You. The Individual

It’s been 12 weeks since Ben asked me to help with his individual ‘offer.’

He has worked hard in the transition from back-room support act to become Managing Director of the family firm, the organisation that had earned his mum and dad a reputable business, a healthy clientele and a good living.

We had just left a brand new prospect for business. ‘Smithy’ and his board, are now asking for more. More on prices, more about deadlines and more about styles from Ben’s bespoke product range – always a sign of good things to come.

So I thought.

No regrets, no more looking back Ben?

‘I do understand the legacy I’ve inherited Charlie although I’m all too aware that I’m not my father! I feel inadequate that I can’t deliver his depth of knowledge, his connectivity or the rapport that I feel I need to deliver on behalf of those prospects looking for more.’

Ben, who was that in there? Smithy and his team don’t even know your father, they know the family reputation and now it’s all about you! Just have faith in the follow-up and your abilities.

Bring the individual offer to the table, be prepared to make stupid mistakes, do boring stuff, make idle conversation and be the difference that separates you and dad.

Self-confidence comes with the qualification of success Ben, you are certainly not your father (a strong character with an overriding presence) and although you should, of course, follow his example … it’s equally important to develop your own persona – clients like ‘Smithy’ are indeed asking for more, that’s great – more from Ben, no-one else.

Your existing customers already know the company, right?

The exciting thing is, after three short months they’re starting to get to know you now Ben – just as you are finding your feet, your own network is learning too. Be different … please … try NOT to fit in, you don’t have to ‘fit in’ everywhere, right?

It’s ok to be individual Ben, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, they just don’t come close.

People buy from people, be the change you represent and people will love you for it.

My best friend

“I’ve had enough.”

Many times I’d heard this from Alice and never really listened … now I couldn’t help but notice, as she uttered the words, the decibels were definitely a notch or two up on ‘the norm’ and I noticed also, she didn’t look particularly happy.

‘It’s too hard, they’re not listening to me, I’m not getting a return on my calls either.’

Alice is our sales lead, she is very good at her job, connects with people, emotive and knows when to ‘close.’ Alice is a valuable ally. Sales was something I was involved with some years ago so I could in part understand her frustration, although there was something else bugging her, I could tell, good at connecting yes, but I sense she’d lost the connection with herself.

Her ‘best friend’ was copping a verbal battering:
‘I don’t think I’m cut out for this, there is not enough consistency, I’m not getting the results and I feel like a failure. I’m just don’t think I’m good enough anymore…’

‘Take a breath, sit back, go for a walk and if you’re still not happy, change.’ I suggested.

Alice was not in a good frame of mind. Warily, I persisted.

‘If you are not happy, change … change something.’ I added.

Like most, Alice thrives in a ‘positive’ environment. If there is something in the way of our happiness then we need to consider change. So, we walked, we talked and agreed that we’d start from the beginning, realise the goal, understand she is successful, change the approach to match each individual day and monitor growth on a daily basis – if there was something that wasn’t working, we’d remove it and start again, we’d be pushing the limits for satisfaction, keep our ‘best friend happy.’

Why not try this test yourself?

Are you satisfied with where you are?
If not, what is ‘still’ the same – what needs quitting?
Consider the ‘next level’ of where you wish to be – and how you can get there.

Just like Alice … ‘Easy done!’ I hear you say.

Think of it this way … would you continue keeping all your money under the mattress if a trusted friend had found you a failsafe way of doubling your net worth?
Would you go to the gym and practice the same weights, day in, day out with the same routine and wonder why you are not getting the results you want?
Perhaps you are doing just what ‘you think’ needs doing to move ahead, although realising that you are staying in the same place?

We all have the opportunity for change at any given moment. To impact our ‘now’, our future outlook, our personal or professional goals for well-being and ultimately happiness.

Alice still berates herself (her own best friend) on occasion although she is now very much in control and even reminds me from time to time, being happy means to embrace change.

The one golden nugget

What do you get reading about elite performers … about their drive, their discipline? It’s different feelings for each of us as we hear how others set out to achieve ‘best in their field’ status – learning more about themselves as they work at reaching those goals.

It’s great to hear of their dedication, their trials and the lessons in pursuit of accomplishments. Understanding how they’ve failed, they’ve developed.

It’s personal, that’s what is in it for me. That’s the ‘motivational nugget,’ the personal message.

I was walking off a beach the other evening and bumped into a local triathlete, it was around 7pm and ‘Bea’ having been in the water for the past hour, was off to bed. We had a little banter about ‘staying the distance’ and the sometimes obsession that the elite athletes have with gain, with beating the clock and the physical peak that seems to make up most of the cause.
As impressive as all the athletes are, behind each is a story. With Bea she talks about lots of stuff, including the toll her sport takes on her now 27-year-old body. She trains up to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. It’s a level of physical dedication most of us find hard to fathom.
Just as Bea was making her way home for a well-earned rest, she hinted:

“People don’t realise how mental it is. As much as I pursue my passion, I feel like I have a really, really, good workout, just once a month.”

Bea loves the sport, amongst the dozen or so locals she trains with she will be the senior member of the group although she ‘hangs in there.’
But in the course of 6-hour workouts, 5 days a week, over an entire month, Bea only credits herself with having one good workout.
Bea makes a point of saying she is a perfectionist, that her own high standards are why she feels as though she only has one good workout a month. The rest let her down. … let… her… down?!
While her pursuit of perfection are admirable, she also certainly has a large margin of forgiveness. How else could she show up so often and put in that many hours on the understanding that most of what she does is not really any good.
I had to disagree with Bea on something though – I think most of us DO realise that routine and pursuit of goals is a mental challenge. It’s the harder part.I simply think we don’t know how to manage the mental aspects of our efforts with consistency and confidence.I think we’re conditioned to believe that every workout should be good, the best.
We tend to beat ourselves up if we don’t perform at peak, skip an hour or miss a particular circuit routine and we’ve failed.

The good news is, our own efforts rarely need to be as finely tuned as our triathlete. Our success is not dependent on such a high level of perfection. In fact, our ideas of perfection are merely perceptions that evolve with increased experience and competence. As we develop, we expect more.
One advantage (just one?) most ‘dedicated’ athletes have over us, is that in most cases someone has gone before them. There are rules, expectations, and often, established paths that when followed, aid in their growth. Of course there are no guarantees in the results they may be looking for but by following the plan, they’re well on their way to measurable results.
You and I though, not quite such the ‘elite athlete’ perhaps as we juggle our own daily challenges, find it difficult at times to choose who to listen to or what system to use. We’re distracted by every new idea under the sun, thinking there must be an easier way. We want to hear of the new trick to get us more sales or a better app to help us be more organized. We try a new social media platform believing it will magically change our business, and if we don’t try it, we will surely fail.

Lets just keep … it … simple.

Like I said, I love individual stories. The personal draws me in.
There are patterns everywhere if you look for them. The patterns tell their own story and interestingly enough, they reveal the easier path almost every time.
Here is a great ‘routine’ given to me by a friend … see what you think:

Decide – Know what you will be doing before your day begins. This will be your plan. Without it, you’re just making things up.

Prepare – Know where you need to be and what you need to have with you to execute the plan. If your plan is to make 50 sales calls, you gotta get organised, probably need 50 names, 50 numbers, a phone, and a notebook.

Show Up – Get yourself to wherever the plan says you need to be, on time and ready.

Do the Work – Do whatever the plan said to do. You’ve made a decision, now is not the time to question the plan or skip the steps. Show up. Do the work.

Repeat – You get the idea. Decide again. Tomorrow’s plan will probably be a bit different. Athletes work on all aspects of their game to achieve success. The goals may not change. The larger plan is constant. The daily plan may look a bit different. It’s time to decide again what’s on tomorrow’s plan.

OK, so you missed a day? Something happened to derail the plan? You only made about half the calls?
That’s no problem, because you’re not done. You didn’t mess it all up, it’s part of the plan …
Keep it simple. Start at Decide and go at it again tomorrow.
Let’s stop making it harder than it needs to be. Let’s stop winding ourselves up about this new app or that new method.

Find your ‘motivational nugget’ and let’s stop allowing a bad day to spoil the whole effort.

You don’t need to be perfect. In fact, you probably won’t be. Keep showing up, doing the work and understand that of course it’s not about the goal – it’s the journey on the way to that one golden nugget.