Years ago a manager offered prizes and bonuses to his sales team. The rules were quite simple: if you reach your quota, you win; if you don’t, you lose. During the competition, an earthquake hit. The office was badly damaged and business was interrupted. The sales team did not meet their quota; therefore, no prizes or bonuses were given. They argued with the manager and told him to be reasonable….there was an earthquake. The manager firmly replied…”Earthquakes don’t count.”
We all have earthquakes in our life. Things happen that shake us up. When this occurs, most individuals literally or mentally quit. They give up. They allow the earthquake to change their attitude. They make excuses for their lack of performance. They blame their inability to succeed on their circumstances. “I don’t believe in circumstances. The successful people in this world get up every day and LOOK for the circumstances they want. And if they can’t find them, they MAKE them.” -George Bernard Shaw
Last year when everyone was buying into the recession (earthquake) I maintained a positive attitude, dug my heels in and worked harder than ever before. My results? I had a record year in insurance sales and 2010 has been my best year so far. Mark my words….2011 will be even better. Why? Because “I refuse to participate in a recession.” We all have a choice to make when confronted with adversity and challenges in life. It’s called FIGHT or FLIGHT. You either fight through the challenges and conquer the earthquake, or you run away only to face this same earthquake again. Oddly enough, my mortgage company doesn’t care that it’s a recession. They still want their payment on the first of the month. Go figure.
No one wants to hear why you didn’t make the sale, get the job done or bring home the bacon. Remember, “YOU are responsible for your results in life……and it’s time to turn up the heat.” Don’t let earthquakes hinder your performance or stop you from winning the prize. When dealing with situations beyond my control, the Marine Corps taught me to “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.” Earthquake or not, the job still has to be done, the sale still has to be made and the goal still has to be accomplished. How you handle an earthquake is the difference between good and GREAT, SUCCESS and failure.
There is a champion on the inside of each and every one of us just waiting to burst out. We were all created for success, but the world has designed us for failure. What is the Earthquake in your life? What circumstances are you allowing to slow you down, break your stride or stop you in your tracks? Rise above it champion. Conquer that enemy. Refuse to accept anything less. No more excuses of why you didn’t or why you can’t. Continue to move forward with your eyes on the prize. And when those earthquakes come (and they surely will come) you will have a peace that no one else around you has, because you know something that no one else around you knows……Earthquakes don’t count.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all” Michelangelo after painting the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512.
I absolutely love this quote from one of the greatest artists of all time. We marvel at the work of our heroes, the people that inspire us. Michelangelo basically says “Listen, I had to put in the work to be able to paint this, and if you knew how much work I had to put in, you would probably say it’s not worth it.” People always seem to think that success comes so easily or effortlessly. Success takes work. Work = Success. Successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. Pick your quote. It really doesn’t matter because it all boils down to good ole fashioned WORK. No way around it.
As one of the top life insurance salesmen with State Farm, I am constantly asked and re-asked one simple question. How are you so successful? I immediately think about Michelangelo’s quote and I know that the person is NOT ready for my answer. They don’t want to hear that I wake up in the morning thinking about insurance and lay down at night thinking about insurance because what you think about and focus on MOST always becomes your maximum potential: That I start a conversation with 10-15 strangers each day: That I spend 90% of my time OUT of the office networking and meeting people and only 10% in the office: That I will drive from Pensacola to Tallahassee to meet one single person: That I will meet customers anywhere and anytime: Church, the hood of a car in the parking lot, a bar at 11pm, at their job on their lunch break. It really doesn’t matter because as I said earlier, successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. Country singer Tim McGraw said it best: How bad do you want it? How bad do you need it? Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing on your mind, because if you want it all, you’ve got to lay it all on the line.
Do you think that Michael Jordan didn’t work hard or lay it all on the line? Yes he had talent but he had to work extremely hard to develop that talent. He was arguably the best player in NBA history and probably the hardest working as well. It is written that he was the first player to show up for practice and the last player to leave. This kind of dedication is what separates good from greatness.
This world is full of mediocre people: Those who settle for less, the norm, the status quo, and if that’s you, then fine. Be GOOD at what you do. But for those of you who want more out of life, those who want to receive the Prize, those who seek GREATNESS, remember Michelangelo’s words. Work extremely hard, doing what no one else in your field is willing to do. You will set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and achieve such a greatness that maybe one day they will write books about you as well. MichelAngelo/Michael Jordan….Pretty good company to keep. Remember, there is NO substitute for Hard Work. Do the thing and you shall have the Power!