I bought a new SUV this weekend. It replaced the vehicle I had to purchase when my former SUV got totaled. My former beloved vehicle was the one I was driving when I got T-boned by an asphalt truck while leaving a client.
I enjoyed driving my rock-solid replacement SUV/truck (aka, tank). I just didn’t fully realize how much baggage was associated with my SUV Tank until this weekend. When I felt relieved and liberated to be moving on.
There only were two vehicles on the road that fateful day, mine and the truck that plowed into me. The trucker apparently had decided that crossing the yellow line into my lane somehow made sense. Having no time to react, I realized I was going to have to let the truck hit me; at full cruising speed. I figured: This Was It. There probably was no more to my story. I was peaceful in this realization.
Got the picture?
Today, I’m not quite the same girl who climbed into the driver’s side of my beloved SUV on that fateful day.
Today, I’m better than that. And a heck of a lot better off.
You see, that day, when there were more than a few re-arranged pieces to me that I had to deal with, I made a few promises to myself. Ones that I put into play immediately, even when I wasn’t sure whether I had much of a choice on the matter.
You see, earlier that day, I had a conference call with an associate who was disgruntled with his career path. I recall telling him: “You know, your life can change in an instant. Why let others tell you what direction to take?”
You see, that day, when I realized I was on this side of the grass, in the ambulance on the way to surgery, I promised myself:
“I am not late.” Even if I am running late for a business meeting. Even if folks are breathing down my neck. Even if it’s stuff completely out of my control. Why work with and for people who make you feel behind the 8-ball and “late?” Constantly, incessantly.
“Not only is my time valuable, I am valuable”. Which meant I needed to work with and for people who believed in and respected me. As a sales professional. As a technical professional. That started with me respecting me. And truly believing in myself, instead of paying lip service to that notion.
“I am not someone else’s idea of a commoditized, stereotype salesperson.” If you feel like that, then you are not much more than a commoditized body in a sales force constantly being thrown against a quota-based selling target. Why work in that type of environment, even if it is the only type of job you think you can get. Think again.
“Jumping through other people’s hoops is a complete waste of my time.” You know “those types” of management and clients that are just playing with you. There is no personal target marketing if you are obligating yourself to jump through their hoops. Stop it.
Funny thing. When you walk through the fire and come out the other side, your epiphany is tangible to everyone.
You are no longer late for anyone else’s game anymore, because you are not getting sucked into participating in the first place.
You aren’t selling anyone else’s stuff anymore, because you are articulating your value – and the value of the spin that you put on their solutions – in your own words, with passion and commitment.
You no longer are anyone else’s stereotype or commodity because you have made the most critical “sale” in your life: to yourself, on your own value.
You are focusing your life through your own windshield, instead of looking fearfully in the rear-view mirror back at someone else’s idea of a road.
Yep, sometimes it (literally) takes getting smacked alongside the head to wake up and understand the choices you are able to make about your personal core values and your professional development.
Before it gets to that point in your own career, what might you start doing differently? Today.
Babette Ten Haken provides technical people and other sellers a solid strategy for how to explain a product, its benefits, and its value in ways that buyers can easily understand and sellers can comfortably present. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, works with entrepreneurs, start-ups & investors, as well as small businesses and manufacturers, focusing on revenue-generating and portfolio-building business development strategies.