In the first few years of my sales career, to say I was struggling would be like saying the Titanic was just a small storm. I poured everything I had into every sales call, every communication, and every presentation. Because I was emptying myself out day in and day out, every “no” made devastation and disappointment feel like the only constants in my life. It was during these years that I learned the most about myself as a professional, as well as my character and my tenacity.
When I look back on this time in my life, one comment from a highly respected colleague especially stands out for me.
It was late one Friday. I was sitting in my office inside my tiny rental house when this successful friend called, as he often did, to check on me. About 30 seconds into the call I found myself with chest heaving, lips quivering, trying to describe another “thank you but we are staying with our current vendor” conversation. I will never forget what this gentleman told me that day. He said, “Tara, you can’t react this way. You can’t get too down when you lose, and you can’t get too excited when you win. This is a marathon and you need to stay even and balanced. Approach each day as it is your job, nothing more.” For several months that comment haunted me. I needed to chill: put in my hours, and not allow my failures or successes to affect my spirit.
Here is what I know today. That ain’t me baby. I am all-in. When I lose, I feel disappointment deeply. When I am particularly crushed, I allow myself 48 hours to have a world-class pity party. Then I pick myself up, hold myself accountable and figure out what I learned and what I could have done differently. But the other side to that scenario is that when I win, you better believe it’s game on. The sunroof goes back and ACDC’s Thunderstruck blares loudly from the stereo as I drive toward home to celebrate with loved ones.
After all these years, I never mastered the art of being balanced. Becoming balanced, for me, would be the equivalent to losing my passion. Passion drives me to keep going and to keep giving from my heart first. Passion reminds me that we have so much to celebrate, every single day. I used to service an inner-city account in an extremely low-income and underserved area. The commissions in that account were not worth the time, but I didn’t care. That place fueled my soul. Those folks knew how to celebrate! They were loud. They danced during breaks. They laughed with reckless abandon. Many of them faced abuse, neglect, hunger or worse. But they came together and found a way to unite and get endorphins flowing through their glorious connections.
Still today, I take this same spirit with me, every time I address an audience. It’s not in the words I speak necessarily. It’s in my head and my heart. Before I address any audience, be it one person or one thousand, I have a little talk with myself. I remember that this opportunity for connection is not about me. It is about what I can do for someone else. What can I discover about these people or this moment that is cause for celebration? There is little motivation to do the work to make change if we can’t see, really envision, the rewards. For me, there is no better reward than celebration.
A true celebration is when we have no agenda and we delight our senses. Let the music in, wrap your arms around loved ones, choose your scenery, bring in your favorite foods, light candles, rent a dance floor or do whatever delights your senses.
You may be asking, what does this have to do with En Pointe Communication? It has everything do with it. Our ability to craft messages and embrace audiences with a sprawling spirit of celebrating gifts and unique opportunities will infuse dopamine and serotonin into the people who are trusting you with their time. These are critical to a compelling presentation because dopamine keeps focus and interest. Serotonin brings about gratification and connection.
There are mountains of research that tell us that our words only affect our audience by about 8%. The rest of our message comes from presence, demeanor, tone, cadence, body language and visuals. This is why our spirit of celebration is so vital. When we are intentional with every word and embrace our audience with a celebratory verve, we deliver sustainable energy and leave them inspired and open to change. And when you inspire an audience and earn a commitment to change…forget balance.
Windows down. Volume up. Celebrate with all your might.