The inspiration for this month’s column is a guy named Mike. He was the brother of a friend of mine and he recently passed away. Mike had myriad physical issues and faced a never-ending battle with his health, especially the last couple of years. To say he lived a challenging life would be a vast understatement. By all accounts, Mike was a fighter, and forged on despite all his challenges and was an inspiration to those that loved him. As Mike’s family was packing his belongings from his room, they noticed a To-Do list that he kept on his wall that he could see every day and tried to live up to it. When I saw the list of ten items, I smiled and thought, that’s a hell of a list for somebody healthy, much less for somebody in Mike’s condition. On the To-Do list were the following items: Focus, Work Hard, Be Creative, Open Your Mind, Stay Away from Drama, Enjoy the Little Things, Put In 100% Effort, Take Chances, Smile More and Breathe.

Brian McCauley

There is a lot to unpack on this list, but I wanted to see if it could be culled down to four items that could have the most impact on a sales career. Although others may think differently, here are my Top 4:

Focus: A day in the life of a salesman can get hectic. There are a lot of things vying for your attention, appointments, phone calls, virtual meetings, unhappy customers, and supplier issues seem popular these days. There are varying levels of importance and urgency attached with the items that fill your day. Don’t let somebody else’s sense of urgency project onto you. Your ability to block out some of the noise and focus on the task at hand will serve you well.

Work Hard: If you’ve been in this profession for a while, then you know that selling is not a typical 9-5 job. You will find yourself spending some time occasionally during an evening or on the weekend working. It’s hard to turn-off and at the very least you will spend some “off time” thinking about work situations. Good commission checks don’t grow on trees – it’s takes some grinding. But one word of caution…ALWAYS seek a satisfactory work/life balance.

Open Your Mind: Never let yourself get to a place where you think you know it all, or are so good at what you do that you can’t learn from others. An open mind is a good thing to have. It creates in us a desire to learn about other things and other people. It fuels a curiosity that will make you a better salesperson and strive for self-improvement as you work through your career.

Smile More: Work can be stressful, but it’s also very important. Our work becomes part of our identity and the fruits of labor are what we use to fund the lives we have. This is all heady stuff and may cause us to take ourselves too seriously. Smiling offers a mood boost that helps your body release cortisol and endorphins that provide numerous health benefits. Each of us has a finite amount of time on this earth and none of us knows just how much we time we have. My point is to take the time to enjoy your ride.

So, there you have it. That’s my opinion on the four items on the To-Do list that can have the most positive impact on a successful career. I’m sure many of you may feel differently about which items would rise to your top four. I’d be interested in your opinions. Please email me at [email protected] and give me your Top 4. Happy Selling!!