So You Want To Be Guardian Of The Galaxy
I live in Florida – home of the door-to-door sales professional. On any given day, the probability of a knock (I am doorbell-less) followed by a variety of tricks to get me to open the door to sell me most things I already have, is just about 100%.
My fave is to sell me solar technology when I have it already, clearly installed. It’s on the roof for God’s sake!
Chris Pratt, the quintessential everyman Hollywood superhero recently mentioned in an interview that he was a door-to-door salesperson. “I was selling coupons for things like oil changes or trips to a spa,” said Pratt, who said it didn’t really matter what he was selling because a salesman only has one product: himself. “I was great at that,” he said. He got absorbed in this new gig, walking through town, making the same pitch again and again. It turned out to be perfect training for a future life of audition and rejection.
Audition and rejection. I kept thinking about that statement.
What is it that he was building? My first answer to this question was resilience. I mulled it over and over, and something bigger than resilience emerged. Resilience was the result, the byproduct of something bigger…courage.
What is it that sales professionals experience time and again? Audition and rejection. And what makes the best of the sales profession successful? The answer: COURAGE!
This is the “it” that rarely gets talked about these days. We talk about building trust and better listening skills. How to open a conversation, and how to close an opportunity. Books and videos and courses and coaches… they all play a part. If courage is missing, though, then the opportunity to welcome failure, one of the key building blocks of learning, escapes us.
Courage leads to learning because it gives us permission to fail. Sure, those books and videos and courses and coaches (ugh, coaches…) provide ideas and perspectives and techniques and tactics. Those things are great! Courage sets the stage for it all. This is the bread and butter of moving forward in a sales life.
How does one acquire courage? I’ve been reading about the cardinal virtues these last months. Virtues, from the Latin virtus, means strength or excellence. Aristotle defined four: prudence, justice, temperance and courage (or fortitude). For now, let’s just focus on courage. I frequently conduct workshops with those across the experience scale in sales and leadership. From first timer rookies right out of school to the Zig Ziglar accomplished quota killer. (Ziglar, BTW, was both courageous and operated with integrity.) Where I see people miss their opportunity to grow, to change to something better, more elegant and different from all others, is courage.
No matter what I or any other coach or consultant or trainer or speaker says, if you don’t have the courage to try it, and more importantly the courage to screw it up, then resilience will elude you forever. Now courage needs a throttle too. There is a difference between courage and boldness or rashness. The rash can be angry and impulsive, striking out in a direction that yields limited and many times, outcomes that lack integrity. The flipside is timidity (which I see so often), holding talented, smart individuals back from truly fulfilling lives and careers. One needs balance to connect and honor to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Aristotle says that being too timid or too bold will hamper courage.
Being authentic and ultimately fulfilled includes being courageous. A courageous person is not without fear, they just know that their next moves are the right and honorable thing to get a better outcome.
What are the possibilities here? For Pratt, in part, he sites his sales experience as his beginning to greatness. As he states, “People talk about rejection in Hollywood. I’m like, ‘You’re outta your [f’ing] mind. Did you ever have someone sic their dog on you at an audition? ’ “ He goes from there to other defining moments, most were failures really, that eventually propelled him to become one of the most sought after stars today.
Now the answer to my original question about acquiring courage – to become a guardian of the galaxy. I’m not challenging you to be Peter Quill. Just think about what it would be like to just be the guardian of YOUR galaxy? What is one step forward you will take next, just one small step? And if it fails, remember, treat it like a movie. And like a movie, you can watch it again, and again, and again, and at some point, unlike a Hollywood movie, your ending will change…and for the better.
Hello curious human. If you’ve made it this far, then curiosity and awareness are two of your superpowers. Do you have the COURAGE to go to the next level? Consider the wild idea of investing in you! New programs are available! Why wait any longer?!? Here’s a link to start creating that discussion right now!
Be big. Be cool. Be hippo.
Ready to get started?