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!

 

 

JACKSON JORDAN

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When legendary coach Phil Jackson was asked what was one of his greatest failures that later became one of his greatest assets, he recounted a time when he was playing for the New York Knicks that he’d suffered a debilitating back injury that had him sidelined for the season-the only thing he could do was watch his team win …without him. Not only was he physically injured, but he was emotionally injured as well.

As Jackson evolved from player to coach, the injury-what was once his lowest point in life became one of his greatest assets. Because of his injury and the aftershocks that ensued, Coach Jackson was able to get on his players’ level and get through to them because  he knew how his players felt not only physically but psychologically as well.

No experience is wasted…

You’ve gone through and experienced many hardships in life-not because life just likes to F with you-you’ve stooped into and rose from some of the lowest moments and captured wisdom in the process. But your wisdom isn’t all for you-wisdom isn’t life’s Grammy Award dished to you because you made it. The storied, low moments that you’ve gone through are meant to be shared through the relationships of those who are going through today.

In Life, we wear masks. We hide behind all kinds of masks in order to make it look like that we have it all together-that we’re OK, when in fact we are not. People aren’t starving to follow perfect people-people are yearning to follow imperfect people-those who are willing to share the tastes of their failures-those who are willing to raise their sleeves of life and show their scars just to let you know that you are not the only one. 

I know what it’s like to be picked last on every team…

I know what it feels like to have family members turn away and tell you that if you walk out don’t ever come back…

I know what it feels like to have my car repo’d, wages garnished, lights cut off, and to sit and wait for emergency food stamps…

I know what feels like to fail with the last 8,9,10 out of 10 customers…

I know what it feels like to have a negative balance in your checking account and what it’s like to start all over again…

I know what it’s like to feel shattered and it’s because I’ve been broken into a million pieces that I can sort through the pieces in order to rebuild a more refined life.

But my pieces aren’t only for me…some of my pieces are meant to be shared with others-to take fragments of my life to help others rebuild their fragmented lives as well.

Don’t waste your experiences…don’t hold them inside in order to hide from the world-they’re meant to be shared to help others while healing yourself.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop!

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measuringtape

The other day I ran into a friend of mine and before I could say anything, he slapped his stomach saying, “Man I’ve lost it…I just can’t get back on track and I’ve started gaining weight again.” I cut him off in mid-explanation and told him that it was OK. “Yes, you weigh more than you did a few months ago, but you still weigh less than you did years ago…just get back up and get back in-you’re still in the game!” 

I think we do what Gary did-we compare who we were to who we are today. We compare the summits-the mountaintop, holy grail accomplishments of yesterdays to the valley we find ourselves in today. We do it when it comes to weight loss, finances, relationships, careers-even our spirituality. We get so down and beat ourselves up so bad that we feel that we can never go back to who we once were.

And you know what? You are right…

You can’t go back to what you were because who you were or what you accomplished then was fitted specifically for that mindset and situation. Something drove you to climb that mountain then…now something’s got to drive you to climb back up it again today. Not only are you capable, but you’re also cultivating your grit and perseverance. You need the struggles-you need the fights in order to grow in the unchallenged recesses of your being.

If you’re in sales, to figure out how many customers you need to work with in a month (or final week of the month),  take your delivery percentages and divide it by your goal-there’s your number. Divide that number by the number of days left and get to steppin’-notice those numbers have zero to do with rebates, interest rates, or weather. It’s a number…now go get that number.

The relationship you once had with him is not-nor will it ever be what it was when you first met. Stop bashing him and reminding him of what he once was. You ain’t getting him back, but you do have a version of him today. Figure out what you both want and need and get to steppin’ in that direction.

If you’ve maxed out all of your credit cards-stop reminding yourself that you were once debt free. You’re not now, so figure what can you do now (not then) and get to steppin’ in that direction.

The world is tough enough, but hell, we’re even tougher on ourselves. The world just picks on you-we condemn ourselves. 

Today, draw the line in the sand and don’t cross back over it. NO EXCEPTIONS! Your excuse jar is empty, and your exception account is overdrawn. When you draw the line, you cannot allow cravings to creep back in. Like Gary did, once he made the exception to taste a little bit of fried food, he kept on moving the line-making “just one more” exception.

The 1’s add up.

Determine what are the actions that are triggering negative behavior. For me, when I vowed to lose weight, I knew that when I drank liquor I made exceptions and overate. I made one adjustment-when I came home from work instead of grabbing a beer, I quickly grabbed my running shoes and went right back outside. I didn’t give myself time to make another exception.

The first thing I want you to do it L.I.G.-let who you were go and focus on who you are right now. Today is a new day of opportunities-force yourself back in the game and get to steppin’. You did it once…you’ll do it again.

Go find your new summit.

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Musician Waka Flocka powerfully said, “Comparison is the thief to potential..” (you may want to read that a few times).

We’re always trying to compare ourselves to others, aren’t we? Businesses even do it. One business sells to another for $1 billion so the another business erroneously thinks they should be able to sell for a half mil. Dealerships are always comparing themselves to the next one down the street. Businesses compare, but so do you and I. The problem is when you compare yourself to others, you’re putting a baseline on your abilities and a headboard-or a cap on your potential. When you compare the accolades of others, you’re capping your own potential because you think that is the end of the road-the summit of success and it is not. You have no idea what you’re truly capable of…

Who cares?

Who cares if it takes you 7 years what took the other person 7 months. Good job to the one who lost weight in 9 months, but it takes me 2 years.

How long it takes is irrelevant. How much focus you have in your efforts is the only thing that matters. Stop trying to put certainty on a future of uncertainty-a future that has not even been written for you yet. Your future will be written in the ink of your sweat and it’ll exceed your wildest expectations. 

But…

You’ve got to stop looking side to side. Look from side to side for motivation. Look from side to side  to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of others, but do not look side to side in comparison to where they are now. You’re an unfinished work.

Keep your head straight..pick a point and look ahead. Run your race-put in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Whatever it takes.

When you W.I.N… when you do What Is Necessary, you’ll have had done it your way on your dime and in your time.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

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We always say, “Back in the days,” right? But it’s really never that way, saying it has a nice jingle to it, but it’s actually, “Back in the moments,” because as author Dan Milman says, “We don’t remember days, we remember the moments and it’s in those moments that determine the quality of our days.”
You have 2 of the toughest jobs ever-Sales & Life, which is why I call the podcast, The Sales Life,  because we’re all selling our way through Life. But when it comes to selling as a profession, we litterally walk out of our door every single day to fail. Because of the rejection, we’ve got to remember the moments-the moments when you were able to be a part of your customer buying their first vehicle; the moments they received a pay raise and wanted to treat themselves; the moments that they received a windfall of cash…or the moments they’ve had to start over-rebuilding not only their credit, but their lives as well.
Moments…
Moments that you shared with customers that you’ve known for decades-walking with them through various phases of their lives…
Moments when you the family embraced you as you came to pay your final respects…
See, the moments will push you through the days.
The days that you don’t know if you have the strength to go on.
The days when you struggle to get customer’s to say yes after hearing your landlord say no to letting you pay your rent a little late. The days where nothing seems to go your way- the day ending so bad that your car won’t even start so you can leave that night.
The days are tough…
So it’s important to remember the moments because it’s in those wonderful moments that determine the quality of your days. I like to say that the days are your experience and it’s through the experiences that cultivate your moments of wisdom. Moments determine the quality of your days.
I hope you have a good “moment” today.
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