Isn't it crazy how fast time flies?! I'm convinced the Earth is spinning faster than it used to.
It was many years ago, but at the end of one particular school year, each of my four kids said to me at different times, “I can’t believe the school year is over already!”
I don’t know about you, but I NEVER felt a school year went fast. This was all the evidence I needed to know that time truly moves faster than it used to.
I’ve been reminded of this again recently by each of the four kids who have graduated college and moved on to very adult phases of life; graduate school, living abroad, careers, and families of their own.
Wow! How can that be?! 😳
The little kid inside you
While they are all young, very responsible adults, I love that I still see glimpses of their inner child in their actions and attitudes. If I look close enough, I realize it isn't that I've lost their three or 10-year-old selves, I just have to look a bit harder.
They say youth is wasted on the young, and maybe it is. Why is it that when we're young, we can't wait to grow up and have responsibilities? And once we grow up, we long to be young again.
Sadly, you can’t return to your childhood, but if you can go back and find a little of your leftover inner child, it can make this whole “responsibility” thing you have going on much more fun.
Here are a few suggestions.
Ask questions like a 3-year-old
Have you ever marveled at the ability of a 3-year-old to ask questions? Have you ever really stopped to wonder why they ask so many questions? I think it's because everything is so new to them, it's exciting, and they have a genuinely insatiable curiosity about the world. It can be exhausting as a parent, but at the same time, you have to love their enthusiasm.
But now, as adults, we approach most sales opportunities from our very serious, very adult, very "me-focused" perspective. We tell ourselves, “They allowed us in; they must be dying to know everything about the history of our agency, about all of our experience, about the great level of service we will provide, about blah, blah, blah.”
Boring! Unimaginative! And, just plain wrong!
Now, imagine how powerful it would be to take that same level of insatiable 3-year-old curiosity into every prospect/client meeting. How much more would you know about your clients, their issues, fears, and opportunities? With that understanding, imagine how prepared you would be to impact their business.
Don't you believe they would be equally impressed and comforted by your curiosity about them? Don't you think they would rather end their meeting with you exhausted from your questions than bored to tears from hearing your story?
Be as optimistic as a 10-year-old
When my son Zach was 10, I would shake my head at times at the level of optimism he brought into each day. If I shared with you some of the things he knew he could do, you might have suggested a battery of tests.
What he had/has isn’t the arrogant type of optimism and confidence that turns people away. It’s just the opposite—it’s the type of optimism and confidence that attracts one person to another. You would have found yourself rooting for him and expecting him to succeed even though what he attempted violated three laws of physics and multiple laws of common sense.
I think it was because, at ten years old, he didn’t carry the baggage of everything that “can’t be done.” He just assumed that it would happen because he wanted it to happen and believed in his ability to make it happen.
Again, how powerful would it be for you as a producer to eliminate the head trash that keeps you focused on everything you think you can’t do? Your level of optimism/pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Tell yourself you don’t deserve that “unreachable” account, that they will never end their current relationship, and you will never get it. Worse than that, you will never even make an attempt.
However, suppose you approach every opportunity with the conviction of using every resource at your disposal to make that new account yours AND proceed with the passion and determination of your inner 10-year-old child. In that case, there is a chance it will happen. Crazier than that, when you have the optimism/confidence to make it happen, others will sense that in you and help to make it happen.
Feel as invincible as a 21-year-old
I can still remember that age myself, and the thought of having even one of them in my house scared the crap out of me for a long time. Thankfully, they each proved that my fear was unwarranted.
You remember being 21, don't you? For some, the memories from that year may be cloudier than others, but I'm sure you can remember the sense of invincibility from back then.
When you're 21, you feel as though you can survive anything. Minor setbacks are seen for what they are, minor setbacks. The thought that something could go wrong rarely kept us from trying something new. Why, as we grow older, do we start seeing doomsday scenarios in the thought of trying something new?
How come being “double-dog dared” ceases to be a challenge that must be accepted?
Start reminding yourself that there is nothing about the sales process, nothing about changing how you work, nothing about trying something new that is life-threatening. (Okay, except for that thing where the skateboarder rides the board down the handrail and doesn't reach the bottom before he rides the "handrail pony." That one is terrifying, and I won’t be trying it anytime soon.)
Forks in the road
Of course, there will be minor setbacks along the way, like rejection and deals we won’t win, but they are still just that – minor setbacks. Ultimately, we always survive and are better prepared for the next time.
So my challenge is to bring a little of your inner child to work with you.
- Ask questions with the insatiable curiosity of a 3-year-old.
- Have the belief and optimism that you will be successful like you did when you were 10.
- Approach each day with the fearless attitude you had at 21.
Do this and wrap it with the responsibility you now have as a result of your experiences, and, wow, wouldn't that be powerful?! Not only would it be powerful, but wouldn't it be fun to play/work like a little kid again?
Go ahead; I double-dog dare ya!
Photo by nomadsoul1