If you’re not familiar with my background I was fortunate fairly early in life, at 15 years old, to work in our family business (you can read my full story here).
Like most growing businesses, initially they will re-invest their resources to help fuel growth. Therefore, when I first got started working there really weren’t enough extra resources available to pay me to do menial jobs like taking out the trash or things which might have been more suited for someone of my age at the time.
Instead, my father created a job for me where I would call on prospective clients, qualify them, and set the appointment whereupon one of our sales people (obviously older than I was) would meet with them and work the deal.
Not only was I doing telephone sales, I wasn’t paid until the deal closed. If you’re wondering why on earth I consider this first of employment arrangements to be fortunate — well, there are actually a number of reasons — several of which I’ll outline below for you.
First, in-spite of the fact that most people would likely scoff at such an arrangement in employment I not only embraced it, but in time came to actually enjoy it. I can’t claim to have had any real foresight that it would have the positive impact it would on me to begin with.
In truth, I think I accepted the position because I didn’t know any better. In other words, I didn’t have any frame of past reference which was there to tell me that I wasn’t supposed to be able to do it. Nothing in my past experience told me I wasn’t capable of it, nor was there anything which led me to believe that telephone sales is hard, or that most people who work on straight commission aren’t successful. Because those things weren’t in my frame of reference at that point in my life I simply did what was asked of me. Learned as best I could, applied what I learned, and low and behold began to improve and do rather well with it.
My hope for you is that you caught the lesson in the above example. The point being that often we’re capable of far more then we realize at the time.
Friend, doubt stems often from what we happen to believe we are capable of, and since what we see ourselves capable of is often limited by our past experiences or our current frame of reference it’s important that we continually try new things and seek to expand our skill sets beyond where they are now.
It’s also worth noting that I did have the advantage of good solid training. I wasn’t simply “thrown to the wolves” as the saying goes. Rather, when I first started out I was trained to understand what I was doing and what was expected of me. I was also watched over and taught along the way what was necessary to be successful.
The important thing I’d like you to get is that I’m not sharing the story above with you to make myself sound important. In truth, anyone given the same opportunity, with a willingness to do what is asked of them, and with enough initiative to apply what they learn — regardless of age would have been as capable of doing the same.
The point I want you to get from the example above is that you have an incredible amount of talent with which you can hone and develop in any way you wish. But like the great sculptors before you, you must put forth the effort to get started.
Embrace The Numbers Game…
Another extremely important lesson I learned very early on was that there’s almost always a numbers game component you can apply to certain parts of your life. Here’s what I mean:
Before I ever picked up the phone to call that first prospective client I was instructed to look for a “call to prospect ratio”. Put simply, this is how many calls, on average, I had to make before a call became a prospect (or in my case I was able to set an appointment with). Interestingly, it didn’t take long before certain patterns began to appear.
Equally fascinating to me was that I realized as I got better, as I improved in my ability to interact with prospective clients my call to prospect ratio improved greatly as well. It also showed me first hand that I had control, at least to some degree of how well I would do, or could do financially.
You see, one of the things which scares people off from accepting a straight commission type pay arrangement (or starting a business of their own, or any number of other undertakings in life where the outcome isn’t always clear cut) is that they feel as though they have little if any control over their earning potential. In reality, while it’s largely a manufactured fear in the mind of the particular person, it can appear quite real just the same.
Understanding that I could control my ratio depending on what additional effort I was willing to put in was an essential skill — and one I’m truly thankful to have acquired at such a young age. I can honestly say that this understanding has served me countless times throughout my life, and allowed me to go for opportunities which I might have otherwise passed on had I not learned and fully embraced it.
Understanding that you can “play the numbers” in your life has far greater benefits then just the examples I listed above. You can use them to find a relationship after you’ve lost the person you were sure was your soul-mate (i.e. if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again), stack the deck in your favor in your career search by literally putting your resume out anywhere you can think of that you’d enjoy working, stretching the bounds of what conventional wisdom may say in terms of what’s the “right thing” to do — these are just a few examples of where you can put the ideas to work in your own life.
You see, when you understand that you’re not a lost ship at sea simply hoping that things will work out this time, and the wind will magically fill your sails — you’ll begin to realize that you hold the power. Depending on the given event, or place at which you find yourself, you can choose to stick-it-out just a little while longer, you can change course, or choose to try something completely different.
The point is you will suddenly realize that things don’t occur by happenstance. And that you’re not meant to sit idle as the winds of life blows you in whichever direction it sees fit. You will understand that you’re an active participant in your own life. The way in which it will play out, the successes and rewards life has to offer you can be yours. You will experience the comfort which comes from knowing that your actions do in fact make a difference.
These are but a few of the lessons I was fortunate to have grasped early on in life. I suspect, that you’ve also had lessons from your life which have taught you and served you in great ways as well.
From time to time go back to those life lessons. Look at the person you’ve become as a result of having gone through and overcome your challenges. Celebrate the amazing person that you are, and whenever possible encourage and inspire those around you.
It’s your life, LIVE BIG!
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