From Struggle to Success

I have the wonderful opportunity to talk with many people.  The ones I enjoy interacting with the most are those whom are struggling with life.  Many of these are coaching clients who know they can do better but just don’t know how.  I wanted to share with you a set of questions I have learned to ask of myself as well as my coaching clients.  By answering these questions and taking action (the key!) it is amazing the results.  Several sales consultants who have been new to commercial sales have gone from zero to success in less than six months by simply following a plan that sprang from these simple but powerful questions.

  1. What will it take to finally get you to make the changes you need to succeed? We need a powerful reason to change our habits. Most of the people I coach are caught in “old habits” yet are expecting different results from their actions. I try to challenge them to create new habits, practice them continually and consciously fight the old habit. Samuel Johnson said “The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Great athletes always practice the basics and are constantly self evaluating. No positive change can take place until we know the specific thing that is holding us back and we have the passion or even anger to say “enough is enough, I will start making changes today!”
  2. What fears are holding you back? In most cases some level of fear is the biggest reason we do not change. When the fear is bigger than the passion to change we are caught in a “no man’s land” of mediocrity. Often fear is not overt, it is hidden and disguised in the depths of our subconscious mind like an undiscovered disease. Be certain however that it grows and takes hold of us and we make small excuses to avoid the actions we know we need to take. “I’m too busy to make sales calls today” is a statement I hear hundreds of times. What the new or experienced sales person is saying is “I need an excuse to not do what I know I should do.” Behind that excuse is fear.  In most cases it is not fear of failure, it is fear of not knowing what to do when we get to our sales appointment or fear we will be turned down for the appointment on the telephone. Mary Morrissey, a motivational speaker wrote  “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” The formula for overcoming fear is simple, P + F = A or “Passion plus Faith equals Action.”
  3. What are the temptations that you must remove from your life so that you can break through the roadblocks (physical & mental) that are holding you back in business and life?
    There are numerous temptations in our lives, food, laziness, play, or more addictive activities. Usually these temptations are initially small and seem like diversions from stress or simply small pleasures the divert us from the hard reality of life. In reality they are “deal killers.”  The late Dr. Stephen Covey wrote “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage, pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say ’no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ’yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ’best’ is often the ’good.’” Read that last line again, the enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” The little temptations of life that might seem innocent can actually be time stealers to stop us from getting to our best.


  1. What are two solutions to each of these problems? Here is the part where I need to help my coaching clients the most, discovering small actions that can lead to new paths. I once met with a new sales consultant in a dealership. The general manager of the store was frustrated. It seems the new sales consultant would not make outside sales calls and seemed to have a strong aversion to calling anyone on the telephone.  I took him in a room by himself and he admitted to me that he had never made outside calls and had no idea what to do. I knew we had to create small actions that would lead to successes or nothing would ever change.  First we defined some easy targets, companies that were using the dealerships service department but had not bought their vehicle from the dealership.  The first action was to find the right targets.  We identified ten businesses.  Next we role played the telephone calls to gain appointments.  It took a good hour of practice before he was ready so the second action was preparation. The third step was for me to make the first calls so he could see the practice put into action successfully.  Finally, still fearful, he made a few calls…success!  He got appointments! Now we were prepared to replace bad habits or no habits and add the element of success.  Read carefully, your greatest failures will come from not taking action.  If you fear something devise a plan of action and take the baby steps necessary to create small successes that will lead to great successes! Your formula? Identify your target, prepare to engage your target, take well prepared action again and again.  Sounds a lot like war!  In very real way it is a personal war, your battle with fear!


  1. What is the one big goal you must achieve before the end of the year? This question has to do with goals, not small goals but the “one thing” that you must achieve to feel the exhilaration of a major victory. My guess is it is a sales number or even a personal accomplishment that will fulfill a major dream. I set goals but I always have “the one thing” that excites me the most. This year it was completing a book of motivational stories.  The book is finished and being edited.  I could not be more excited but it has been incredibly hard work and following the formula I am sharing with you was the secret.  Today, before you get to work, define that “one thing” that will change your life forever!  Once you do, take action. There are no limits to what you can accomplish when there is a vision of greatness in your heart.


  1. What are the 3-5 most important “process goals” that will help you achieve the “ONE” big goal? This question uses the term “process goals.” What does that mean? I believe there are two kinds of goals, end goals and process goals. End goals are the ones everyone sets such as losing ten pounds or averaging 15 unit sales per month. A process goal is the more critical goal that allows the “end goal” to be achieved.  “I will make four appointments per day with prospects two weeks in advance” is a process goal.  It leads to our end goal.  I once sat with a new sales consultant for half a day while I assisted him in making telephone calls to gain two weeks’ worth of appointments calling warm leads. The feeling of accomplishment was incredible when he reached that process goal, you would think he had won the Super Bowl! Having a well defined process leads to ultimate success if action is taken daily to lead toward the end goal.  In our boot camps we focus more on creating a system or process than anything else.  Why? We know it works!


  1. Who will hold you accountable? It would be nice to think we are all disciplined enough to hold ourselves accountable. The simple fact is often we will do more to please someone else that we will to please ourselves.  That is actually the power of having a coach or mentor.  The greatest athletes in the world have coaches whether a golfer or an NFL star.  The reason is simple, they need the accountability of a professional coach.  Find someone to share your dreams and goals whom will inspire you to success!


Ask yourself these questions every day, build your success plan around these questions and never stop striving for greatness.  I have worked with hundreds of sales professionals, professional athletes, NFL coaches, business owners and corporate executives and know this to be true.  Those that developed an unwavering commitment, developed a plan and executed that plan reached a level of success they never imagined. Wilma Rudolph had polio as a child and it was questionable whether she would ever walk. In 1960 she became the first woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics in track and field. I memorized one of her quotes years ago to help inspire me when times were tough.  Wilma said “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”  Today is the beginning of a grand and glorious week, month and year! Live to Win!