I have a daughter that is a freshman in college that has been, since the age of 15, blessed with Type 1 Diabetes. Thus, due to some magical strain of DNA in her body, she is insulin dependent and will need to manage that insulin intake daily with 6-10 blood glucose checks and self-administered shots for the rest of her life. It’s not exactly a death sentence but it is, for a teenager just entering college, it is a royal pain in the butt.
Not unlike many teens, she has a tendency to ignore the things that bother her, annoy her, or simply do not interest her….especially if it not part of what everyone else is doing. Unfortunately, sometimes, her diabetes falls into that category. Not good! Thus, my wife and I find ourselves constantly “on her” making sure she stays diligent with her diabetes care. I also often find myself teaching her lessons that apply to all of us the profession of sales, in business, and in life. Here are a few of the things that came out my mouth recently:
- What do you want to have in your life ten years from now?
We got into a discussion that that choices that you make today and every day from this point on will affect the quality of life that you have 10 years from now. Although addressing her from her current health standpoint, I was leading her past college and into thoughts marriage and raising children, and the ability to do so as a healthy, vibrant woman at 28 years of age. Once she started seeing herself as a Mom in the future, the conversations took on a new meaning for her.
In business, I often ask salespeople and business owners what it is that they see their business (or book of business) looking like TWO years from now. I try to get them in the mindset of becoming who they want to be and getting what they want in the future by DECIDING what that looks like NOW. Once that picture is clear….
- You cannot become “that” or get “that” in the future by acting like “this” in the present. You become or get that by acting “as-if” NOW!
It’s easy to put off tough decisions and the discipline necessary to make significant change until it is absolutely necessary. In my daughter’s case, that could result in medical care in the future that could include tough things such as organ failure, loss of eyesight, and worse. I constantly work to impress upon her that if she wants a healthy lifestyle in the future (and, of course, she does) that she cannot wait until the future to have that lifestyle…she must adopt that lifestyle, and all of it’s discipline, now.
In business, once we have decided what we will be in the future, we cannot wait until the future to live that reality…we must act “as if” we are that company now. We need to recruit, interview, and hire for that company. We act “as-if” we are that salesperson now in order to become that salesperson in the future. We market (create our visibility) like our future selves and our future companies. We dismiss from our employ NOW those who do not fit (culturally or performance-wise) into that company. We become known for the things our future self or our future company is known for NOW.
- You want that? You have to get up and FIGHT for it every day and work your ass off to keep it!
The above statement is very strong and very intentional, yet missed by so many in today’s world. It may be (as some say) a generational “sense of entitlement” at the cause or it may be an overall lack of that healthy sense of paranoia that drives most entrepreneurs. In any event, I cannot impress upon my children (diabetes or no) that every day you need to fight to get what is yours and work your butt off to keep it (or to grow it) because nobody is going to hand you anything. However, many will try to take what is yours once you have achieved/attained it.
Once a goal (see the two above items) is established, the pursuit of that goal and the acquisition of that goal requires your full attention and immediate, consistent, focused action…..but that is not enough! Once you get there, you need to understand the effort it requires daily to make sure that you stay there and grow from there.
In life today, the effort alone (showing up) gets you the medal. But that is not the real world of business! “I’ll try” is often the third place guy’s excuse for predisposing himself to failure before he even starts.
This is a FIGHT…this is a BATTLE…and you get to decide, in advance, what the prize is! And once you have won it, you need to make sure you get up each and every day prepared to work your butt off to keep it.
- Set the Goal-Map out the Plan-Take Immediate Action-Measure Progress Daily
This comes right out of my sales coaching handbook. It makes good sense in all that we do, don’t you agree? You start with the destination in mind on any journey—(along with a desired ETA). Then you map out a route to get there, according to what you would like to experience along the way. Next, you DEPART on that journey looking through the windshield at what is ahead, not the rear-view mirror. And as you make progress on your journey, you constantly check in (measure and course correct) to make sure that you are on the right road, headed in the right direction.
It occurred to me as I was speaking with my daughter yesterday that so many things that apply to life also apply in business.
It also occurred to me that making those business analogies to an 18 year-old girl at this stage of her life (while inspiring and interesting to me) were a bit irritating to her.
I hope you find them less so….have a great week!!