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“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” –
Harry was a preacher in Chicago. Anybody familiar with the Bible has to have an awareness of gratitude and being thankful. Mostly to God, but also for each other and whatever we’ve got stewardship over. That includes our businesses.
As powerful as thanksgiving is you’d think we’d more easily embrace gratitude. We don’t because we’re often too busy comparing ourselves and our circumstances to others. They seem to be better off. Their business seems to be achieving more. They don’t seem to experience the problems we do. Their opportunities seem vast compared to ours. Before you know it we’re jealous, envious and very unhappy.
Before I go dark the rest of the week I decided I wanted to leave you a message of encouragement. It just didn’t feel right to be quiet without first provoking you to consider the truth of what Harry said long ago. Harry died in 1951. But gratitude and being thankful don’t change. If anything they just grow in power over time if we’ll devote ourselves to perfecting the practice of them.
You’re Only So Many No’s Away
I’m starting with this notion because lately, I’ve encountered so many people struggling through a variety of challenges. Each is tempted to think they’ve got it wrong. Or that success will never happen. Resilience is hard.
About 2% of cold calling results in an appointment. Sixty-four calls a day. That’s a lot of rejection, but it’s not limited to just salespeople making cold calls. Anybody pursuing growth or success is going to endure a lot of rejection. A ton of no’s pile up in our lives.
I was a young man still in my teens when an old man posed what I’ve always thought was a brilliant question – and a terrific viewpoint.
“How many no’s are you willing to endure to achieve success?”
I had no idea how to answer that. Being young and confident I said, “A lot. As much as it takes, I guess.”
“How many do you think it’ll take?” he asked.
“I have no idea. Not many I hope,” I replied.
“How different would it feel if I could tell you precisely how many no’s it would take? If I told you it was going to require you to endure 97 no’s — how would you feel?”
“I’d likely get busy knocking out those no’s,” I told him.
It dawned on me that my approach to the defeat or the no’s was THE thing I could control. I also knew nobody could possibly know how many it might take.
“Just remember, you’re some number of no’s away from achieving whatever you want,” he said. “Whatever that number may be, resolve that you’ll muscle through them until you get what you’re after.”
I’m thankful that we’re all just so many no’s away from figuring it out. That doesn’t mean my current course, or yours, will result in success. We may have to adapt, iterate or completely blow up what we’re currently doing. Even so, we can make those adjustments and dig in to knock out the no’s that stand in our way. I’m thankful for that.
Failure Isn’t Fatal. Or Final.
I’m thankful that our failures don’t have to define us. And that our failures don’t have to knock us completely out of the game. I’m thankful we can live to fight another day because we can always adjust our course. If we get it wrong – as we often do – we can fix it. We can make it right. It’s one of the tenets of my business philosophy.
Your Success Or Failure Has No Impact On Mine
I care about your success. I want to be a resource to help you avoid failure. However, my own individual and personal success aren’t impacted by yours. This is why comparing ourselves to others is so futile. And dangerous!
Part of this is the scarcity versus abundance mindset argument. I grew up being taught that zero-sum was how life worked. In other words, the pie is limited. There’s only so much. If somebody else gets more business than you, then they’re taking a piece of the pie that you’ll never be able to get. It fostered a competitive spirit that was not only unhealthy but wrong.
Don’t get me wrong. I hate losing. I want to win. I’m competitive. And I rather enjoy besting another business. Or another person. But it’s not born of thinking life is limited and that the zero-sum game is real. We’ve learned the markets and the universe is a large, large place. There’s room for all the good, quality players. There’s never enough room for the pathetic, sloppy businesses. Not for long.
Discontentment and disappointment are driven higher when we spend time comparing ourselves to others. Whenever you view somebody as more successful then you begin to feel victimized by the world. Nothing good comes from it and their success hasn’t robbed YOU of anything. You’re robbing yourself by behaving foolishly.
Arrogance and pride are driven higher when we spend time comparing ourselves to others. Whenever you view somebody with less, you feel superior. You look down on them and it makes you feel better about yourself. In all the worst ways.
No good comes from looking at others.
Leverage The Power Of Others
The first murder in the Bible happened between brothers. In Genesis 4:9, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Cain killed his brother when he should have been watching out for him. Helping help. Supporting him.
Permit me to use that to help teach us that we should surround ourselves with some safe, trusted people who can watch out for us. We all need people willing to serve as our “keepers” in the sense that they’ve got our back. They help us see things more clearly. They help us vet our choices. They help us think through things.
They don’t judge us. They don’t second-guess us. They don’t tell us what to do. But they devote themselves to helping us figure things out.
I’m thankful for people like that. Thankful to have a few select people who surround me who make all the difference in the world to my life.
Enjoy your family and friends during this Thanksgiving holiday!
Be well, Do good. Grow great!