What matters now is happening somewhere else

Last August, I retired from my corporate position so I could focus on my passion; how you can compress your decades into days by embracing uncertainty, igniting opportunity to live a limitless life.

During a recent interview, I was asked if what I did and learned in my corporate sales management position translates into being an entrepreneur or visa versa. It was an interesting question I had not ever been asked.

I believe that being in sales is the closest you can be to being an entrepreneur in a corporate environment. Professional salespeople approach their territory assignment as their own company and become responsible for their personal P&L, just like entrepreneurs.

I was then asked to share a few things I learned since beginning my entrepreneurial pursuit that I wish I knew or I did when I was in my corporate position.

One thing I find in many salespeople is they are driven by achievement. This is inherent in being a producer or quota carrier. For 21 years, I was in that mindset. I had a quota and I needed to figure out how I was going to obtain it to be the top sales person. But then the Miracle on the Hudson happened and when I returned the next day my manager asked me if I was going to a meeting in Michigan the next week.

That was the moment I traded going after glory for my passion.

When I did that, is when I started to excel in my sales, in fact, I became the top producer in my industry business unit that year. When your clients know you are passionate about their success, things start to come together.

A major shift I have made since I started my own business is how I focus. What do I mean by that?

When I was in corporate sales, I spent a lot of my focus on refining how I managed my time. Every year, I worked hard on improving my efficiency and effectiveness through time management and I became very good at it.

When I started my own company, I had an epiphany. I tried to manage my time the way I did when I was in sales and I was working harder and longer hours. When I started my Strategic Coaching sessions, I learned how to segment my time in three buckets, Focus, Buffer, and Free time and I started to get my “time” under control.

But I made a distinction on that mindset that has helped me “compress decades into days.”

I employed the “who not how” mentality which allowed me to shift from managing my time to managing my attention.

I was able to start controlling my environment, controlling my technology, and starting new habits which made managing my attention on “keeping the main thing the main thing” much easier.

The last sale that I had at my corporate sales position took 18 months to finalize. Developing and managing many relationships takes time and patience. Your internal management wants to get the opportunity “off the street” as quickly as possible and sometimes the internal selling process is more challenging than with your prospective buyer.

There were many times when my management was telling me “You are losing this.” And I used the Lou Holtz line, “Maybe I am, but until the next play, we won’t know.”

What I knew that many of my management didn’t know was that I had a coach they didn’t know about. A coach is someone who can help you with the game plan and wants you to win. And my coach and I were in constant communication.

During one of our one-off talks, he told me something that not only helped me during that cycle but has helped me as I develop my own business.

He told me that “What matters now is happening somewhere else” and to trust the process. At first I didn’t understand this and he made an analogy that made it crystal clear.

Both of us are Christians and we were in the Lenten season. We discussed the journey of Jesus and Moses. Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, then after He was crucified, and the forty days when Moses went up to the mountain to get the Ten Commandments.

He said that during those times, what mattered most was happening somewhere that no one knew about. He said the same thing was happening at their company. What mattered most about this sale was happening somewhere else and to trust the process.

We did finalize that relationship and it was a great lesson that I use now. Sometimes you have to give up control once you put yourself in the most advantageous position you can and know what matters most is happening somewhere else.

It was like what happened during those fateful minutes from the time US Airways 1549 was struck by birds, knocking out both engines. In the cabin, we had no control, we could only control our mindsets because what mattered most at that moment was happening somewhere else.

Approach your sales career as if you are an entrepeneur. Your territory is your company. Engage the mindset of an entrepreneur and

  1. Trade your glory for your passion. Give up the mindset that it’s about you and your glory, be passionate about what you do and focus on making your client the hero.
  2. Shift from managing your time to managing your attention. Begin finding your “Who’s for your How’s,” so you can keep the main thing the main thing.
  3. Have patience and know that what matters now is happening someplace else. You have to get comfortable to give up control once you put yourself in the most advantageous position.

Your pathway to having a limitless life is to compress your decades into days by


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