Years ago, I read an interview with famed actor Denzel Washington, who shared a piece of wisdom from his father. His dad always told young Denzel, “Do the work so you can do the work.” His wise father knew that you often have to put in a lot of effort in order to do what you love to do.
In today’s business environment, there is a lot of talk — and complaining — about work-life balance. It’s almost as if work has become a four-letter word. It starts on Monday morning with the salesperson walking into the office and being asked, “How are you?” The response: “Not bad for a Monday.” This is the same salesperson that walks around the office on Wednesday announcing Hump Day and who is the reigning president of the Thank God It’s Friday Club.
I’m pretty sure this salesperson or attitude isn’t going to scale revenues. It’s time to do the work.
Carve out downtime, apply your self-awareness skills and ask two questions.
1. Do you even like the sales profession? Most people default to sales as a profession until something better comes along. But 20 years later, they’re still waiting for something better. Do the work and do your company a favor and get the heck out of sales. Find a job that better aligns with your passions and skills. Do the work and stop settling.
2. Are you good at sales? One of my clients in the financial-planning industry received great advice from a mentor when he switched industries. “Jimmy, everyone has to do their first year in this business. I suggest you do it your first year.”
It’s great advice because whether you are a newbie in sales or a veteran starting with a new company, you are going to have to do the work. You will need to learn how to sell to new and different prospects. You will need to do the work and learn new product knowledge. And you need to do the work and figure out how to sell against your competition.
And when you do the work, you get to do the work you really like. You run sales meetings with qualified prospects. Those qualified prospects turn into great clients. You build business relationships and friendships.
Denzel Washington’s dad was right. Do the work so you can do the work.