Tag Archives: dreams

Clean up your act… (or else)

For those of you who ignored my rage against the fad of making New Years resolutions, I say “bravo”…  Sure it’s a mindless waste of time to commit to an important goal for just a few months, but you already knew that.

All rage aside, I have goals for my life and most of you do too.    I have to think you wouldn’t continue to hang out here at The DEW View if you didn’t want more from your life.  I tend to be pretty annoying.

(By the way, I hope several of you made resolutions just because I told you, you shouldn’t…)

So back to goals….

We all have them and we all would say that we want our goals to work out.  The reality is that you can have what you want. Your goals really can happen…

You just need to clean up your act.

Here’s a fun fact for you: You guy’s don’t need me to tell you how to be successful.  Most of us know what to do to be productive people.

  • We know that we need to prioritize better…
  • We know that we need to manage our time more effectively…
  • We know that we need to be more disciplined…

Right?  So why don’t we?

I think it has a little to do with how I spent my weekend:

I have had the house to myself for the past few weeks and with two boys and a maddenly busy schedule, things get sloppy.  Despite the pics you see of me on Facebook and elsewhere with my hair uncombed and collar pushed up, I am kind of a neat freak.   It doesn’t hurt that I grew up with a mom that made me clean the toilets and polish the sinks each more morning before I went to school.

So I went back to my roots and decided to get the house back in shape – bathrooms, hard word floors, and carpets.  And it wasn’t easy.  For starters, I couldn’t find the supplies.  I mean, isn’t there supposed to be a caddie thing with all the sprays and soaps and stuff?  Where is it?

I couldn’t find it.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart with the boys to rectify the situation.  Forty-five minutes later, a bucket, a mop, soap stuffs, a little green duster, and a pair of elbow-length pink gloves later, I hit the scene like Saturday night at the movies.

It was nasty. I won’t go into detail here because it will likely reduce my readership quite dramatically.  It will suffice to say that things got sudsy in a hurry.

And about four hours later, the house looked better.  It still needs a professional though…..

Here is my observation.  I could have the most beautiful house in the world, but without periodic cleaning, it’s going to get pretty nasty, pretty quick.

That’s exactly what happens to your goals.

Your sales goals for this quarter.  Your commission goals for this year.  Your 3-year plan for conquering the world.

What starts in January as beautiful and full of delight turns into a March disaster, June denial, and November depression

Along the way your goals get dusty, dirty, and downright nasty.  What’s started out nice and beautiful quickly becomes something you can’t stand to be around.  They stink.

“And when your goals stink, they start to rub off on you…”

So what am I saying?

  1. Donate regular time to clean up bad habits that limit your potential…
  2. Spend effort shining up new talents and skills…
  3. Soak up any advice you can get from great books, bios, and magazine articles…
  4. Don’t let failure and negativity leave scum on your beliefs…

So clean up your act!

It’s not me being a jerk; it’s your best chance of changing the world.

(I need to take my advice with this one too…)

What do you think? 

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Yep… your New Year resolutions are worthless.

It’s that time of year again where we take stock of our poor performance from last year and write down blissful wishes for what we want to make happen this year.

It actually a pretty worthless activity…

From joining a new gym to going to church more to drinking less — whatever you resolve come New Years has a 78% chance of ultimately failing.  That’s almost everybody!

I didn’t make that up.  That’s what a recent international study of almost a thousand people indicated.

Just like we have been trained to do nice things for people around Christmas even though we act like inconsiderate jerks the rest of the year, so we have also trained ourselves to pause ever so briefly at the beginning of each year to wish we could do a few things differently in the coming year.

And it’s a worthless waste of time for 8 out of 10 of us.

And while I am on the subject, why are we still talking about 3-year and 5-year plans when we can’t get this yearly thing figured out?  Seems like a bunch of silly nonsense.

Seriously, are we committed to real change? Real sacrificial “it hurts like hell” change.

We don’t even apply the same level of respect to our own goals as we do the dudes we watch on ESPN.

We respect an obsessive work ethic that makes an all star like Michael Jordan sink 100 free-throws in a row before leaving practice.  We marvel at the obscene practice put in by perfectionists like Tiger Woods who practice distance putting at 3 and 10 foot intervals for hours a day.

And yet when it comes to putting in a little more effort for ourselves, we tend to be the first to come up with excuses (good ones too).  And the older we get, the more experience we gain explaining why our failure was really a good thing.

Aren’t you tired of mediocrity?  Of being an “almost all-star”?

Are you willing to do something about it?  To change?

Are you willing to:

  1. Connect your goal with a larger mision in life… (turn “making more money” into “helping a small company flourish”)
  2. Construct your goal into a series of smaller monthly milestones… (turn big deadlines into a series of progressive tasks)

If so, you might be ready to see breakthrough this year.  This might be the year of YOU… ALL of the 22% who accomplished their annual goals noted that these two were the two primary drivers for their success — passion and planning.

It’s amazing what you can do when you really want something more for yourself.

You might just change the world.

The Ultimate Life Lesson…

Lips blue and hands shaking beyond human control, Carl Brashear struggled to find the next step up the side of the metal ladder to the wooden pier.  As he made it to the top of the landing, he staggered to a wooden bench to sit down.  His legs were no longer strong enough to hold him beneath the weight of a 200 pound brass diving suit.  No one had survived this long.  No one yet.

For the past 9 hours, he had searched the floor of the ocean for the couplings, brackets, and screws he needed to complete his task.  Against supernatural odds and direct opposition from the world around him, he had found deep within himself the power to continue.  Years later when asked why he fought so hard, he simple stated: “I ain’t going to let nobody steal my dream”

In 2000, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the telling of Carl’s story.  It ranks right up there with Rudy as one of the most inspirational movies of all time, Men of Honor

Which got me thinking about a personal quality that is often overlooked by those who want to be high performers — honor….

Honor can be a confusing concept.  I think of it less as a “knight and fair maiden fairytale” and more of the quite resolve that guides what we do.  It’s our own code of conduct.  The rules we set for ourself and how we do business…

Changing the world demands a code.  Without it you get lost in the noise of the critics and lose out to the temptations to chose shortcuts and the easy way out.

Here’s the harsh reality of our lives:

Most of us will quit too early…  Give up too soon!

We let our critics wear us down to the point that we convince ourselves that changing the world is no longer important.  We get tired of the friction of being different and acting different and decide that maybe the cause isn’t that important.  We start taking failure too personally and start living petty lives derailing others.

We let others steal our dreams and our souls.

And here’s another harsh reality:

It’s our fault we lost our way… We let this happen.

We gave in to the pressure.  We stopped fighting when things for too tough.  We traded acceptance for belief.

And now we need to change it.  We can recharge our honor system; invest back into our code.

So let’s do that….

(It starts with patience…)

Soren Kierkegaard, a danish philosopher said it best: “Patience is necessary… you cannot reap immediately where you have sown.”

You can’t build your honor system overnight.  You can’t.  There is something about living by a code that requires you getting a thorough beating.  An untested code is nothing.  You have to be tested (and many times over).

But the good things about honor is that you alone are the master of your destiny.  You control your responses to those around you — the critics, the fans, the rest of the world.

SO:

  1. Be honorable to you You are all you have in the world and as soon as you lose your sense of “you”, it all stops making sense pretty quickly.  Don’t lie to yourself.  If you put in 40% effort and failed then admit it and put in more effort next time.  If you try to convince yourself that 40% was really 100%, then you just trimmed your peak performance in a huge way.  The effects get worse and worse and eventually you will find yourself sweating just to contribute 10% of your old self.  Decide to be unapologetically honest with yourself and you will find that even when you screw up, you perform at consistently higher levels than you did in the past.
  2. Be honorable to your dream It’s hard to stand up when you keep getting pushed back down.  But the dream (your dream) is the most powerful force you know.  People live and people die.  Bad things happen and good luck too.  You can’t always control your immediate circumstances.  But you can always control your attitude.  That’s important.  Bad things can turn right around into amazingly good things almost overnight.  It’s hard but you have to remember your dream.  You can’t lose that part of you when it looks like the world is fighting against you
  3. Be honorable to your core values Don’t do bad things to other people.  I don’t know how to say it any other way.  It’s amazing how karma comes around at the worst possible time to take it’s “pound of flesh”.  If you make it a habit to take advantage of other people, you can expect that you will get your ass kicked eventually.  Let’s hope it’s not at the time when you are taking down the biggest sale of your life.  Earn karma points by giving help to others without asking for anything.  Just do it to be a delight.  When you do take an uppercut, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people wanting to help.
  4. Be honorable to your peers Admit when you make a mistake and apologize.  Nothing tests your code like having to admit that you were a idiot.  It happens.  What doesn’t happen a lot of the time is us letting go of our egos.  And that sucks.  You can’t be better — operate consistently as a high-performer, when you don’t take responsibility for your actions (even unintended outcomes)…  Own up.  Move on.  Don’t hold out on apologizing because you think your peers haven’t noticed that you screwed up.  Guess what?  Now, they not only think you’re an idiot but an as$%hole at the same time.
  5. Be honorable to your critics It’s OK to go down after you take an upper cut.  Let’s face it — you weren’t expecting it in the first place.  Right?  You thought everyone wanted to play nice and instead you find yourself flat on your back trying to clear your head so you can get back in the fight.  Take your time standing up (take the full 10 seconds), but when you get back up, don’t throw low blows.  Critics operate under one basic premise — trying to convince the rest of the world that everything you do is motivated by the “mania of an ax murderer” (or something close to that).  Nothing you do will be right.  So just know that and move on.  Don’t let it affect your code.  And whatever you do, don’t really do something legitimately spiteful on purpose.  That just feeds the addiction your critics already have.

Friends come and go and circumstance change every few seconds but you have to live with yourself longer than anyone.  Be cool with yourself.  Live with honor.  Sell without limits…

My roots in understanding the concept of honor came from my dad, who just turned 61 on Monday.  Everyone who knows him knows what I am talking about.  He set a high standard…

I remember one snow day where all of us kids had the day off because the schools were closed.  Pebbled ice covered the road about 2 inches with another 6-7 inches of powder snow on top of that.  I expected my dad to be home with us as most of the federal offices were on leave because of the weather.  Instead, he took 5 hours to make the drive into the office at the NSA.  I don’t really know what needed to get done that day, but my dad make the trek because it was important to him.  It’s the small things that define our code.  It’s the things that we are remembered for in years to come.

The Hardest Sale of Your Life

(also known as, 10 courageous ways to take down the bad guys and live a life of amazing opportunity)

I was in a conversation with a close friend last week about some serious matters when I just stopped everything I was talking about and simply summed it up by noting:

“You know? This is the hardest sale of my life”…

Have you ever been there? Are you there right now?

It’s a pretty incredible opportunity to really know that what you are engaged in RIGHT now is the fight of your life.

  • Understanding that nothing else you have ever done before compares to the challenge you are facing right now…
  • Realizing that when you walk away victorious from this challenge you will have won the biggest battle of your life…

It’s a do or die set-up.

A time when the fork in the road is a choice of harder or hardest. There is nothing easy about this — just a painful uphill struggle.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this opportunity? How do you handle the hardest sale of your life?

  1. You hold nothing back in your personal effort — The fight of your life demands the fight of your life.  You really have to lay it all on the line: mind, body, and soul.   And if there is anything else you have to offer, you need to put that in the game as well.   All!  Everything!  Every ounce of effort goes to winning this cause.  (And by the way, don’t confuse “almost” with “all”. One gets you close to the deal. The other is what helps you close the deal.)
  2. You don’t stop your analysis until you find real meaning — Things are never as they seem.  Winners today can end up the real losers tomorrow.  You have to keep digging into the “facts” of the case until you get the answers that no one else has.  Here’s a DEW favorite: “remember that it’s always what it’s not – at least the first few times around”.  That means that the standard answers you are getting from your prospect about timeline and budget are the exact opposite from the actual words that you are hearing.
  3. You are patient with results and refuse to over-react — Most sales people are their own worst enemy once they sense that they might not be winning the hardest deal of their life. They transform into irrational, paranoid super-sulky panhandlers asking for the prospect’s loose change. They stop thinking like the savvy business ninjas that got them into the game in the first place. You need to remember to be patient with the process. Put in place the “24 Hour Rule” ( i.e. No communication to the client for a full day after you sense bad news from a prospect.)  Use that time to find an alternative strategy that shows your care of the client rather than a hand-out attempt to beg for their attention.
  4. You ask for non-judgmental advice from a guru — A guru doesn’t need to be a world-famous author or the biggest hotshot in your industry.  Sometimes that guy is the manager who has been doing this for three decades and has seen a million different deals come and go.  Sometimes that guru is just an article written on a blog or your favorite selling magazine.  The key is that the advice has to be non-judgmental.  You are where you are and asking someone (at this point) how you could have done it “better” is a huge waste of your time and a real “downer”.  Talk about “next steps” from “right here”.  Ask for advice and you will likely get some solutions you would not have considered all on your own.
  5. You take time for physically tasking exercise — There is  nothing that compares to kicking ass in the business world like kicking ass in the gym.  It clears your mind and prepares your body for stressful situations.  The world-famous Mayo Clinic calls exercise “Meditation in Motion” and that seems to have been my experience running on the open road.   You need to be physically and mentally prepared for a potential beating and nothing helps you navigate the madness of your schedule like a regular session of body building.  Take 30 minutes and push yourself hard.  You’ll find new confidence returning just when you need it most.
  6. You consider the advantages of the “outrageous” — Sometimes you need to break out the “clown suit” and go for broke — I am joking 99.5% here. While you don’t want to be silly, there is some solid reasoning to asking the hard questions you were afraid to ask during the sales competition — like “we didn’t really have a chance did we?” or “we sure seemed to miss the mark with you guys, didn’t we?” or “I’m embarrassed that we were so so self-centered we didn’t think more about the value we should have been providing to you.”  When you get the answers to these questions, you might find yourself with some solid “behind the scenes” information to propose a winning counter-solution.  You have nothing to lose, so go for it…
  7. You reverse roles with your buyer and justify “you” — Think about how you appear to your prospect.  Are you a whiner? A bully? A loudmouth? A hot-shot?  A miserable time-wasting, arrogant asshole?  Who are you from the buyer’s perspective?  Consider that….   You can call yourself the superhero of value propositions, but if your prospect doesn’t get it, then you have failed – miserably.  Think about the words you are using.  How would you react if they were being “played” to you?  Reverse your roles and see how you look from the other side of the table…
  8. You manage personal distractions by eliminating them first — You can’t execute a masterful strategy while you have nagging side issues beating you between the temples.  Conventional sales books have all made the case for running after distractions after you do your core mission.  I totally disagree.  That’s a horrible process.  It doesn’t work.  Distractions are a part of life.  You have to manage these issues FIRST, before they threaten your ability to perform at high levels.  Don’t half-ass the hardest sale of your life by focusing part of our attention on something else.  Get the nasty stuff off your plate – or at least partly solved – and then go kick ass.
  9. You don’t ask if dropping your price will close the deal — At this point (in the middle of the hardest sale of your life) you are way past grovelling for a rock-bottom price negotiation vantage point. Don’t do it.  Double the value analysis of your offering.  Triple your support offering. But do not cut your price.  Customers want the best offer — not necessary the lowest price.  By providing the most VALUE (i.e. explained benefit to the buyer) you become the best offer.  And here is a question for you: Does a price drop really ever increase your odds of winning the deal?  Doesn’t it just make you more frustrated?  So don’t do it.  Force yourself to demonstrate value instead.
  10. You close the hardest sale of your life — You face down your demons, put in the effort, and at the end of the day you take a commission to the bank.  You close the deal because you want it the most.  Because you are willing to ask for help.   You wait patiently through the chaos, the client demands, and personal fears.  You close the deal.

That’s what you do.

You close the hardest sale of your life.

And why? Because that’s all there is to do.  That’s why you are in the game — to fight, to win…

I certainly don’t want to gloss over this idea. There’s more to this idea and it’s not for everyone.  It’s certainly one of those topics that is easier to talk about than to actually do.

That’s because deep down some of you think that winning is for someone else.  That you aren’t the one who can win.

But you are mistaken.  You are a winner.  You were born that way.  You can do it. You can win big.  You can close the hardest sale of your life.

Call me, I’ll help you.

Obsessively Searching for “Stellar”…

Many thanks to the dozens of you who have sent me kind messages over the last two weeks asking where The DEW View! had gone. 

Nowhere.

I just didn’t have anything shockingly inspiring to share.

I really do want to change the world not waste your time.

ALSO… this blog is getting a massive upgrade.  I am working on some new content at danielwaldschmidt.com for you along with my friends at Channel V Media that I am SO excited to share with you.  That should be coming to you at the beginning of the year.  It’s really going to be VERY cool.  I will finally have a platform to offer you so much more content…

Everything that I am working on falls in the general category of high performance.  It’s a curious thought.  How can you consistently perform at amazingly high levels?

……….How can I do that?

………………..How can you do that?

…………………………How can you hold you employees to that standard?

These questions are on my mind these days.  Frankly, I think it’s on a lot of your minds too — if your emails and calls are an indication of what you are thinking about these days.

Being amazing, awesome, stellar — whatever you call it — really comes down to three attributes that any of us can have.  It’s not a hard formula to understand.  Is is however a painfully hard act to live…

Here is what defines “stellar”:

  1. Desire — You have to want to be better.  This is where it all starts.  Without desire, you will quickly fall off the mark of consistent high performance.  It happens all time — well intentioned, passionate people giving up way too soon.  Their will is broken.  Their passion is quelled.  WHY?  They give up because they forget how bad they really want to be successful.  You need desire now more than ever.  With the gloom of global economic negativity in our face every day, desiring more for yourself is a must.
  2. Dedication — You have to focus your time on being a high performer.  You can’t just simply want to be amazing and it magically happen.  You’re life isn’t a David Blaine performance, it’s a battle — for your time and attention.  Daily activity toward your goal is the only way to be a consistent high performer.  Small things add up to big things over time.  They do.  With the dedication toward accomplishing small goals, you will find yourself doing huge things over time.
  3. Discipline — You have to train yourself to endure the bad stuff that happens along the way.  Despite the best plans and the most altruistic of ambitions, people and circumstances will rain all over your parade.  They will discourage you.  Many times they will deliberately try to hurt you.  You have to be ready to take a punch, get knocked out, and then stand back up and keep fighting — time after time after time.  No matter what happens, you have to have the discipline to reach deep within your soul and fight on.

Success is not usually an intellectual challenge.  It’s a mental challenge.  Desire, dedication, and discipline are not taught in the classroom.  They are a harsh reality of life.  You can be stellar.  You can find excellence.  You can be amazing…

How are you searching for stellar?

—————

By the way, if you missed the “Edgy Conversations” webinar I presented for Top Sales Expert International last week, click here to check out what 740 other people clicked on to see.  The video is about 60 minutes long and got some tremendous reviews from those who saw it live.  As a side note, there were a handful of the hundreds who saw this that thought I was a complete moron — so you know it has to be “spicy”…

How to succeed when your life life kicks the @$%*# out of your sales life

beat-up-faceSometimes life throws you a curve ball.

Things blow up…. bad.

You get beaten up in your personal life and it starts to affect your chances at closing deals.

You have opportunities that demand finesse, skill, and talent — and you feel defeated and ready to quit.

Winning is more than about a notch on the belt. It pays the bills.  Not succeeding is something you don’t want to consider….

So, what do you do?  How do you put your life back together while not missing a career beat?

  1. Recognize that life dealt you a black eye.  There is no use denying the obvious.
  2. Try to solve solvable life problems as soon as possible.  Let go of your ego.
  3. Spend time “grinding” through the sales steps you know you need to get done.  Send emails.  Return calls.
  4. Set aside a few special minutes a day to focus on your sales goals.  Focus on your dreams.
  5. Write down your scattered sales strategy thoughts throughout the days.  Your mind has a lot going on so take the time to store your half-finished ideas on paper.
  6. Write your daily goals on a calendar and don’t let time commitments slide.  Don’t let things that used to take 5 minutes take 30 minutes.
  7. Talk to someone that you trust and get the bad stuff out of your head.  Telling yourself that you suck is not a super way to build confidence.
  8. Challenge yourself in a favorite hobby or through physical exercise.  Take time for mastery.
  9. Take the first step toward your sales goal that day. Then another. Then another.  Build momentum.
  10. Learn from the experience — about yourself, about how your customer might be feeling.  Build empathy.

There’s probably more to this list than the points I have included.  In fact, I am sure there is more to consider.  The point is that life happens — and it hurts.  You want the world to stop so you can heal and it won’t.  It just runs you over again.  Use these basic steps to stay “in the game” while your world works itself out.

Winning is not about removing problems that you can not control but about continuing in spite of them…

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And a special event for The DEW View! community.  Join me November 19th for a Masterclass about “Edgy Conversations: An Explosion of Opportunities

Ever wonder how some sales executives land big deals with big players and you feel stuck chatting up the small guys about opportunities that will probably never happen.  Do you want to get the attention of the right people?  Do you want to see the number of opportunities you are working on explode?  Learn how to have “Edgy Conversations”.  Learn how to have conversations that matter….

I hope we can share a few minutes together…

Myth: Thinking Actually Helps

myth

High-performers in the world of “deal making” share the universal quality of self-assessment. It’s an internal process of strategically measuring the inputs and outputs of a process or idea (or just “what went down…”) and deciding if it could be done better.  And that’s all good.  It’s more than good — it’s necessary.

But it’s probably not good enough to make you an ALL-STAR (the stuff of legends)

You work better when you work with gut instinct.  At this stage in your deal process, you generally know what NOT to do (which is 2/3 of the learning process) and WHERE you need to head.  But to be the best, you have to be extraordinary — and that requires a different, new, or abstractly innovative idea.  Everything that your boss won’t probably agree with…. because it’s not safe.

But there’s actually science to prove that you do make better decisions from gut instinct rather than thinking too much.

“Whether evaluating abstract objects (Chinese ideograms) or actual consumer items (paintings, apartments, and jellybeans), people who deliberated on their preferences were less consistent than those who made non-deliberative judgments,” write authors Loran F. Nordgren (Northwestern University) and Ap Dijksterhuis (Radboud University, The Netherlands).”

And check this out.  The science gets even more compelling.  After 5 different independent studies, the authors found that “the more complex the decision, the less useful deliberation became.”

That means that less “thought-manship” and more gut instinct is the key to outrageous deal success.

P.S.  Ever wonder why outrageous success is so hard to predict (i.e. there’s no formula)?  It’s because you’re thinking too hard about it.  As you move with gut instinct you see enough of the distance to move around obstacles to get to the finish line.  And, like running at the North Pole, you don’t really need to look over your shoulder because your competition is slim…. (and that’s where I like to play)

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