Sisyphus was a mythological king tasked with rolling a boulder up a hill for all eternity as a punishment for the choices he had made in his life. He had clashed with Zeus and paid the price.
In performing this task, he would exert enormous amounts of effort to get the boulder to the top of the hill, and then would find that it would roll down again immediately, and he would need to start over.
Sisyphus was doomed to an eternity of meaningless labor and frustration.
How many months (or years) would you be willing to struggle for something and not experience any forward movement? It would get old wouldn’t it?
Sadly, millions of people are unwittingly doing exactly this…although their “boulder” may not be a forced physical effort, but instead the repetitive struggle that comes from a lack of personal development.
They don’t grow, change, or develop over time. They just hang on…year after year.
Why is that?
It’s because there is incredible comfort in the familiar.
The status quo is a thing for a reason.
Dave Ramsey likes to say that when it comes to resisting change, people tend to be like babies sitting in a dirty diaper. “Yeah I know this situation stinks…but it’s warm and it’s mine.”
This is all true right up until we come to a breaking point; the day that enough becomes enough and we decide to change direction.
So when you get to the point that enough is enough, what can you do to chart a better course?
1.) Start Paying Attention to Your Life and Experiences.
Experience is the single greatest teacher on Earth…if you know how to harness its power. Experiences are all around you, all the time, and always ready to give you lessons. All you have to do is pay attention. Be present and refuse to float along in ignorance. Most of life’s little difficulties could be avoided by simply paying attention and learning from our mistakes.
Not getting the results you want? Alter your approach. Do something different the next time.
Whatever you do, do NOT repeat the activities that are leading you to the same end result you aren’t happy with.
Most of the population is sailing along on autopilot instead of intentionally living and acting. You need to be different. You need to be the one that pays attention.
Paying attention is the common thread that must run through your entire life.
So where can you find new ideas and approaches?
2.) Get Advice From People More Successful Than Yourself.
You never know where you can pick up a new idea that you can add to your approach, see if it fits, and begin calibrating the new you based upon your (self) research.
Books, seminars, mentors, managers, successful friends…the options are limitless. Every one of us is connected to dozens of people who are farther along the same path that we are on. Most of these people would be willing to spend an hour with you if you invited them to lunch. Think of the insights you could gain for the price of a lunch!
There are people in your very own company that are wildly successful. Don’t just find one. Talk to ALL of them. Ask them questions. Figure out a way to spend time with them. Learn about their activity model, and their philosophies on dealing with people. Learn how they run their business. They’re happy to share that with you.
There are people who have written books detailing how they raised themselves from failure to success in selling. This is the exact topic that multitudes of failing salespeople NEED TO KNOW ABOUT….and almost none of them will search it out and read it.
There are successful people everywhere, and success leaves clues (watch this clip please).
3.) Immerse Yourself Daily in Study of the Area You’d Like to Improve.
Anytime someone recommends a piece of new media to me, a new podcast, a book, a blog…I go search it out immediately, especially if I think it will help with my life or career.
If it’s a podcast, I download it and listen to it on the way home that day.
If it’s a book, I look at it on amazon and buy it more than 75% of the time. I spend 20-30 minutes reading almost every night before bed.
If I had to estimate I would say I am spending at least 60 minutes every day doing something that improves my skills.
Does that make me different from most people? Yes I believe it does.
Selling has become extremely easy for me. It’s not easy because I’m some super smart person or in possession of some natural ability.
I started out AGGRESSIVELY BAD. I was “enthusiastically terrible.” Seriously. I reflect on some of the stuff I used to do and say and I cringe to think about it.
Luckily I had some great leaders and mentors that helped me chart a course to a better place, and then I threw 25,000 sales calls into the mix and paid close attention to the results, tweaking the approach constantly, and I ended up in a pretty good place.
This point is difficult to illustrate without coming across as massively egotistical, but I need you to know I’m not telling you any of this to impress you.
I’m telling you because I’ve spent more than 15 years employing these 3 strategies and its brought me to a point where building rapport and credibility, understanding clients needs, gaining commitments, and closing deals has become effortless and fun.
I want you to experience the same feelings.
I want it to be easy for you too.
The ironic part is I have spent tens of thousands of hours turning this pursuit into something that is now “easy.” There is a pathway to easy. It’s a long one, but the destination is worth the journey.
I don’t believe you can cherry pick from the three strategies above. You should engage in all three. In any pursuit, if you want to see a positive change, you can’t just dip your toe in the water and hope to see real results.
You have to fully throw yourself into your personal development. You need to pursue your development down every avenue you can find.
It’s been said if you study for 1 hour per day, you can become a world-class expert at almost any topic in about 5 years. How much time do you spend in your car each day? Are there any podcasts or audio books you should be listening to?
The investment of that extra time will pay you back many times over in increased income and lower stress that comes from more skills.
I’ve got nothing against things like music or sports talk radio, but listening to those things won’t make you a 7 figure income. Ideas and inspiration could.
So if you are planning on being alive and in sales 5 years from now, wouldn’t you benefit from starting that journey? Who cares if it takes 5 or even 10 years? The time is passing anyway. Why not take some daily baby steps toward greatness?
If you want further info on personal development, I’d highly recommend listening to everything you can find by Jim Rohn. You can start here.