Where’s Your Stick?
Note: This is my guest blog post for AutoSuccess Magazine
Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, had a saying painted on the side of her airplane; “Always think with your stick forward,” which means do all the thinking you want as long as you’re moving forward.
My offensive line football coach in college had a theory very similar to Ms. Earhart’s. When the ball was snapped, Coach Fremin had 2 simple rules:
#1) If you forget the play, don’t just stand around; go hit somebody-anybody from the other team.
#2) Play until the whistle blows because you’re more likely to get hurt when you’re standing around the pile.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the sales profession, you’ve seen variations of sales careers that have either never gotten off of the ground or were once soaring careers that stalled in mid-flight and crashed in a fiery demise. Regardless of which extreme- unhappy endings come when you are not thinking with your stick forward.
Here are a few ways to keep your stick moving forward.
Stop Looking For Perfection : Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity. Opportunities aren’t luck, they’re revelations and are discovered only by those who are tenacious enough to keep digging, scratching, clawing, and scraping their way to success. As long as they’re making new vehicles, you’ll never be perfect in your product knowledge or negotiating skills nor will you ever find the perfect customer, inventory or management staff. Perfection is another word for procrastination; we procrastinate because we fear failure. Whatever you fear, run towards it. You want to get better on the phone? You want to close more deals? You want to be able to control your sale better? Then take action-you’ll never be perfect, but where others become bitter with each failure, you’ll become better.
No more chalk talk: No team wins a championship simply by the plays that they design-every play put on paper is designed to be a win. But what is designed in practice is refined in play and it’s learning from the setbacks and unforeseen circumstances that allow you to win. Like children, we pout when things don’t go our way; when a customer doesn’t buy, hangs up on us, or buys elsewhere we sit down and pout- all because the play we designed was supposed to work but didn’t. Pick up your lip, and get back in the game. When will you win again is not the question; the better question to ask is how long will you sit in your loss?
They’re not your problem : You’re the problem not anyone or anything else. The best place to look when things aren’t going your way is the mirror. You’re not a tree, if you don’t like where you are then get off of you ass and make a move. You couldn’t help where you came from, but you can help where you’re going. If you’re overweight, have bad credit, an alcoholic, or sell 5 cars per month, you have to own it and take the necessary steps to be slightly better than you were yesterday.
Bonus: I know I said a few, but there is a 4 th
You’re worth it: Enough said.
Most people live in the 8th day of the week: Someday. Someday I’ll get my big break; someday my plans will come into fruition; someday someone will see that I’m being cheated. You’ve got 24 hours to make the most of this day-you don’t know how many more minutes, days, weeks, or years that you have left to play this game called LIFE, but one thing is certain. You have now and it’s called “present” for a reason.
Think with your stick forward.
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop.
(HT to Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle Is The Way to write this weeks post.)