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Influential Anecdotes

Assignment: One of the best ways to learn is to use stories, anecdotes, or inspirational quotes. The activity for this lesson is to write down five of your favorite stories, anecdotes or quotes. Include a short paragraph explaining how your choices have influenced your life. Choose from any time in history, any author or resource you desire.

All of my anecdotes are from the book, “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class” by Steve Siebold. The author shares what he calls “the thought processes, habits, and philosophies of the great ones”. Every one of his tips has helped me, so boiling it down to five was hard. Good thing I am mentally tough!

The format of the book is to present the lesson, followed by a supportive quote, and then followed by a detailed explanation. I am providing the lesson and quote, highlights, and a description of how I have benefitted.

1) Lesson #8: Champions Develop World-Class Beliefs Long Before They Become Champions
“They can… because they think they can.” unknown

Here the author talks about how people tend to be a product of their mental programming from childhood. He mentions that “average people are saddled with a belief system that is more about survival than success”. He points out that many world-class performers were raised with the same beliefs, yet learned to reprogram themselves along the way.

This lesson really struck home. All my life my father has preached the importance of being able to “function, cope, and survive”. God bless him for that instruction, as it has helped me become a capable crisis manager in times of family illness, unemployment, and other tough spots. However, life is not always in crisis, and if you do not know how to advance yourself you will miss many opportunities that come your way.

I recognize that people from immigrant families, who have lived through the Great Depression and World War II, have a survivalist mindset. That mindset will not enable me to meet my potential. I consider myself fortunate to have realized this with hopefully many productive years ahead of me. Time to go for it!

2) Lesson #30: The World Class is Coachable
“Great coaching is helping people discover what they already know.” Bill Gove

The point here is that “since human beings are primarily emotional creatures, competent coaches are experts at stoking the fire that burns within – assuming there is already (at least) a small flame. Coaches can’t create a flame, but the good ones can turn a small flame into a blow torch…. All champions look for that one little advantage that great coaching can provide”.

I have been a hard person to coach throughout my life. In all fairness to myself, a lot of it has had to do with a scarcity of good coaches out there. The vast majority of my teachers, athletic coaches, and employers may have been good at their trade, but they have been lacking in both character and teaching skill. I accepted their direction, but I did not adopt them as mentors or personal advisors.

I used to think that I was being too picky; however, once I learned what qualities a good coach should have, I realized that the problem was not me. I also understood that one has to keep looking to find a good teacher, even to the point of switching schools, teams or jobs. I saw as well that it was my job to uncover what “lights my flame”, as mentioned above.

3) Lesson #34: Champions Always Strive for Greater Competence
“Information is the booby prize. The real prize is competence”. Larry Wilson

Throughout most of my life I have been a generalist. I played multiple sports as a youth; I graduated college with a liberal arts degree; I have held a wide variety of sales and marketing jobs; I have been a general operations manager. Even when I entered the insurance business, I was a multi-product agent.

Now, I not only specialize, but I sub-specialize. I sell only life insurance, and have the expertise needed to help people get policies who are higher-risk. I am much more successful, and it is because I have adopted the outlook of this lesson:

“Champions are focused on becoming competent at what they do… (They) spend time building and improving their attitude, skills and knowledge in their chosen field. This approach puts professional performers in constant demand from corporations and organizations searching for people with world-class habits.”

Because of my competence, I have been able to attract more higher-caliber clients.

4) Lesson #72: The World Class Operates From Love and Abundance
“Life in abundance comes only through great love.” Elbert Hubbard

This particular message inspires me because of its emphasis on having an “attitude of gratitude” (my words). Here is what is says:

“The world class is aware that all good things come from the spirit of love. They know love is the natural order of the universe… The great ones embrace love as the root of their success and feelings of fulfillment. They know that without the loving guidance and support of others, they could not have reached or even dreamed of aspiring to the world class. Their recognition of and gratitude for the power of love creates more abundance in their lives.”

Up to recently I have taken for granted the love of my family. It is not that it was not important to me; I just did not realize its true value. I have had a very shallow understanding of love. I have looked at it as something that people were supposed to give to me, as if it were their duty. Yet I have also learned that once we take something for granted, we risk losing it. I would hate to become the person who no longer merited the love of people who were most naturally inclined to give it. I feel I would become unworthy of any hopes or dreams I had for myself. That would be a tragedy I would not want to suffer through – especially since it could be avoided.

My closest family members are willing to give me an endless supply of “positiveness”. That is the best word I can use to characterize love. It is not simply a blanket endorsement of my actions; to the contrary, it is often in the form of constructive criticism. But it is always a reaffirmation of myself as a person. Knowing that I am loved, I have something for which I can always be grateful. As a grateful person I can keep finding more and more to be grateful for.

5) Lesson #111: The Pros Reward Themselves for Execution
“The goals, targets and rewards system is the wave of the future. Goals are execution-based; targets are results-based; and rewards are based on the completion of the goals, not the targets. This subtle shift in performance philosophy has the power to launch a performer from middle-class to world-class results.” Steve Siebold

This idea is really just a slight shift in thinking about rewards, but it makes a lot of sense to me, and has helped me make a significant change in the focus of my planning. It entails this:

“Champions set execution-based goals over which they have total control. The results they are aiming for, but don’t have complete control over, are known as Targets. The great ones aim for the targets but focus on the goals. For example, salespeople set a goal to make a certain number of calls. If they fail to make that number of calls, they fail to reach the goal… If they accomplish the number of calls, they automatically earn the reward, no matter the outcome of those calls. The priority is still set on bottom-line results, but the focus is toward high-quality, consistent execution.”

I like the focus on only what I can control. I cannot control the outcome of a sales call, but I can control my time so that I make enough calls to get the sale. I can control the quality and quantity of my training so I am prepared for the sales presentation. I can decide to read the right books, and network with the right people, to build the most effective sale approach.

I have always believed that the right process will yield the right results. I treat my sales results this way, and I manage my business this way. I enjoy having the responsibility of developing a daily business and sales practice that will yield the best results possible. Siebold’s idea of focusing on the goals, yet being mindful of the target, is to me the happy medium I have been looking for in terms of how to manage the process/product balance.