Sales and Sales Management Blog

March 14, 2010

Has Your Joy Been Drained?

Filed under: attitude,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 7:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Two years isn’t a very long time.  On the other hand, the last two years have been a very, very long time.  I know of few companies, big or small, or sellers that haven’t struggled over the last months.  I’ve also noticed that a lot of us have become preoccupied with coming through this recession in one piece; some have even become sullen and fearful.  I know a great many, me included, have become so focused on our business struggles and taking care of the opportunities that arise that we’ve lost sight of why we do what we do.

I can’t speak for others but I don’t do what I do simply for the money or because it’s what I know to do.  I do what I do because I enjoy working with sellers and sales leaders, seeing them grow, seeing their businesses change, helping them increase their skills and changing their behaviors.  I do it because I enjoy the change I see in them as they grow.  I enjoy the positive impact I can have on them.  I enjoy the opportunities I have to learn more about sales, management, human nature, marketing, and business, and to grow. 

For the past months—heck, not months, it’s been two years since business started to dry up and eighteen months since business really crashed, so I guess I shouldn’t be talking about months but rather years—I’ve done nothing but focus and worry about work—where my next contract would come from; will I have to lower my rates; do I need to expand the areas that I specialize in; what else can I do to market; what new markets can I work into;, and a million other concerns.   Talking to prospects, talking to other trainers and consultants, writing, developing training programs, experimenting with new social media, and a whir of other things consume my attention while working 16, 18, 20 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Lots of work. 

A great deal of worry.

In the past, my dogs, Mr. B.J. and Ms. Chloe, have taught me a bit about selling.  Recently they’ve taught me about what I, and many of the men and women I work with, have forgotten—why I do what I do.  

Let me explain.

Whenever I go outside and leave the dogs inside, whether for two minutes, two hours, or two days, when I re-enter B.J. and Chloe are thrilled to see me.  They jump up and down, B.J. sits up, Chloe jumps up on my leg until I get down on the floor where they greet me with kisses and whimpers. 

When we fix their dinner every evening they’re in the kitchen watching.  They sit quietly watching whichever one of us is making their dinner.  They know exactly the steps necessary to fix their food and once we get to the point of heating their dinner up in the microwave, they begin dancing around and playing with each other in anticipation. 

Each evening after dinner we take them for a walk.  As with everything else, we have a routine.  After I’ve eaten and move into the den they begin asking to go out.  B.J. asks by sitting up, begging, and Chloe asks by getting up in my lap and pawing my hand.  If this goes on for longer than they think it should, the begging and pawing becomes more insistent barks and whimpers.  When I begin to get off the couch they know what’s coming and the excitement really begins.  B.J. begins rolling on the floor and stretching.  Chloe jumps up on the chair and stands on her back legs, her little arms pawing the air as she works to keep her balance.  Once they get hooked to the leash they can barely contain themselves as they rush for the door.

Later comes treat time.  It starts with B.J. begging and barking.  He’ll sit up in a begging position and stay there for several minutes if he has to.  Once he has my attention I’ll tell him to “show me what you want.”  He and Chloe run to the laundry room where their treats are kept above the dryer.  Both dance and jump around until the treat is in their mouth.

What does any of this have to do with anything?

Well, for me, a lot.

Mr. B.J. and Ms. Chloe’s day is full of what I’ve lost over the past couple of years—joy. 

B.J. and Chloe find great joy in the smallest things.  Their life isn’t consumed with what’s going to happen tomorrow.  They don’t dwell on their problems and issues.  They live life for today and are thrilled with the simplicity of living such as going for a walk, getting a treat, or just having Debbie or I come home.

Life isn’t perfect for them.  They have their share of doggie problems.  They’re not happy all of the time.  They get on one another’s nerves on occasion; they don’t get all the treats they want; they don’t their way all of the time. But they don’t hold on to their problems and they bounce back quickly.  They spend far more time seeking the good things in their life than dwelling on their problems.

I’m sorry to say that hasn’t been me for many months; seemingly forever.  Worse, that hasn’t been a very large number of my associates, clients, prospects, and acquaintances. 

It took my dogs to remind me that the economy and a tough business environment aren’t the determiners of my joy in life.  I love what I do.  I love working with sellers and sales leaders.  My joy comes from what I do and from my family, friends, clients, prospects, and the great folks I work with, not from the accident of circumstances I find myself in.

If you’ve found like I did that the circumstances of the past couple of years have slowly drained the joy out of you, I encourage you to take a lesson from B.J. and Chloe—there’s more to life than tomorrow.  Love what you do and drain the joy out of everything.  As for me, I think I deserve a treat and a walk.

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5 Comments »

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by SFsalesjobshoot: Has Your Joy Been Drained? http://bit.ly/aNdGtq #news #sales…

    Trackback by uberVU - social comments — March 15, 2010 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  2. No,because I have lot of things to do and really busy with my work.I really work hard to achieve higher for what I am know and really inspire to fulfill my goals.

    Comment by accountants in worcester — March 15, 2010 @ 8:19 am | Reply

    • Glad to hear that you’ve not lost your joy. I think all of us have lots to do and are busy working and work hard to achieve –that’s part of what can divert us from the joy of life–we get caught up in the “now” and forget about the broader aspects of life that contribute to making life worth living. I too love what I do and work hard to excel, but in the struggle through this recession I lost sight to some extent that life is joyful and that work, no matter how fulfilling, isn’t the sole or even main purpose of life.

      Comment by Paul McCord — March 15, 2010 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  3. The joy in life lies in purpose, knowing that we have a meaning to taking every breath each day outside of our own existence. I can sympathize with the temptation to worry and the stress this brings during hard economic times. But one thing that this recession has taught me like no other before has been that the origin of worry lies in our desire to find all the answers introspectively within ourselves to remove uncertainty from our lives. Failing to find them there, we fret.

    So, the solution?

    Don’t look within you for the answers to uncertainty, as if we were omniscient divinities. Look elsewhere. This begins by knowing our limitations; being humble.

    Comment by Arturo F Munoz — March 18, 2010 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

    • Arturo,

      Well put, the major cause of our worry is our inability to control the circumstances we find ourselves in. Uncertainty is one of the primary facts of our lives. We seek security, yet in reality we have little control of what happens around us, thus our lives are filled with insecurity. Many of us, when faced the barebones fact that we have so little control of our lives try even harder to gain control or wonder what we’ve done to deserve the circumstances we find ourselves in. As you point out, we are not omniscient nor omnipotent.

      Comment by Paul McCord — March 28, 2010 @ 10:54 am | Reply


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