What do you see sometimes when you look across at other dinner tables in a restaurant? Couples looking down at their cellphones, kids carrying digital devices that keep them “occupied.” Even the Patagonia clothing worn contains pockets carefully designed for today’s computerized playgrounds.
For most of each day, people immerse themselves into a connected matrix – the internet of an artificial intelligence that directs the use of time into its dimensions and direction. There they, and later their children, find what they want. They find what they desire and what makes them feel good and ok for the moment. They swipe left or right to what or whom seems right. It’s easy.
Our current self-esteem culture promotes a life without hardships and imperfections. Recently, an article in the Wall Street Journal explained that young girls stay up past midnight glued to their phones and hoping not to miss an important update. Their anxiety and depression deepens as they imagine their own personal troubles in poor comparison with the lives, bodies, and popularity of other girls whose lives appear to be picture perfect.
Addiction – Short Term Fixes
When today’s feelings become the main focus, men and women do not set ambitious goals for a better future. Time slips away as playtime, and nothing drives an effort to shape a higher quality of living. Optimism decreases for what lies ahead and new skills and habits do not appear. Without a responsibility for tomorrow, they avoid responsibility for a life’s outcome. They either live with unreal expectations for winning American Idol; or, some that could, never do.
The prescriptions for the anxieties of this present age are much the same as 2000 years ago: substance abuse, control, recognition, power, etc. Some of these provide a way of escape from emptiness, pain or feeling worthless. The rest of them hide us from our need to change and improve. People miss learning the importance of self-sacrifice and the battle for the discipline and self-control required in the fulfillment of a noble aim – one that makes the future better for the benefit of others (including oneself).
As people live for the moment and only to themselves, a loss of purpose and meaning contribute to their lost existence. The days or weeks pass by without the pursuit of ambitions in the best interest of themselves and a better life for all. The truth is: Life is difficult. We’re all pretty broken and in need or change for our own good and the good of others.
Ambition (Long-term improvements)
Individuals can transform themselves and the world around them, and they can create a future not yet imagined. It’s learning from past mistakes and being trained by the discipline necessary to make the best of a difficult life that offers learning. This helps people make their way toward an important vision. The growing experiences yield a healthier life to those trained by them.
As we study history, we see the evidence for individual progress, personal advancement and realized ambitions:
- People built hospitals, schools and homes.
- Soldiers stopped evil tyrants of war.
- Controlling leaders learned to delegate and empower.
- Dedicated people build countries, companies and families.
- Dishonest people learned that honesty brought freedom.
- Negative coaches became encouragers.
- Young people bought homes and paid off their debt.
- Industriousness replaced irresponsibility.
- We walked on earth and on the moon, and we’re reaching for mars and the stars next.
For some reason, our culture today makes being an ambitious person a negative. Maybe it’s because of the indiscretions of corporations like Enron and Wells Fargo, bad salespeople selling without integrity, leaders killing and lying to achieve their aims, or fathers pursuing other things before what is important for their families.
Maybe it’s because of a growing dependence on a government that wants us to make it the center of responsibility for social change and good. Policy makers want us to make them “the answer” for the well-being of everyone; and, in doing so, they direct people and children to safety and sameness and away from the ideas of a free society in which people take individual responsibility for their future, independence and freedom. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to have ambition towards a noble aim in one’s life. It’s important for the individual and those closest to them.
Here’s the truth. Having a noble aim requires hard work, sacrificing what makes us feel good now, self-discipline, willpower and perseverance. It requires an authentic look at where a person is now and what needs to change. Its nobility requires a concern for others built into the character of the achieving individual. Its pursuit gives hope. And, there is nothing easy about the journey even for the gifted. Talent is overrated.
A person who works today for a remarkable tomorrow suffers through ups and downs, breakthroughs and breakdowns. The struggle, the trials and the testings endured, produce perseverance and strength of characters from facing the issues in a person’s life. They learn to handle various and difficult circumstances. But a new life demands
this and even requires it. When in the crucible of trial, the muscles build, the insight grows, and the person matures. This provides great strength within them and the capacity for surviving trying moments in life.
Purpose results from being firmly attached to the idea of making oneself better for making the world better. Having a noble aim means living to be of value. It then means something to go to work everyday. Every role in business becomes meaningful and done for the benefit of others.
In the achievement, people gain new and helpful attitudes and skills. They change their habits, replacing bad ones with new ones. Their reputation as a contributor in the lives of others rises from a deeper, steadfast and meaningful approach to the problems that face people.
Salespeople sell to help people satisfy wants, fill needs and solve problems. Salespeople sell to earn an income for making life better for themselves and others. And you, the leader, determine if this is true. You can change the lives of those you lead by what you believe.
Remember these important fundamentals of sales leadership.
- Be an example of an ambitious person of service for the reps, the customer and the company.
- Ask questions to help people discover important changes in their lives with desired goals to pursue and achieve.
- Want the responsibility of leadership and teaching.
- Love coaching and helping people develop skills and new habits.
- Ask about or track the progress of those on your team.
- Believe in and encourage those you lead – celebrate their progress.
- Understand that winning occurs when they win – when what they want becomes a reality because of being on your team.
Now, take on this responsibility and this purpose and make the world of sales a better place to live in. You have what it takes to get this done.