Among sales representatives and entrepreneurs, I hear two things almost every single day.
The first is a question:
“Al, how do I stay motivated and inspired?”
And the second is a statement.
“I just can’t get out of this negative mindset.”
Often when people approach me with these two points, they have no idea that the solution to both are one and the same.
As we’re all vividly aware, as a sales representative you’re in a position where you must be creating your life and your income, constantly. There is no guarantee, none of that relief that people in salaried jobs feel on Friday at midnight when they know their paycheck is going to drop so they can start paying their bills.
That’s just not the world we live in.
But when you’re talking about staying highly motivated and escaping that black hole of negativity we’ve all felt from time to time, let me preface the solution with a story
About twenty years ago, the first flight I’d ever taken was going to Trinidad on a five-month ticket. Now let me be clear – I was there to work. As nice as it would have been, this wasn’t some kind of extended beach vacation. I was hustling as hard as I could, a young 19 or 20-something, selling garage doors.
The guy that I worked with down there – let’s call him Jay – had a very specific routine. Every single Sunday, without fail, he would have breakfast at a place called Adam’s Bagels – a name I’ll remember the rest of my life.
Jay had this Sunday breakfast with the same group of people every time. Eventually I ended up going along with him, and while it was a great time, it wasn’t much more than that to me in the moment. We all enjoyed some good company, great conversation, and lots of laughs with a group of what I assumed were local, smaller businesses like the man I was working for.
After breakfast when we’d all parted ways, Jay and I were driving back to work when he turned to me and said “Do you remember that guy sitting to the left of me?” I said I did. And then Jay followed up with something that had my jaw on the floor. “He’s worth 15 million dollars.”
You have to understand folks, I was 19 or 20 years old at this point. I was blown away by these figures!
Jay saw my reaction and started to list off the net worth of all the individuals in the group – and I should add that the two I mentioned were by far the lowest on the totem pole – all of which were in the double-digit millions at the absolute minimum.
This group of people that he hung out with – the company he kept – was something that has stuck with me to this very day.
Jay, while doing perfectly well for himself in his own business, understood instinctively one of the top principles that have governed my socializing for years.
Man sharpens man, steel sharpens steel – in other words, success begets success.
You see, in simply being in the presence of these people who had created these astonishing levels of success, Jay understood that he was learning. Whether they were talking sports or business, there is always something valuable to be gleaned from people who are where you want to be.
From that point on, I made it a point to seek out like-minded individuals who are either going through the same challenges that I am, or – even better – those who had overcome them. This gave me the opportunity to learn and develop my abilities, as well as to table those challenges and work through them with a fresh perspective. It’s also going to keep a good energy about you again and energy that’s filled with positivity.
Now there’s another aspect to this, and this one is a little trickier – because this principle also applies in the opposite direction.
If you’ve created and committed to your goal – say reaching that six figure level by the following year, for example – and you try to spend your time discussing that challenge with a close friend who’s making fifty thousand dollars a year, the knee-jerk reaction 90% of the time is going to be resentment. I can hear the thoughts now. “This guy is complaining that he makes 30 – 50k more than I do in a year? Please.”
While this is to be expected, the fact of the matter is that most people will not understand your drive, your passion, or your desire to do whatever is necessary to create these incredible six figure incomes, and this lack of understanding is going to breed negativity and resentment, and so many of the people I work with on a regular basis have no idea that the drag and weight and negativity they feel is coming from – you guessed it – the company they keep.
So this week, do yourself a favour and give you mental catalogue a flip. How many people that you spend time with regularly are ambitious, encouraging, and driving you to succeed and be the best version of yourself you can become? And how many of them are apathetic, annoyed, and negative?
In short – what company do you keep?
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