Dates, adventures, and trips don’t have to be extravagant. Those things can be ordinary and that is more than ok.
Right now my family doesn’t have much if any expendable income. That absolutely sucks at times because issues with health, cars and anything else that life brings keeps us from doing anything the world or Instagram would deem exciting. I want to offer my family the world so not being able to do cool “noteworthy” things is a big hit to my ego.
What I am constantly being reminded of is the fact that dates with my wife don’t have to be big shindigs. Maybe it is us just Netflixing and Chilling… or whatever the kids are calling it now-a-days. Maybe a date is me grabbing chips and queso from a local place and making margaritas at home so we don’t have a big liquor bill at the restaurant. Maybe it is us just going on a quiet walk around the hood. All of these ideas have minimal expense and are anything but Instagram worthy, but they allow us to connect and have fun. The truth is, I don’t want to divorce my wife in 30 years because I don’t know her. Just because we don’t have the money doesn’t mean we can’t do dates and connect. The same idea holds true for time with my kids or time with the family as a whole. We are blessed that my in-laws own a cabin an hour away from where we live so vacations or time away doesn’t cost more then some groceries and gas.
This lesson that things don’t have to be extravagant but can be ordinary is a tough one and something my wife and I have to keep on reminding ourselves of constantly. I promise, if you latch on to this concept, not only will your wallet thank you, but you won’t live in guilt as it gives you freedom to just enjoy your wife and your kids. Now go do something ordinary.
The biggest lesson I am learning right now is that every freaking thing is happening in seasons.
I know, that that in and of itself is incredibly obvious but I know it is something that we all forget. We all long for something more, something better or something different. We long for the raise, for the job promotion or to be a part of a different company. As we are longing for the different, we forget the simple fact that where we are today is not where we will be in the future. As long as we keep pushing, striving and doing, we will not be in the same place a year from now as where we are today. Yes, physically and maybe even hierarchically in the organization you may be in the exact same place, but if you have been learning, striving and growing, you have much more to offer and can use those new skills to impact yours and others futures in a positive way.
Remember, business is all about seasons and just because you may be in one where the walls, floors and ceiling are covered in crap, it doesn’t mean that is where you will be in 6 months or beyond. Keep learning and keep taking those small steps forward.
Stories change everything. A story can be the sole difference between you getting a sale, a new connection, a new job or perhaps even the man or woman of your dreams. Let me explain what I mean with a short story.
In October of this past year on of my brothers got married. For the groomsman, he had picked out some suits. Like the many times before, when I got the suit back from the tailor, multiple pockets were still sewn shut. I grabbed a little pocket knife that I had and cut the thread so I could actually use the pockets. I figured that there would be others who’s suits where in a similar disarray, so I brought the knife on the wedding day. Low and behold I was correct. The best man, a guy that has known our family for decades, ended up needing to use the knife. When I finished up he handed it right back without a second glance at the knife. As he handed the knife back my other brother who was also one of the groomsman spotted the knife.
His face lit up with joy because it was one of the knives that he had brought back after serving overseas near the Middle East. As soon as the best man heard that this knife was a gift from my brother, everything about it changed. He asked to see it again and he held it with respect and awe as my brother, who gifted the knife, was able to tell a little about it and his time in the army
As I said, stories change everything. They turn an ordinary knife into something worth taking a second glance at. Stories are so important that before we go into any of those moments that could be life changing, we need to make sure that we are prepared. Prepared not just with general background information on the other person or company, but prepared with a story that clearly illustrates why using you, or what you offer, is a game changer.
I had surgery earlier this year and because of that I got out of my morning routine. That was nice for a season, but it was not going to work long term. I wasn’t waking up early enough to get all that I needed done before I headed off to work, and I also didn’t feel as ready or energized for the day even though I was technically getting more sleep. I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things and here are the two ways I did it.
1. I stopped hitting the snooze and just got up.
2. I started keeping the same wake up time, even on the weekends
The best thing we can do in the mornings is to just get up when our alarm goes off. I know, it feels soooooo good to push the snooze button and get ten more minutes of shuteye, but hitting the snooze is actually bad for you. When you “go back to sleep” for those extra few minutes it starts up a new sleep cycle, one you won’t finish, and it actually puts you in a groggy state of mind. Do yourself a favor and just get up.
This second tip is a tough one. I mean why wouldn’t you want to get more sleep on the weekends? You don’t have to get up for work, so what is the point? Our bodies are built for rhythm and schedule. When we break patterns and routines it can throw us off of our game. Plus, when we hit Monday and have to wake up a couple hours early, it throws us out of wack and it takes us a day or few to get back into the swing of our mourning routine.
If you start implementing these two small tips, I know that you will be more refreshed and be better prepared to crush the day ahead of you. These are two tough ones to implement because I know how much we all love our sleep. When we start implementing these steps, we feel more refreshed and our mind is ready to start going from the moment we get up. This allows us to hit the day running and go after our to-do’s instead of rolling around our bed wiping the crusties from our eyes.
In a recent community event that I hosted, the topic of “How to hold your customers accountable” was discussed. I was able to get one of my friends, who has been crushing it in sales for over 15 years and recently had his best year ever, come and share his insights with the group. Here are some of those insights.
Contract negotiation is all about the relationship. Most people just try and get facts about the company that will help the deal move forward, but they are missing key elements. Those key elements are that they need to more fully understand the individual they’re doing business with. It seems a simple understanding of what that person does and their specific role is sometimes overlooked. This is a crucial mistake because if you don’t know who you are literally doing business with, there is no way you can best position yourself and the product to meet their needs.
We also need to realize that contract negation and building relationships is a dance. If you all are not moving in sync, it is felt and problems start to come up. Stop stepping on their toes, take a breath and get back into the rhythm. We need to have our eyes open to everything around us so we don’t mess up by doing a line dance while they are doing the Cupid Shuffle or the Fox Trott. To be a better “dance partner,” go back to the point above and re-read it. Get to know the other party intimately if you want to know how to best move and grove together.
Most importantly, be you. Know what you are great at and go into the conversation putting those qualities and characteristics first. If you are more reserved, don’t come barging in the meeting telling jokes. If you typically slower in building trust, don’t start with a complex question that goes beyond the surface. However you are, lead with that gifting.
Now, let’s say you execute what you think is the perfect pitch and you get to know the customer in and out, but for some reason you don’t get the deal. What in the heck happened? That is a great question and one you need to ask yourself. Don’t go blaming the should have been customer or other people on your team. What you need to be doing is see what you missed. Where you actually talking to the decision maker or where you interacting with the gatekeeper the entire time? Did you miss it because someone had an inside track with an executive so they got the business? If you missed the sale, you need to take the time to look over the whole story and see what fact or issue you overlooked and didn’t clearly answer.
If you didn’t close the deal, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it helps you better refine your craft. Even if you missed the deal for something small, that one thing can be a huge leverage point the next time this opportunity comes around, because lets be clear about one thing… that opportunity to sell is right around the corner.