“If you’re not growing you’re dying.” ~Tony Robbins (among others)
“Sell or die.” ~Me (among others)
Life is a game and to succeed you must compete.
As a young man playing football in high school and college, I was the quiet one in the corner before the game reviewing my roles and responsibilities, thinking through the plays, studying the opponent and envisioning how I would do all that I could to take away their will to compete as soon as the whistle blew.
At the same time, there were always a few guys who would hoop and holler and run around high-fiving everyone, slapping them on the backside to get us all “psyched-up.” (Interestingly, these were the same guys that hung their heads low as soon as any adversity arose such as the opponent making a big gain or scoring early, or someone getting hurt. It was then I realized hype and optimism are extrinsic, they are shallow and they are fleeting.)
Playing on a team meant I couldn't get away from the “feel-gooders.”
Today, I can, and I do, put quite a bit of distance between myself and these New Age Positive-Thinking-Vision-Board-Crazy-Happies.
Don't get me wrong.
I'm not some "glass-is-half-empty" kind of guy thinking the sky is falling.
Quite the contrary. Things are great behind the screen of your computer that is connected to my host that is displaying this post. They have never been better, and the future has never looked brighter.
I got that phrase back in 2010 from Chapter 5 of the book "Conquer the Chaos," written by Infusionsoft founders Clate Mask and Scott Martineau.
Disciplined Optimism is like being “cautiously optimistic” or “planning for the worst, but preparing for the best.” It gives you the strength and fortitude to persevere and stick with the game plan despite high highs and low lows.
In "Conquer the Chaos," Clate and Scott refer to the Stockdale Paradox, a name given to Admiral James Stockdale by Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great.”
Stockdale spent seven years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam and won a Medal of Honor for his efforts resisting the North Vietnamese Communists.
As Collins was interviewing Stockdale he asked him who were the P.O.W.s that didn't make it home from the Hanoi Hilton.
"Oh, that's easy," said Stockdale, "the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."
Stockdale concluded with,
"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be" (Collins 2001, 84-86) (Mask, Martineau, 2010, 81-81).
What brutal facts have you been ignoring?
Are sales down?
Are sales cycles increasing, along with your competition?
Are your salespeople making more excuses than appointments?
Are you not generating enough traffic to your website and converting enough leads from your website, trade shows, ads, etc?
Are you wasting money on marketing that is not producing a measurable, positive ROI?
Are you tolerating mediocrity, complacency and excuses from those around you?
Contrary to what my good friend Dione Moser at Impact Marketing will tell you, I'm not a pessimist.
I just call 'em like I see 'em as a “disciplined optimist.”
That’s why I have more money in the bank today than the day I left a 6-figure corporate sales job, despite having more kids, opening an office, and tripling my staff.
You can prevail if you focus on your current reality while maintaining the faith of a child in a prosperous outcome.
What are you focused on today? ~✯~