The Best Business Advice I've Ever Received (And It Came From My Shrink)
The best business advice I've ever gotten wasn’t from Gary Vee, Richard Branson or anyone else you’d think. It was from my shrink, John - a soft-spoken man from Portugal in his 50s who loves cardigan sweaters and works mostly with small children.
Imagine my surprise.
At a previous sales job, I had been lobbying for months to make a jump within the company from the local sales team to the enterprise sales team. It was a jump that had never been done and wasn’t really thought of as possible. I did everything right - met with members of the team, spent time learning about their jobs, built up advocates. On top of this, I was a top performer on the local team. My bet paid off and I got the call.
“Dom, we have an opening. I can’t say it officially yet, but keep up the good work and we’ll get the move done next month.”
This was my big break, I thought! But 15 days later, I was in deep depression.
I had put up huge numbers in my territory for the previous three months and now there literally was no one else qualified left to sell. I needed to get to 5 closes to keep myself off performance review and I was at 2 with half the month left. I also knew no excuse would matter. If I got put on performance review, I would not get the job. Period.
That’s when I walked into my therapist’s office and just.. exploded! I ranted for 20 minutes about how unfair everything was and how screwed I was going to get. When I finally had let it all out, he nodded his head calmly and said:
“You’re right. There is a really good chance you’re going to get screwed. So, the way I see it, you have two choices. You can stay angry about the injustice of the whole thing or you can surrender to it and accept that you may do everything right and still fail.”
In an instant, I got it. This was a watershed moment both professionally and personally. I had finally accepted that not everything is in my control. But instead of my fear that it would cause me to give up, it did the opposite. I went to work the next week calm and free. I simply sat down and did my work the best I could knowing that it might not be enough. Those 15 days were some of the best work I ever did and like magic, sales started to fall. I finished the month with 7 sales and a brand new promotion. A promotion that was a huge step in getting me to the successful sales consulting business I have today.
But, the happy ending is not the lesson. Had it not worked out, I still learned something much more valuable that day. It still carries me through adversity in my business many years later.
If you don’t allow for the possibility of failure in your business when times are tough (as they invariably will be), your work will suffer because you won’t be thinking clearly and strategically. Instead, you’ll be clouded by worry, anger, fear and every other negative emotion out there. It is only when you truly accept not everything is in your control that can you control the things that are.
I hope this lesson serves you as well in your business as it has in my life. Have a great day!