Powerful Moments Lead to Success

dominoesLong-term success in sales (or in our careers in general) stems from our ability to string together powerful moments one after another. In other words, what you do today in any given moment determines what you will experience next.

Not too long ago, MSN ran a very interesting video asking a number of regular people whether they would rather have one million dollars now or take a penny now and double the amount for 30 days. As expected, 90% of people chose to immediately take the one million dollars. This was the poorer choice, for those who chose the immediate payoff shortchanged themselves by over four million dollars! The simple act of doubling your previous day’s investment can rapidly reap huge rewards thanks to the powerful concept known as compounding.

Economists have long known that people prefer big rewards over small ones, yet we have a concurrent tendency to have a stronger preference for present rewards over future ones, even if the future reward is much bigger. This type of behavior is referred to “hyperbolic discounting,” in which the farther out the reward is, the smaller the motivation to achieve it.

Extraordinary results require us to start with small steps! As Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” One step at a time may sound cliché and corny, but it’s so true. No matter what your objective is, the journey to any goal starts with one single step.

I want you to try something. Close your eyes and think of some BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), you have—I mean, really big. Listen to me and believe me when I say this: whatever you can visualize, you can accomplish! Extraordinary is simple; dream it, visualize it, and take that first step. The hardest part about the journey to success is not the initial dream or goal—it’s taking that very first step.

Extraordinary results require you to not only think big, but then to also take the necessary steps to get to your goals. A big goal requires you to focus small and work backward, as this method crystallizes what you need to do to achieve your goal.

Think of it this way: action builds on action. Habits build on habits. Success builds on success. One domino knocks down another and then another. You can’t just skip to the end.

We need to look for initial action that will create the domino run for us. The most successful people I know ride the powerful wave of reactions. For example, many top salespeople are not only the top reps in one product category but are also at the top of the rankings in many product categories. Momentum will keep us motivated to do the right small things every day, every week, every month, and every year, launching us down the road to extraordinary success!

Extraordinary success just doesn’t happen, and no one can make it happen for us. More often than not, fear is the one thing that stops us in our tracks and keeps us from taking that first step.

In my recent training for the Leadville 100-mile mountain bike race, my coach, Sydney Cornell (click to see her coaching credentials), insisted that if I am going to finish this race and finish well, I need a balanced approach to my training. She recommended that I utilize a training program with multiple facets. The two new disciplines she encouraged me to start were swimming and CrossFit. Sydney said that CrossFit would improve my leg strength, enabling me to propel my bike up the daunting hill climbs during the race. In addition, CrossFit will improve my core strength so I can spend 11 hours in the saddle on race day. Swimming, she explained, would help me train my lungs and body to use oxygen more efficiently—an imperative capability as I climb to12,000 feet, where oxygen is at a premium.

I have never been big into strength training or participated in competitive swimming, and showing up for the first time to both classes was extremely intimidating. To be honest, I was fearful. Many different things ran through my mind—would I look like a complete fool? Would I injure myself? Would I be accepted by the groups? Would I just plain fail? However, my sights are on finishing Leadville, and I am not going to allow my fears to deter me away from what I need to do today to reach my long-term goal of finishing one of the most difficult long distance mountain bike races in the world. The hardest part was that first time. However, once I got going, all fears subsided. I got over my fears by taking that first step, and I kept on stepping!

We must not feed our fears; instead, we must allow our fears to fuel the fire within and drive us forward. Listen to this story of a Cherokee grandfather speaking to his grandson about the battle raging within us all: “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concerns, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision, and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement, and action,” said the Cherokee. The grandson thought for a moment and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old and wise Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”

Life is too short to pile up the “should haves,” “could haves,” and “would haves.”

What is stopping you from getting to President’s Club this year? Or from achieving some other personal goal you may have? “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Formulate a big audacious goal, work backward breaking it down, and commit to take one step after another until you reach your goal. Don’t let your fears get in the way—embrace them by taking that first step and let them fuel your fire, driving you to victory.

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