I admit it. I gave up. I was sitting forlornly at my brother-in-laws house with a group of people watching my beloved Seahawks losing at home in the NFC Championship game versus the Green Bay Packers. They’d played poorly. Nothing seemed to be working. And now with 4 minutes left, we had thrown another interception and were still down 9 points. It was over.
I won’t recount the crazy next 20 minutes, but the history books will show an improbable Seahawks victory in overtime. Listening to the post-game interviews from coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, and several other players; it was clear they hadn’t quit. They were going down swinging; they still believed. Until that clock hit zero, they truly never gave up. That’s why they are going back to the Super Bowl.
Never give up. Ever. No matter what happens in your life or your career, never quit. Life is short and the opportunities abound even in what seem to be incalculable odds. Football and all sports are a microcosm of life. I hear people say that sports aren’t like real life. I disagree. They are “real life” for all the players and coaches that make it their career. They are real life for the fans that follow them. Your career and life are just as “real,” and often face the same anxiety, stress, and challenges that face teams in games and seasons. That’s why no matter how bleak things may look, never give up. You never now when that winning touchdown pass will happen for you!
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My concept of the “open gate” is that unlike dogs, we as humans often tether ourselves inside our own personal gates and due to our own self-imposed limitations and fears, choose not to risk going through the open gate in front of us. The results include dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, poor leadership, bad morale, inefficiencies, and boredom. Bottom line is you and your business leave money and talent on the table.
Terrific way to end the trip. I watched my Seahawks play Green Bay on Monday Night Football at a sports bar next to the Harvard Club. We met up with my daughters’ classmate, and a former basketball player of mine. She went to college in Boston and found a job here. It was great to catch up with her to watch our hometown team. We went back to the hotel at the start of the 4th quarter and watched one of the most improbable, crazy endings I’ve seen in over 40 years of watching football. The Seahawks won on a play that was improperly called…on national television on the biggest stage! Believe me, this stuff usually happens to the Seahawks, not in favor of them!
The girls left early this morning to get back in time for classes. I got up a few hours later and headed out for a walking tour of Boston. From 8:30 to 11:15, I walked Boston. I am an avid walker, but even I was pooped! I got back, packed up, and went to a great lunch and out to the airport.
The only downer is that I am leaving my sunglasses here. Somehow I managed to lose them. Not that I’m usually hung up on sunglasses, but my daughter bought me Oakley sunglasses for Christmas and they were perfect. Who knows, maybe they will show up. I know the girls took my hairbrush with them today…turned into a hat day! Other than that, an incredibly enjoyable trip.
I’m anxious to get home and see Barb. I miss not being able to always take her with me. She took one for the team by staying home with Mom. She’s awesome.
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I love watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Just like with the food channel reality shows, I get a lot of entertainment value and I pick up a lot of tips. I also am constantly amazed at the business lessons that come out from them.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver took home the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. He had been good all season, but probably not technically the best dancer. The two other finalists, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy were probably better technically. That being said, it’s hard to out-poll a dude who plays for the Packers and is getting promos from his pals Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. Similarly, on American Idol, Phillip Phillips was probably the leader in the clubhouse all year, but Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet may have been better. When Ledet got bumped, Phillips probably scored the teenage girl to twenty-something vote to get him the title. People get mad. They thinks it’s not a real contest; just a popularity contest. Really? You’re just figuring this out now?
Of course it’s a popularity contest. When you ask the world to phone, text, or go online to vote (multiple times mind you), it’s basically stuffing the ballot box for your favorite. These aren’t truly “competitions.” They are popularity contests and to the victors go the spoils.
Think about how this relates to acquiring business.
You may be the smartest person when it comes to your product or industry. You can spout off methodology, process, and product knowledge while falling out of bed at 2 AM. You’re a walking encyclopedia of facts and any client would be fortunate to have your knowledge on their team.
But, if you have no personality; no selling skills; no ability to persuade; can’t deal with objections or rejection; and no ambition to market yourself – then you’re not going to get the business. Sales isn’t about who has the most technical “smarts.” It’s not about who has the broadest markets, the fanciest graphics; or the most credentials behind their name. It’s about who the prospect likes; who they trust the most; and who can be the most persuasive and influential. It’s about how popular trumps brains only. You need to have both. And if one is stronger than the other, if you’re in sales it’s about your ability to persuade people to “vote” for you!
Don’t get me wrong. Product knowledge is important. You have to be credible. However, I’ve met plenty of credible sales people who couldn’t convince a starving man to eat. There are roles for everyone and finding those is one of the most important things an owner or executive can do.
Final thoughts. If you are in sales and want to increase your business through professional development, invest more time and money into professional sales skills rather than methodology and process. Spend time improving your language skills, presentation prowess, marketing skills, networking strategy, and writing skills. In the end, your innate ability to persuade and inspire will earn you more business and reap greater rewards for your business.
Aaron Rodgers now has time to practice his discount double-check for Dancing with the Stars…
The New York Giants came in hot to frigid Green Bay and bounced the defending champion Packers with a smothering defense and methodical offense. As with the year the Giants won it all, momentum played a huge part in their win.
The Giants started their roll with a strong outing against the Jets in Week 16; and followed it up with a thumping of Dallas to win the NFC East and get to the playoffs. Last week in Wild Card weekend, they stymied the Atlanta Falcons by giving up only a safety. Today, they took their great momentum into Lambeau Field.
Green Bay started petering out in a loss to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs to break their unbeaten streak. They just kind of staggered to the end by sitting Rodgers in the final game. Then they got a week off. Any momentum they had was trending the wrong way.
Momentum is powerful in sports. It’s also powerful in business and life. Be careful. You need to be aware of when you are losing momentum and get it back. As a basketball coach, I drilled for momentum. You have to, too. Understand what it looks and feels like to have momentum and be vigilant in keeping the trend upwards.
There are always lulls in life. Make sure you keep them short. Learn a lesson from this weekend’s NFL playoff games. Momentum determines wins and losses…