Category Archives: Favourite Posts Of 2013
Just before Christmas last year we found out that our wonderful dog Chase had terminal cancer and only had a few weeks to live. Although we were quite upset, he had come through major health issues the previous year so we were not surprised. My wife and I agreed to keep him as long as he was doing fine, and as soon as he showed signs of a drop off, we would put him down.
I tried to play the “he’s just a dog card”, but that did not work. It was a very difficult time when he took a turn for the worst. We scheduled an appointment at the vet the next day. The following afternoon, my whole family was out, so I had a chance to sit with him on our deck.
It was an abnormally mild January day for Northern Alberta, which allowed him one last chance to hang out in the yard that he loved so much. He was not able to chase the squirrels like had had done hundreds of times before, but he was able to lie there as I stayed close.
As I sat with him and shut off the world around me, I stopped everything that I was doing, looked around at the place that he had called home for so many years, and just listened to all the sounds around us. I had not been in that relaxed a state for what seemed like months, and was able to fully disengage from the hustle and bustle of life to be in the moment with him. I became so relaxed that I actually fell asleep with him on the deck for one of the last hours of his life!
I reflected upon this event a few weeks after he had passed, and thought fondly about our time together in the yard taking it all in. We get so wrapped up getting through the day that we don’t take enough time to stop, look and listen. I can’t remember the last time I just sat with Chase in the back yard and hung out. There were always other things happening that seemed more important than just being with him.
Perhaps you may want to:
- Cut back on your workload to spend more time with family, friends and even pets
- Reduce your outside commitments so you can have some “me time”
- Take up a hobby again that you have been unable to keep up with because life got in the way
- Connect with people that you have not corresponded with in a long time
Stop, look and listen to everything around you. Take a breath and be thankful for everyone that you hold dear, and focus more on them. You never know how long they will be around for!
So, like – there are lots of us on earth right?
Many of us are trying to stand out from the crowd and do “out of the ordinary stuff”. Heck many of us are trying to do ordinary stuff but still get noticed.
Like delivering beer to people’s seats at a baseball game.
There is no way to stand out from the crowd doing that right?
I had the pleasure of attending a Chicago Cubs exhibition game in April of 2011, and did not realize how much of a treat I was in for from watching a beer vendor work. His coverage of our section immediately caught my attention! He was more charismatic, more outgoing, more energetic, and more fun to watch than any other beer concession worker than I had ever seen before. I caught myself watching him work more than the game itself!
But that was not even the best part. When he left our section for a bit, I followed him and we had a bit of a conversation. I was captivated by his stories of working in the industry for many years. When I left with my drinks, he gave me his “business card”. It was a laminated baseball-like card with his picture on the front working at a game. On the back it had all of his “statistics”. By statistics I mean all the venues he had worked at during his career, and events that he attended.
I still have his “business card”, and look at it from time to time to remind me what it truly means to have a well-developed personal brand.
- What do you do to stand out from the crowd?
- Where do you know that you can improve to increase your exposure?
Developing your personal brand is not a “when I feel like it” thing. It should be ongoing. Daily if possible.
Be memorable, be engaging, be caring and for goodness sake have some fun!
I have been lucky enough to work out of a home office for 11 of the last 13 years. The two years that I had an office to report in to, I would get stuck in traffic daily. It gave me many opportunities to look at other people’s faces, as their days were off to very “slow” starts too.
Some looked sad; others looked angry or frustrated, some had blank stares or even looked dazed. On occasion, some were smiling, while others where actually singing! It blew my mind how many people looked unhappy though. Is it realistic to believe that all of them looked that way because they were unhappy going to work? Of course not. Some must have been dealing with other issues too (some were of course frustrated by the continual traffic jams).
Most studies report that 7 or 8 out of 10 people do not like their jobs! One study in the sales profession showed that more than 50% of people should not even be sales at all! Are you one of those people getting out of bed dreading the next 8 to 12 hours every day?
Internet marketer Gary Vaynerchuk changed his entire career path because he was only 99% happy in his situation at the time. To me, that was an incredibly powerful statement. As people become more and more unhappy with their jobs over the months, years or even decades, it is like they are sinking further and further into quicksand. The more unhappy they get, the deeper they sink. On the odd occasion that they try to change jobs, they try a bit, then just stop trying all together.
People typically want to make the switch, but “life gets in the way”. A job search gets put on the back burner. Others lack confidence, and don’t feel that they are good enough to have a shot at “career satisfaction”. Too many people settle for the status quo, and don’t take action. Some stay in a career that they just don’t like, becoming a “work robot” completing the same repetitive tasks at nauseum, for what seems like an eternity.
The next thing they know, five, ten or 20+ years have passed, and then wake up one day saying, “What the heck am I still doing here?” I can tell you from experience that being comfortable in a role that “pays the bills” does not equal happiness. Not even close.
When you are in love with your career, you should rarely be counting down the minutes until the end of the day, week, or until holidays start. I had a manager tell me that you should be excited to go to work, from the moment your feet hit the floor each morning. So many people over the years have said that “every day should feel like a Saturday”, or “your work should not feel like a job”.
It can be a good practice to check in with yourself now and then.
- How happy are you with your career?
- Is it heading in the direction you would like it to?
If you feel “sunk”, the good news is you can always change your path going forward.
Remember, “You don’t drown by falling in water. You only drown by staying there.” – Zig Ziglar
- What does your perfect job look like (yes, you can have the perfect job)?
- How does that list compare to the job you’re currently in?
- What one step can you take today to move towards loving your job?
“You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky, ex National Hockey League Super Star.
My sales spin is,
“If you don’t ask, there is no chance that you will get the answer you want”.
Confidence in the sales profession is paramount to success, but does not happen over night. If you are not in sales, please keep reading. This post has merit for whatever you may be “selling” in your personal or professional life. We have all been selling and negotiating from the moment that we could speak as toddlers!
Confidence allows people opportunities in life that they may not experience if they are tentative and uncertain. When people feel good about themselves, are not afraid to ask questions and involve themselves in potentially challenging situations, they will generally like the outcomes.
Do not mistake confidence for arrogance though. I have seen both, and one is very appealing in business and personal interactions. The other… well not so much!
When you combine confidence with most (or all) of the characteristics below in sales and/or life, very cool things can happen!
- Driven to succeed
- Independent worker and thinker
How did I know if somebody would make it in sales?
I have seen a lot of outside sales reps (retail reps too) come and go during my career. It took me a few years to really get a sense of what the signs were if they would succeed. I was quite certain most of the time, after our first couple of meetings.
What typically tipped me off?
- How they carried themselves (do they have a bounce in their step?)
- Dressed neatly (not necessarily the most expensive clothes) and cared about how they looked
- Solid handshake
- Maintained good eye contact
- Engaged well in conversation
- Wanted to learn / Inquisitive
- Enthusiastic / Excitable
- Personable / Outgoing
If you take a moment to digest that list, many of those attributes can be directly related to being confident. Imagine how different that list would be if you did not feel good about yourself and your abilities?
I urge you to start networking with people who are working towards similar goals if you are not already. It has become common knowledge that you start to portray similar characteristics to the 5 people who you are the closest with. Work on feeling more confident in areas of your personal and professional life that you don’t feel as comfortable in as soon as possible.
For me, getting up in front of crowds to speak was frightening for many years due to my stutter, and now there is nothing I would rather do. It was a long road, but I am glad that I am getting closer to where I need to be thanks to a strong support group of family, friends and Toastmasters.
Confidence does not happen over night, and you cannot push a “magic button” to change how you feel about yourself and your abilities. If you don’t try, you will never know what the outcome could have been. Once you “flip the switch” to knowing you will succeed, and not being afraid to fail, you will see positive changes in your life.
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