e. lie) to keep up with.

When Oprah sat down with Joe Biden, he said as a Senator and occasionally as Vice President, he rode the subway home every night to be with his sons. He said the ride kept him grounded-in touch with those he represented. He was so common in fact that those who rode the subway with him or lived in the surrounding areas didn’t address him as Senator or Mr. Vice President, they simply called him, “Joe.” Often as VP, his Secret Service Agents would be caught off-guard because people would yell out to him, “Hey Joe, come here!”

Joe stayed with his comma…

Everything is in transition; we all have a comma after our name. You may be on top of the world and everything is falling right in place for you….or maybe you find that you’ve slipped-that you’ve slid to the base of the mountain you once climbed. No matter where you find yourself, realize it’s a comma. You can start to climb again-this time you’ll be better, stronger, more learned that once before.  And if you’re at your Summit of Greatness, remember too that there’s a comma after your name, because you can move in any direction…left, right, up…but also down.

A comma…

…..a pause…a pivot-a press of a worthy pursuit.

It’s important to be thankful…because wherever you are isn’t permanent…it’s grace known as a comma.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop!

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burning calender
You’ve got 53 days, a little over 1200 hours, or if it makes you feel better,4 million seconds until it’s January 1. After we smash the black eyed peas & cabbage- after we realize that we way overspent for Christmas, again, comes the realization that we’ve got to set some goals. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh Lord here we go again!”..coming soon will be a deluge of posts and podcasts of how to set and stick to a goal…and most of us-to the tune of 92% of us, will break from these goals in days, weeks, or a few short months. (If you’re part of the 8% who keep to your goals, you disgust me.)
My question is this. Why wait 53 more days? Why not make today your New Year- your January 1- your New Year? Who says we have to wait for the ball to drop in Times Square to start building a better life?
Starting is hard… it’s hard because starting is beginning again (for the 12,317th time).  It’s a reminder that we’ve let things go for far too long. Whether it’s in our finances, waistline, or our workouts, we stand there looking in the mirror or at our accounts and beat the hell out of ourselves because we’re not who or where we once were.  We sentence ourselves to eternal condemnation…if we talked to others liked we talked to ourselves we’d have no friends… which is probably why we’re not friends with ourselves.
So here’s the deal… instead of waiting for the New Year on the calendar… make a New You starting now. Start now and you’ll be 50 days ahead. Starting now minimizes the pressure – the pressure of “the New Year.” It eliminates the psychological pressure you put on yourself, because instead of The Date,  it’s just an early start. You’re tricking your mind in a sense because instead of going all Beast Mode in January, working out three hours a day and being so sore that you’re walking like you crapped on yourself – feeling so bad that you just end up quitting anyway, start now and begin building incrementally. Instead of spending hours, just bust a sweat in 30 minutes with some sort of physical activity – whether it’s three days a week, Monday through Friday, or all seven days, start incrementally building your way into the New Year. And as you start your physical activity, swap out some of the foods for better choices- it doesn’t mean you eliminate eating altogether, it simply means that you satisfy your cravings – that sweet tooth, for healthier alternative. See, starting early-i.e. now (yes when you get off today),  you’ll get the soreness out of the way, you’ll begin to make better food choices, and you’ll start building a new you in bit sized increments. It’s making the tiny course corrections in working toward a goal without the formality of a January 1 date.
If finances is your issue …oh I know you plan on making $800 credit card payments for 12 months come next year (probably once), but why not make nibble at your debt by making payments earlier- by paying an extra $25.  It’s not huge-and that’s the what’s great about this start, it’s so subtly simple, it’s easy to do and not miss…think of it as a momentum investment towards getting your debt down. Hell, $25 extra each week- the money you’d would normally spend on a box of fried chicken and Yellow Tail wine, will get you a $200 head start toward bringing your debt down – and who knows, because you’re committed to the act, informally, you may just start adding a little bit more to see even faster results. You’ve got to just get things rolling-remember a snowball starts with a snowflake.
Think about it, you can do this with anything in life… if it’s reading more, eating better, saving for that vacation, being more effective in sales, or even starting a podcast… my January 1 started in October. I’d been putting off doing a podcast for years-waiting for the perfect time, equipment, and material, and I finally decided to just start. I said for six days each week,  I would commit  five minutes each day to share something that I’ve learned along the way. That podcast is what you now know as The Sales Life.
Make your January 1 today.
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I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

CHARLIEPLUMB

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As told in the Team Never Quit Podcast, Capt. Charlie Plumb- a Vietnam POW for over 2100 days, spent many days hung on a meat hook and in total darkness-no radio, no TV, and no newspapers to stay in touch with what was happening in the outside world. It was so dark in fact that he couldn’t even distinguish colors. He goes on to describe that he and the other prisoners had nothing to do-all they could do was sit in solitary…but even in the horrible conditions he found himself in, he found that the solitary moments were some of his best moments because it spawned his creativity. It was in the solitary confinements that caused him to have to feed off of all of the life he’d lived thus far. And he wasn’t the only one…many of the POW’s did the same thing-one POW checked over his sailboat before mentally sailing the oceans while others played rounds of golf or recited long verses of poetry.

The solitude made them more creative…

Shrouded in darkness, cutoff from the outside world and likely assumed dead, his captors repeatedly beat him within inches of his life, but they didn’t want to kill him, they wanted to break him-they wanted to crush his spirit so that he’d kill himself. Plumb would bend often but he refused to break. His spirit never broke because instead of looking at everything that was happening to him- the thoughts of Why Me, the pricks of unfairness, the gouges of not knowing how much more he could take, he creatively turned into the deep recesses of his mind and brought into focus a life he’d lived thus far. With vivid creativity, his cell became mentally colored with cherished laughs, loves, and learned moments.

Plumb chose creativity over criticism…

Sales is art….

Life too is art…

Musicians and painters know this…every experience is a lyric; every moment is a canvas…

I’m learning not to be afraid-not to run from the solitude. We’re so busy running from here to there-so porous to the thousands of messages being hurled at us everyday…we’re so overwhelmed with agendas and obligations, that we’ve forgotten how to creatively make good art. We’ve put down our brush and instead picked up a gavel-we’re stuck-critically reminiscing the past and worried about a future that hasn’t yet arrived.

Recently, a salesperson shared with me that he’d started reading; the more he shared with me, the more excited he became. Today, as he stands in solitary waiting for the next customer, instead of listening to the negative chatter banging around in his head,  he’s now creatively folding his new knowledge into previous experiences that will in turn make him better, more confident and capable with future customers.

Today, don’t run from the solitary moments, instead embrace them. Find the creativity in the life you’ve lived so that you can better enjoy your life that is yet to come.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

bosch

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One of my favorite shows to binge watch on Amazon is the detective series called Bosch. In one episode,  Bosch picks up his daughter from her volleyball game and asks her how it went. Flustered, she got in the car and said that the other team was huge and annihilated her school. Bosch, his mind a thousand miles away, offered an offhanded apology to his daughter to which she quipped, “Hey, you can’t practice being taller…”

I found her statement interesting because she was quick to point out the one reason why they lost, but gave no consideration as to what specific leverages she and her teammates could’ve used to give them a better chance at winning the game. 

We do that…

We tend to point out the giants in our lives. We look at the one thing-the one obstacle as the reason why we cannot succeed. No, you can’t practice being taller, but you can practice utilizing your leverage points to better benefit you in sales and in Life. All of us-yea you too, have leverages-specific skills, talents, and positions readily available to use, yet instead of putting them to work, we highlight the one trait someone else has and discount the tool box of leverages we already possess.

We always seem to covet what the next man has…

I call this the McDonald’s Fry Syndrome. My brother used to come home from work late at night with a fresh box of fries from McDonald’s. They smelled soooo good and I would beg him to give me just one fry. (You know how it is-the next guy’s plate lunch always smells and looks better than yours.) The urge to have just one of his fries was far more powerful than the past feelings I’d had when I’d bought my own bag of fries. I wanted what my brother had…

It reminds me of the parable of the talents; two men reinvested their talents  while the 3rd one buried his. Don’t bury your talent-these are your leverages that you’ve either cultivated over time or naturally possess.

In sales my leverages are:

  • I’m 6’3″ so my height gives me a dominate presence.
  • I have a powerful voice that commands attention.
  • I’m insatiably curious and have learned to read body language.
  • My 4th quarter, seconds left in the game, experiences have enabled me to perform well under pressure.

All of these leverages have helped me professionally, but they’re no better than the next man. The guy who stands 5’5″ or who is butter-ball lovable, or soft spoken has leverages too because his height may not intimidate others; his weight makes him seem more fun loving and amicable and his soft inflection draws people in to listen closer.

Whatever you got, use it-whether you’re a planner or the fly by the seat of your pants kind, make it work for you.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop!