I simply cannot resist black olive and artichoke pizza. I also can-not resist ice cream of any flavor, flannel sheets at 5 a.m. on a frigid winter morning, a good book versus a good walk, and doing just about anything in place of going on a sales call. So this time of year — first quarter goals and resolutions and all — I wrestle with my resolve to be a healthier, more productive, person. None of this is new; I wrangled with the same issues this time last year. But what is new this year is I have George. George is my sales trainer. George and The Sandler Selling System taught me the proper way to set and reach my goals.
In my 30-plus years of life, goal setting and resolutions have fallen into the hokey column. I've arrogantly left them to self-help gurus and those with more serious addictions than mine. I'd dabble in goal setting, making an offhand list the first of the year but always decidedly ended up relying on the “good things happen to good people” theory. Unfortunately this dismissive approach assumed I was a good person and left too much to fate. I couldn't then be too disappointed if I fell off track because I didn't assume any control in the first place. George changed all of that.
Speaking from my converted stance, I graciously acknowledge that there are still those who mentally roll their eyes at the very mention of goal setting. That's perfectly okay. I was there. I was there until one day in class George casually suggested that perhaps I was just fine hanging out in my comfort zone. Me? Comfort zone? No. Doesn't he know that I run a remodeling company? Remodelers and small business owners by their very nature don't live in “comfortable.” We are a breed of explorers, experimenters, risk takers. Fine, our profit sharing has stayed in the same general ballpark for the past few years. I drive the same tiny car. I hate when the phone rings with a prospect at the other end. I'd rather spend the day working on our new ad campaign then making cold calls to architects. I suppose I could concede that George has a point.
I had an assignment: Dream Collage. Hokey, but very, very powerful. I spent an afternoon tearing pictures out of magazines, sketching images, gathering small but meaningful trinkets from around the house and pasting them to a giant poster board. Over the course of a few hours, I created a visual guide of my dreams. Not a list in a private journal — a huge, colorful, splashy, tangible canvas. The following Tuesday I presented it to my class. I gave words to the images cementing the goals in my mind and publically asked to be held accountable. This collage is in my office. I look at it when I am on the phone with a prospect. The prospect, unbeknownst to him, is now an ally. If I sell work to this prospect, I am one step closer to achieving my dreams. Conversely, if the prospect isn't a fit, I have the courage to say so sooner. Why waste time on someone who is an impediment to your dreams?
The second step of this assignment was to make headings based on the images in the collage and list out the specific actions I must take to pull off my dreams. This is the first list of goals I have ever made that has actually stuck. With the combination of the collage and the list, remarkable things have happened. I have actually met and exceeded many of my goals and have had to rewrite and re-collage to update my dreams. I am more purposeful than ever before. And sales have become a lot easier. I have always loosely dreamed of high revenues and good returns, but giving specific and personal meaning to them has put an extra dance in my step. Actually putting my goals and dreams down on paper makes them real; I can't hide from them and I can't leave them to fate. And every other Tuesday in class, George makes certain I stay on track.
|Allison is a partner at F.H. Perry Builder, a boutique, residential, general contracting firm serving greater Boston. Allison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|