Last week I had lunch with the mother of a young client of mine.
We had first met some eight or nine months ago after her daughter called and asked whether I would meet with her mom as she was going through a tough time and feeling quite desolate and depressed.
Her mother had decided to pull the plug on a new business venture she had recently gone into. It just wasn’t working out and she was feeling somewhat despondent.
When we did meet it seemed quite apparent that she was weighed down by all the problems of the world.
She told me she has long sought financial independence and had realized that this was an elusive goal that could not be obtained through her present income.
A friend had “talked her into” going into her own, home-based jewelry business as a means of supplementing her income and working towards attaining her above-mentioned dream.
The company whose jewelry she was going to sell has been in business for more than 30 years with thousands of salespeople around the globe.
She had “given it her all” for six weeks and her efforts had resulted in less than $100 in sales, so she decided to quit and was “stressed out” because “I knew I shouldn’t have gone into that stupid business in the first place.”
I asked her what giving it her all meant and she explained that she had arranged and attended three home parties and that the amount of jewelry sold at each of these parties had not come close to matching her expectations.
Doing the math I concluded that “giving it her all” meant attending one party every two weeks. Now I am no expert on jewelry sales, but it seems to me that trotting out once every 14 days to sell one’s wares is not a business model that is likely to translate into long-term financial security.
If Col. Sanders had quit after three unsuccessful attempts to sell his chicken recipe, we wouldn’t all be enjoying the highly nutritious fare served up at KFC’s around the world.
If Thomas Edison had quit after three unsuccessful attempts we’d still be reading by candlelight.
If J.K. Rowling had torn up her manuscript after receiving her third rejection we would never have known a young man named Harry Potter.
My client’s mother had made a fundamental error in judgment. She had evaluated her results and concluded that the company she was representing, and its products, were no good despite 30 years of international success.
The mistake she made was that this company, with a 30 year history of success, wasn’t on trial – she was.
She had unwittingly decided to dabble in the jewelry business rather than immerse herself in it.
She had chosen to play at the game, not play in the game.
She did not understand the power behind the Habit Of Doing It Until…
Yes, there does come a time when it is wise to conclude that all, and I mean ALL, reasonable efforts and resources have been vigorously directed towards the attainment of an objective, to no avail, and that any further efforts will only serve to produce more of the same unsatisfactory results.
But that is an extremely poor decision to make after a mere six weeks and three attempts.
Adopting the Habit Of Doing It Until… is an essential reminder that the price of success is frequently paid with meticulous preparation, inhuman effort, dogged determination and unyielding persistence.
The lady sitting across from me that day acknowledged that she had exhibited none of these traits.
I asked her what she might do differently if the option of failure was withdrawn and taken off the table – if success was not a choice but rather the only choice.
I challenged her to prove herself right. To prove that it was a lousy company selling lousy products.
And the only way to do this, beyond the shadow of any doubt, was to truly give it her all for a much longer period of time.
And she agreed to do just that.
We developed a plan and she lived it every day.
She studied her products to gain more knowledge.
She rehearsed her presentations until they felt natural and comfortable.
She conducted a personal debrief of every meeting she had to examine what she might do better the next time.
Instead of attending three parties over six weeks, she set and achieved a goal of three parties each week. And if for any reason a party did not produce the sales results she was hoping for, she redoubled her efforts and strengthened her resolve to do better the next time.
She mastered the Habit Of Doing It Until…
Our meeting last week was quite different from our first one. She took me to lunch to celebrate a major career milestone.
For the past three months she has been the top salesperson in all of North America and the president of the company had dropped by the day before to present her with the keys to a brand-new luxury car – the highest company reward for outstanding performance.
She explained to me that the Habit Of Doing It Until… is not really a habit at all – it is a mandatory requirement.
Then she thanked me, hugged me and left in her shiny new car. Without even offering me a ride back to my office.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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P.S. I am very excited to share with you that my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at http://www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
P.P.S. Two weeks ago I had the privilege of doing my first ever radio interview.. The topic of the interview was my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. Here is a link to my interview.
Yesterday I did my second interview. Here is the link.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to them. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.