“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person” – Bruce Lee
I had a very interesting conversation the other day with a former colleague of mine, Bruce Wedderburn (who will be featured in an upcoming expert interview), and the concept of self responsibility in sales came up. And as I reflected on this, I considered how often we lecture sales managers on coaching and improving their salespeople–which is, of course is completely correct–but how often do we focus on how much investment do we personally make in our own development?
There is a trap that all of us fall into at times, and that is outsourcing our success and development to others–whether that is our manager, HR, the training department or that nebulous catch-all, “the company” (or worst of all “fate”). The reality is that our own personal success should sit squarely on our shoulders. Now I know pretty much everyone understands this, at least at a fundamental, logical level, but if you were to ask yourself honestly “What have I personally done lately to develop my skills?” what would the answer be?
So think about this for a moment. You likely have a hobby, sport or other past-time, and chances are you stay up to date with the latest developments in that area. If you want to be good at it, you likely practice on your own in your spare time. Now while our hobbies are great and a necessary release, they don’t put food on the table.
Let’s be brutally honest for a moment: there is no excuse for any of us not to be setting aside some time on a consistent basis to get better at our respective jobs. If that job is sales, there are many sites out there, such as Sales POP!, where free and powerful sales resources are available. Plus there are a host of sales books (many in our bookstore) with new ones coming out all the time, and YouTube is awash with helpful sales videos. On top of that there are simple tools that you could use to record your own sales calls and do some critical self-analysis. Maybe you interact differently than you perceive? In other words, the tools are at at our fingertips, and it is really all down to how much we care about our success.
Carl Jung developed the theory of “self” as the center of the total psyche, including both the conscious and the unconscious. It stands to reason then that “self-development” should be a major focus for all of us, and something that cannot be outsourced. Jung said “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
How about today you go to your calendar and mark a recurring time every week to spend some time educating yourself and practicing your craft? I just did…