How do Wisdom and Selling go together?

Welcome to Wisdom Selling. So if you are like me, you are always wanting to learn more. Well here is the deal about selling. It is the desire to exchange something you have, for something of more value to you. You may have an idea, a product, a service which people will want to pay for, allowing you to make a profit. You have to seek out people who might want it, and convince them it is worth the price you are charging. Or like me, you may just have a little wisdom, and are looking for someone who values it enough to want to use it. My value received in return is the joy of your feedback. So, I am selling wisdom. The cost to you, your interest. I want to help others as well. Visit the links page and shop for some good deals. Any profits on money you spend there will be used by Wisdom Selling to support non-profit businesses in developing their strategies.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What do you do when everyone doesn’t like you?

Do you think you could stand it if everyone in the world liked you?  Imagine the pressure to remember names, spouses, interests and hobbies for all the people you come into contact with.

Life would be so simple if we could view the world that way.  In other words, that life is easier by having some people not be a match for us.  However, for most of us that is not the case.  We live our lives under the burden of those people who do not like us or who do not want to have a connection with us.   Why is it more important to us that we had a negative experience with someone that that we had so many positive ones.

I used to be so scared of people that I could hardly function.  I worried that each interaction was a place for someone to make me feel worse about myself by rejecting me in some way.  What a prison that can be.  Do you ever worry about this?  Have you experienced a situation where someone rejected you or did not want to interact with you?

This happens quite frequently in business.  We have prospects who don’t want to buy from us and we take it personally.  We have a boss who just doesn’t connect with us and promotes those with whom he does.  We have suppliers that walk all over us trying to use intimidation to tilt the negotiations.  We have peers that are competing with us for the next promotion.  It can be quite overwhelming if we let it.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it causes us to miss the positives that are going on around us, and which make up the majority of our interactions.  I decided a few years ago that there had to be something better for me.  Therefore, I began an informal, where I decided to take a positive approach with everyone I met, and see what kind of reactions I got. 

Turns out that only about 70% of those I talked to were interested in responding.  30% of those I talked to either cut me off, or demonstrated irritation or just tolerated me then moved on as soon as they could.  Now, you could say that I have some communications challenges or personality issues.  That is what I used to think. What I believe now is that there is a large group of people out there I can connect with if I go seek them out.

The last time you checked, was 70% more than 30%?  Of course it is.  Now for the hard question.  Is the value of the positive feedback from the 70% greater than the impact of the negative feedback of the 30%?  The answer to this is the 70% Solution.  If you can accept that this greater percentage of people is going to connect with you, you are freed up to remove the fear from your interactions.  You can pursue relationships and celebrate the ones you get, while understanding those you don’t.

Now, this does not mean the 30% are bad people. They just have a different 70%.  It also does not mean you will never connect with them, but you may have to use a different approach, and be very patient while understanding it may never happen.

I encourage you to consider the implications of this line of thinking.  If you are sincere and reach out to people you have a high likelihood of being rewarded.  If you are yourself on the sales call or in your company interactions, you will have some success you didn’t expect.  You will not have the burden of pretending to be something you aren’t to connect to those you can’t.

Go out there and begin to talk to people freely.  See for yourself what happens as a result.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If you don't love your life you won't live your life!

Sometimes the simple hits me as so profound.  I was in a meeting recently where a leader was discussing how to teach adults.  He was discussing issues related to the Bible and he said this: "If you don't love the Christian life, you won't live the Christian life."

I was not able to get that statement out of my head.  Think about this comment and see if it applies to you in your life, regardless of whether you are a Christian or not. 

" I really wanted to do___, but I knew that I should do ____, and so I did it." 

Here is the feeling that invokes.  I am not doing what I want to do, I am doing what I am supposed to do, and it is a big sacrifice for me so be proud of me!  We help each other through the misery of doing what we think we are supposed to do each day, while inside we are fantasizing about how good life could be if we really did what we wanted to do.  I would wager you have friends that stay in a job they hate, so that they can "provide for their family".  Meanwhile their mind drifts to what they wish they could do, or even worse drifts to an unhealthy lust of something they think they cannot have.  How many affairs have started over a perception of sacrifice in real life, so the person thinks they deserve something for themselves.

We create this puritan view of life where we are miserable but proud.  The victory over rules that is supposed to make us free instead is missed by our need to be a rules follower.  I told my college Bible Study that if they are wanting to go to an R rated movie, really want to go badly, but instead take the martyr point of view of how much they are sacrificing not going, then go!  Sit there and see if you feel like it is the right place to be, then stay or leave as you feel is right.  But don't create a resentment of your Christian life by hating having to give up all the "good stuff".

In the movie "The Rookie", Dennis Quaid's character is torn between his feeling that he is supposed to be a baseball player, and the feelings of obligation to provide for his family as a teacher.  His father tells him, sometimes you have to give up what you want to do in order to do what you are supposed to do.  Quit being a dreamer!  Fortunately for the movie, he doesn't take that advice and is successful with his dream, and in the process provides for his family.  Is there sacrifice in the short term?  Certainly.  Is it worth it?  Well you never know if you don't try.

As my family makes the sacrifices to allow me to follow my dream to build a business of helping others, I see both the pain of the sacrifice, and the freedom from guilt that no longer manifests itself at the end of the day when I come home too downtrodden to be a contributing part of family life.  I would trade today's poor happiness for yesterday's comfortable misery any day!

This doesn't just apply to jobs, but to life in general.  If you don't love your life you won't live it. You will just exist beside it, watching it burn away day after day.  What is it you need to do to love your life?

As I conclude this, consider the following.  Are there healthy desires?  Can you actually feel drawn to something and that be a leading to something good and important that you should consider?  Can you be led?  Are you too burned out to feel anything hopeful?  I certainly hope not.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quick Thought on Wisdom - The truth in your mind

Proverbs 27:19  As water reflects your face, so your mind shows what kind of person you are.

This is so cool because it lives behind the mask.  What are you thinking about right now?  What were you thinking about a while ago?  What are you likely to think about?

Your mind is the source of your character.  We have been given the will to determine how and what we think.  We are equipped for positive or negative thoughts, but the gravity of life pulls naturally toward thoughts that are self serving and self beneficial.  We must actively work on our mind to build strength of character.  This is not just beneficial in our conscious thinking day in and day out.  This work prepares us for our reactions to external stimuli.  The old adage garbage in garbage out is more true that we think.  If we surround ourselves with selfish people that will build that momentum in us.  If we watch violent or sexually explicit shows or movies, we build momentum toward that thinking.

Like a rock rolling down hill, these thoughts gather strength in affecting our character.  They are sitting there waiting for the scantily clad young woman to walk by, or for our child to make a serious mistake.  The thoughts that go through our mind will come out in our actions or words.  Hurtful to our families, friends and reputation.

Is it worth the risk to not discipline our minds toward good things?  Should we surround ourselves with positive people, and reduce our exposure to the negative and critical?  Should we manage what we watch?  Should we put in processes for reacting to our children or subordinates to give pause to our responses?

Perhaps.  Worth thinking about at least?

Quick Thought on Wisdom - The benefits of correction

Proverbs 28:24  Those who correct others will later be liked more than those who give false praise.

I really like this advice because it is realistic.  If you are giving people feedback that is truthful and will help them be better employees, spouses, parents, etc, do not expect to get immediate good response.  I had some great teachers in high school whom I despised at the time.  I thought they were evil and harsh.  However, I later realized the benefits of their shooting me straight.  I bowed up then, but am thankful now.  I have had some bosses and "friends" who have shot me a line about how well I am doing, or how good I am at something, only to find out later this was hollow praise.  They were just unwilling to give me the feedback I needed to improve.  I think they were worried about my response more than my feelings.

If you want your children to improve and be strong contributors to society, you need to be willing to take a hit in the short term.  The same applies to your students or direct reports.  Are you willing to correct wrong behavior at the risk of your own status or feelings?  If you are able to take a long term view of this it will work out for you.  Conversely, are you guilty of providing false praise to protect the feelings of others?  I don't believe you are doing them any favors and encourage you to reconsider your words.

In all this, respond in love, and remember the critiquing mantra - a positive comment, followed by the critique followed by a positive comment.  If you cannot think of two positive comments, you have some work to do on your leadership!

Quick Thought on Wisdom - The benefits of counsel

Proverbs 27:17  As Iron Sharpens Iron, so people can improve each other.

One of the most difficult things I have ever had to learn is that I don't know everything.  This may be hard for some of you to accept, but yes it is true.  This has not stopped me from trying to do everything on my own.  My wife and my parents have both pointed out to me that I am quick to make decisions and act, without even asking any advice from them or anyone else.  I am often wrong and spend a lot of time fixing problems caused by my rash actions.

In starting my own company, I have set a goal to always look for others who can give me advice to make better decisions.  This has led me to go slower, seek help from friends, seek referrals, and other actions that I would have passed right by before.  I have added to my consulting business a role as of mentoring to hopefully pay it forward for the benefits others have provided me.

The bottom line of this is very clear but hard to do.  Can you realize that you will be a better leader, parent, spouse, follower, etc. if you are willing to seek out and accept the input of others?  Are you willing to listen?  And... are you willing to be an influence to others?

People need you to help.  Don't waste your wisdom!