I used to have a cat named "Bean", and when I was spending a lot more time at the house in Vermont, she and I would go walking in my woodlot, Bean following dutifully behind me as the afternoon light filtered into the perfectly manicured woods. For 40 years of living in this valley where I come from six generations of Vermonters living there before me, my motto always has been... "A clean forest is a happy forest".
When we would get to the top of the ridge, I would ask "The Bean", "What's it all about?", and her immediate response was to roll over a couple of times on the soft leaves, or in the dead of winter, on the top of snow mound. The Bean's answer was always the same... "Life is about being happy, and happy is about rolling over". Pretty simple, and always correct... in the world of Bean. The Bean is now buried up in the woodlot and her name tag is firmly nailed to the 10 year old maple that I planted over her memory stone.
Today is my birthday...
I had the occasion to celebrate with my buddies at the accounting firm KLR.
Very similar to all of our birthdays, it's a few hours in time to look back over our shoulders while, at the same time, we scratch our head trying to figure out what lies ahead. I would suggest that the centering question in a world that for all of us seems to be increasingly complex and often way too squeezed in time needs to be "What's it all about?", and the very core of that answer should be wrapped around the answer to the bigger question of... "Am I happy?"
Since I love what I do in my various business jobs of Coach, Professor and Venture Guy, I spend a lot of time figuring out the math, the metrics, the technologies and the tools of business in general and specifically in improving sales and marketing, which, of course, spills over into almost everything I do. It's just me, and the way I think, and it does make me happy.
As I look out this morning to March 10th, 2018, I know that at midnight today, (I was born at 12:05 AM at the Cook County Hospital on Chicago's South Side), I had around 8,760 "Total Available Hours" to spend in the pursuit of happiness in this upcoming year. I also know that in order to continue to make me happy, I'm going to spend no less than 4,700 of that "working". My personal challenge and constant questions are always about how I can balance that time among my various jobs of Management Coach, Professor and Venture Guy, but, in fact, there's lots of planned design to make sure that there's maximum overlap...which, of course, makes me happy.
What's It All About ?
If I bring this thought process of "What's it all about?" done to the street level of specifically our business lives, and even more specifically, the tough jobs in Sales and Marketing, I would ask you to think about the following during this weekend.
- ...maybe at breakfast on Sunday,
- ...or join me on the slopes at Stratton, where I'll be riding this tomorrow.
If you love your job, celebrate it !
We all have objectives from our companies and our bosses. All of us live in a complex and demanding world of Metrics, KPIs, Goals, and Objectives, which we work at very hard...just because we do... plus there are lots of financial incentives dangling in front of us all of the time in the shape of commissions, bonuses, promotions and other rewards.
Nothing says that you can't reward yourself in some manner once a month or at the end of a very difficult quarter just simply by doing something for yourself that you would not normally do or buying something small for yourself that you would not normally buy. That's becomes your personal celebration, and it works all of the time, it makes you happier, and it actually pushes you more, if you practice it consistently !
When you are fine tuning your Q2 objectives with yourself or your boss during the next three weeks as March winds down, set just one or two overarching personal objectives for this next quarter, while also defining that personal celebration that you will give yourself come July 4th.
If you don't love your job, quit !
I have a hard-learned principle of running lots of businesses and countless sales organizations:
"Left unto itself, nothing gets better by itself".
In Sales and Marketing, as in many other professions, you simply must be happy. Life is way too short, the work is too hard, and if you're not happy with what you're doing, simply start planning at the end of this month for the exit. Are you going to quit work next Friday? Obviously not without a better job, position and comp package. To do nothing however, means more frustration not just for you, but for everyone around you. So, what are you waiting for ?
Since the beginning of this year, I have had two very capable senior managers in two of my companies where I am a board member announce that they were leaving, and they both have now left. Neither had new positions. Both are very responsible and heavily experienced senior managers in their 40's. Both are married, have kids in school and mortgages and, and, and...
No one was fired, both resigned, they simply were not happy.
- They knew it, and had known it for some time
- Their teammates on their teams knew it, and skillfully figured out how to avoid them
- Their peers not only knew it, they were beginning to resent it
- We, as board members knew it, and had begun talking about "the issues"
During the last two weeks, I met with both of them individually to give them assistance in developing their own "The Marketing of Me" plans. The first thing I noticed was that they were both smiling a lot more than I had seen them do in years. Their very first words during our breakfast meetings were about "relief" and "happiness".
Nothing Gets Better By Itself
In the business world, customers rarely buy without professional marketing creating awareness and interest. Large, complex deals never happen on time and as planned without the involvement of highly trained salespeople following formal processes.
So, don't expect that happiness in your job will occur without a formal plan, defined activities and an active campaign...just like in our professions of Sales and Marketing.
Plus, right now, although there are "uncertainties" about what is going on on a national level, this is generally a good economy, and then when I look at Boston and the Commonwealth, jobs and business growth in general could not be hotter. If you're thinking about being "happier" in 2017, now is the time to lay out your plan, figure out your marketing plan is going to be, and start taking control.
Good Selling Today ! ...and please...Be Happy!