A couple of weeks ago on June 6th, 2019 a dream was accomplished. Even though to the handful of folks who heard about the event or attended may have thought it appeared in happen within the matter of a month, it took over two years to come about. During this two year period I failed multiple times, frustrated a few people, made a handful of amazing relationships, and learned a ton along the way. Part of me hates that it took over two years to have this event come to fruition, and the other part of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
The real question is WHY on God’s green earth should you or anyone else stick with something for two years or more? I believe that can be best explained from what I learned over this time period.
The first thing I learned is that to accomplish anything of impact you have to surround yourself with an amazing community. This event all started with someone who has become one of my best friends. This man is a champion and crazily enough has been supportive of all my harebrained ideas. Bo Cordell is a huge reason why this event even happened. It was because of our monthly coffees that we started having over 3 years ago that an idea, to help the logistics and supply chain community, turned into this event . A little over a year and a half ago we tried to start this community, but our relationships, time and capacity we had to offer were not enough. Even though we had a little success in the beginning, the momentum, support and knowledge wasn’t there to keep it going full steam.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be mindful that you are not sprinting past your family and friends. There were a handful of times when I could have pulled this off earlier, but I would have had no one around me to celebrate with. I remember countless conversations and nights having tough and frustrating conversations with my wife. I was leaving hear and my kids in the wake of my dreams and ambitions and that only would have ended in frustration and pain. I am so thankful that if I listened to hear and took a moment of rest.
The third thing I learned was that to accomplish anything of impact or importance it is all about taking small steps. From the very beginning I wanted to be surrounded by a huge community that made the other good ol’ boy clubs look outdated and weak, make an impact in legislation around logistics and supply chain, and have a large and well attended event. All of these things are great, but to do them all at once and right away is ridiculous. The bigness of the idea was too much for us to handle, and over time it was whittled down to the carrier community event that happened on the 6th. It’s this last idea of small steps that actually saved this ambition from falling away for another two years.
Why stick with something for two years… because you have no idea of the amazing places it will take you, the lessons you will learn, and the adventures you will have along the way. Without this experience I wouldn’t have realized those three lessons:
To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.
The five words that I hate the most are, “Let me have a chance.” Whenever I hear these, and it happens frequently, it makes me want to hang up immediately. Why should you avoid this phrase? Let me explain.
This phrase comes up in sales all the time. It is something that is taught and for the life of me I can’t understand why. When I hear this, I hear extreme desperation and the possibility that what you are promising won’t come to fruition. Then when something invariably goes wrong the follow up is “Let me have a chance to redeem myself.” To that the answer should almost always be “Ummmmmm Heeeeeelllll no.”
When this phrase is used, it means there are other fundamental things not being met for anyone in the conversation to feel safe and that this is actually a good idea. The biggest ingredient missing is trust. Trust takes time and experience, both of which you clearly do not have when these worlds spill out of your mouth.
Do everyone in this world a favor and remove this phrase from your speech. It doesn’t show grit or determination, but desperation and an ill guided hope.
Better phrases you could use are, “ What are the obstacles that are keeping you from using us? What is the best way to get an opportunity to do business with you? How can I build trust with you outside of doing X?” These three phrases are massively better than the “just give me a chance,” one. If you ask any of those three phrases, you need to make sure you listen and then deliver on what your contact tells you. Then, and only then, do the fundamental building blocks for a sale start to form so that all parties feel comfortable and confident that this is the right decision.
Why does it even matter for us to empathize with others?
This past year I had hip surgery. I knew the recovery would take time and be difficult in some aspects, but until I was going through it, I didn’t realize how hard it would be. For two weeks I couldn’t drive and I never imagined how giving up that freedom could be so life altering. I hated having to rely on others for every move I wanted to make. There is so much freedom that comes with a car, and I now fully understand that.
Not only could I not drive for a couple weeks, but I also have a semi constant numbness and pain that I feel in the area around my surgery, and when I do certain movements there is a flash of searing pain. Now I have not taken pain meds since after the third day of surgery, but going through this experience has helped me understand how people could take those meds longer than they should. It would be so easy for someone to have this little bit of pain and want it solved through pills.
Since this experience, I can better empathize with others around me. What I have come to realize is that most of the time we only no a small part of someone’s story. Before we decide to judge or make a decision about someone, we really need to hear what is going on in their lives. Showing empathy will further endear you to those you are in a contact with and is a great way to build a foundation that could eventually lead to a great connection. If you want to build a strong relationship and show someone you really care, it starts with a massive dose of empathy and realizing that we are all in this together. If you truly want to succeed in business, this is one of those foundational things you need to work on.
Creating a to-do list is anything but a waste of time. When we actually take a moment to capture our thoughts onto paper, or into our phones, it actually creates clarity and starts to give us direction for what to do. Plus,
Since we are seemingly in a constant state of hustle and bustle, we need to be taking the time to do this. Outside of giving back mental capacity and creating clarity, it also gives us the ability to say no to the useless, or to be able to delegate or push out what isn’t needed.
Now some of you reading this are in complete agreement with why this is important, but you have already tried this and failed miserably. You have failed because of one key thing, your list was never top of mind and it just created more confusion. To be successful with your list there are two general rules:
- Keep it simple
- Keep it present.
You generally don’t want to have a thousand things on your list because that in and of itself creates confusion and anxiety. A list that’s too big does the exact opposite of what it is intended to do.
As for keeping it present, you need to create the list in a way that works best for you. I do pen and paper. I have the list on a 3 by 5 index card that I keep in my left pocket at all times. Every time my hand goes into my pocket. I feel it and it triggers the to do list in my mind. If you are using a phone, try creating an alarm that goes off at certain times of the day to remind you to review it, or have the list as the lock screen on your phone. However you decide to keep it present, this step is crucial because a forgotten to do list is a wasted list.
Remember, keep it simple and keep it present.
I have a friend who works for a large carrier and has absolutely been crushing it. Recently, she got a promotion and has already been making waves and getting stuff done. Now why is all this important? You’re about to read why.
My friend has been in the supply chain and logistics world for a bit and has built up an amazing reputation which I can personally attest to. I was thrilled when she said she was moving into a new role, yet also a little sad because it meant that she would no longer be in charge of my account. Now that she has been in this new role for a couple of months, it seems my feelings of sadness are not exclusive to me.
As we recently connected over the phone, she mentioned a few customers had requested, on pain of losing their business, that she stay as their rep. This is huge! Why, because it clearly shows that people are buying her, not her company.
You need to realize that when you are selling something, that people are buying you and not your company. Oh… and by the way, no matter who you are and what your position is you are selling something. The company’s name and reputation may get you in the door, but it certainly won’t close any deals for you or keep customers.
People are buying you and the experience you are giving them. NEVER… forget that.