Are You Patient Enough to Be Great?

Imagine for a moment you are a farmer. Every day you tend your fields, build scarecrows to scare away birds, water your crops, and spend the majority of your waking hours working to ensure that your crop grows and develops. After all, this is what will feed you and your family. 
Imagine further, however, that for day after day you continue flowing water and sweat into the ground waiting for a sprout and nothing shows for three years!
At this point most people’s faith would have failed, and they would have moved on to something that seemed worth their time. However, for those with the faith required to cultivate Giant Timber bamboo, this is the struggle they face. This bamboo requires three years of cultivation before sprouting and exploding toward the sky to the tune of ninety feet in approximately two months!
Now, will it take you three years before all of your hard work pays off and you see potential gains in either your bank account, your skill set, or your status of work? For God’s sake, I hope not. However, the premise still applies. Too often, we begin a project, begin some kind of skill development, begin cultivating a new talent and give it up within months after failing to realize immediate life-changing results. Dedication via habit, routine, and incremental progress is what gets you where you want to be. Many people have heard the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of work at something to become an expert. Luckily, along the way, you should see improvement and signs of progress, which should encourage and motivate you. Those milestones should drive you. Look to the next milestones instead of the end goal sometimes.
My challenge to you is take some time to reflect on whether or not you spent the past year nurturing your skills, improving you day to day abilities, and working towards being better at what you do, or if you jumped from practice to practice looking for a quick fix. Results simply are not seen overnight. They take significant time and effort to begin to see the desired outcome. If you have been watering your bamboo, the results should slowly begin to show for you over the next year.
If you have not yet seen the video of Greg Bell covering this topic, then take a few moments to watch it and reflect on what you are doing to get better and improve your skills. How are you continuing your education on the sales process, your customer service skills, and your leadership capabilities?
If you are not steadily watering your bamboo, then now sounds like a good time to start.

Success Is Not A Zero Sum Game

Everyone knows both feelings:

  • The presenter is standing at the microphone, and he calls your name. You stand up, grinning ear to ear like an idiot as people around you clap and applaud. Someone nearby likely pats you on the back – literally! You glory in the acclaim and spotlight. Or maybe you are just in a meeting or on a conference call and your individual results or your team’s results are recognized as top notch. You blush a little bit. It’s a good feeling.
  • The presenter is standing at the microphone, and he calls someone else’s name. They stand up. Jealousy, envy, even anger surge up from your stomach into your chest and throughout your body. Or maybe it is less intense and the feeling is simple mild distaste. You can’t help but lean over to your neighbor and mention the extenuating circumstance that led to this person’s success. Your not saying the you deserve it necessarily. Just saying that they don’t really either.

I wanted to share some thoughts I had over the weekend while watching a very well respected movie during my free time. Along with my girlfriend, I have been working my way through all of the best picture nominees for 2016. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them (and she has slept through the second half of a good few) in some way, shape, or form, they have all stretched our thinking and challenged our beliefs. They’ve inspired us in the way that only incredible pieces of cinema can, evoking in you that feeling of invincibility as you walk out of the theater or turn off the television.


Yesterday, she finally convinced me to watch La La Land, which was not at the top of my list even though it is the same director who wrote and directed Whiplash, one of my favorite movies (if you haven’t seen it, please stop what you’re doing and rent it. Seriously stop reading this and do it). For those of you who watched the Oscars, you may remember that La La Land was the movie that was mistakenly announced as Best Picture when in fact Moonlight was the Best Picture winner. All of the La La Land cast was already on the Oscars stage however, and had to awkwardly resume their seats while the cast and crew of Moonlight took their place. Having already seen Moonlight, I could not help but to compare the two while watching La La Land, and wonder at the Steve Harvey level blunder that was made at the awards show.


After a long agonizing review of the acting, the cast, the editing, the lighting, the screenwriting, the music, and other categories I can scarcely remember the names or meanings of, I came to a decision as to which one was better. What I figured out, and what I think we can bring to our own businesses and performances is something I see in our organization is that it doesn’t matter. The answer is that both movies are incredible and the success of one does not detract from the greatness of the other. Similarly, success in any organization is not a zero-sum game. What I mean by that is the success of Moonlight does not detract from the incredible movie that was La La Land, and vice versa. Too often when another coworker, salesperson, or leader is succeeding at a greater level than ourselves, we attempt to tear down their performance or invent a reason as to why they has better results than we do. “They get more sales leads. They are in a better market. They are riding on the Mr. Incredible’s coattails. If I had XYZ resource that they have, I’d have the same results.” And the list goes on.


When you look at the movies nominated for Best Picture, their performances stand alone and apart from each other and are judged on their merits. In the same way, we need to give our own performances honest reflections based on our individual efforts and contributions. Other employees, sales people, and leaders performances should be used to motivate and inspire you! Congratulate them on their great work! Then ask them how they did it. And steal those ideas shamelessly.

Here, Take This Round Tuit



This week, with just six business days left in the fiscal year, I wanted to expand a little bit on a phrase that our sales manager used in our Location Meeting just last Monday. If you do not remember, what he closed our meeting with was the axiom, “We are judged by what we finish, not what we start.”


I do not think there is a much more apt way to sum up the way we finish a year, finish a quarter, finish a week, or even finish a day than by that bit of wisdom. It is a constant occurrence both in the workplace and in our personal lives to start a project but lose focus as time goes on. How many of us have odd jobs around the house that we wanted to get to but haven’t? Home improvements? Fitness goals? New Year’s Resolutions? When I was a kid growing up, my father had a long list of household chores that seemed to continue to pile up. He even physically had a list on our refrigerator. He seemed to spend more time coming up with the things to fix than actually fixing them. Needless to say, handiwork was not a skill he had to be proud of. He did have a cousin, however, who was incredibly good with his hands and was an engineer with the Air Force, working on military planes for over 20 years. Whenever he asked my father when he would finish these projects listed on the refrigerator, my father would reply, “When I get around to it.” One year, my cousin gave my dad a card for his birthday that he titled “Around To It” and did so every year afterward, physically creating a symbol for the mental block that stopped my father from getting to his projects.


How many of us have created goals for ourselves out into the future, but also delay in completing the daily tasks that are required in order to achieve them? Are we ever going to get around to them? When will that be? Tomorrow? Next week? Next quarter? Nike once used advertisements that proclaimed: “Yesterday you said tomorrow,” which speaks to the same human urge to delay. Whether you term it procrastination, lack of drive, comfort with the status quo, etc., it is still one of the leading causes of unfinished business. Many of us have the skills but simply don’t take all of the steps!


If your goal this year was President’s Club or Winner’s Circle then you have six days to complete it. If your goal is Winner’s Circle or President’s Club for next year, then you only have six days to get yourself ready to achieve it. If your goal is to make more money than you made last year, do better than you have done before, or work towards a position that you do not currently have, then every day should be a step in that direction. The first step may be the toughest, but the last step is the one that many fewer people actually take because they stop along the way. We have six steps left to finish out FY16 and build our momentum to a fever pace entering FY17. Let this email serve as me giving you your “around to it” so that you can get going on what you have been delaying.