Tag Archive for: success

Do You Love What You Do?

You’ve probably heard the old saying; if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. This came to mind as I took an Uber to the airport last week and told the driver I love what I do. He said it’s really rare when he hears someone say that and he’s done nearly 400 Uber trips.

Do you love what you do? I love what I do but it’s still work. Some days are tougher than others and sometimes it’s hard to get going early in the morning. I certainly love my wife Jane more than work but marriage takes a lot of work and isn’t always fun either.

Having said that, I do believe if you love doing something it’s far easier to do it and to do it with passion. Love and passion both give you better odds for success. I first learned this through athletics. For example, when I was in college I ran the weightlifting club for three years. During that time, I competed in powerlifting and after college competed in bodybuilding for three years. I loved weight training and dieting so competition served as motivation to do what I loved with more energy and intensity. It made the hard work fun!

Start with Why

Most of this starts with the mind. Simon Sinek would ask what’s your why? That’s the first step. When I started lifting weights I didn’t love it right off the bat. I was doing it because I wanted to get bigger and stronger for football. It was hard and I was sore an awful lot but I kept focusing on the next football season.

With influence my why was sales. I was involved in sales training and when I came across Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion the light bulb came on. I remember thinking, “This explains all the sales techniques we teach. It’s the psychology that makes the techniques work.” With that understanding I was hooked!

Small Wins

You can’t expect success overnight so look for the small wins. These milestones can keep you excited and eventually enough wins show real progress. Another of my outside activities was taekwondo with my daughter Abigail. The small wins for us was the progression from white belt to black belt. Each time you reached a new plateau the new belt was a visible reminder of the progress we were making.

With my influence training the small wins come each time I do a keynote or workshop. I usually get evaluation feedback from attendees so I can see comments and scores that have improved over the years. Feedback from others is valuable in case I have blind spots but the real evaluation is self-evaluation. There are often little things I keep refining, things people in the audience might not consciously think about but add to making the event great for them.

Enjoy Success

We all like things more when we believe we’re having success. Unfortunately, some people never let themselves enjoy success. Taking time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished is a critical component of loving what you do.

Another physical activity I did for many years was run marathons and half marathons. In several I did really well for my size (an over 200 lbs. runner) and I made sure I allowed myself to enjoy my performance. I’ve heard some people who do nothing but belittle their accomplishments saying things like:

“The competition wasn’t very good.” That’s not what everyone who finished behind you said!

“There were not many people in my category.” You had the guts to enter the competition and others didn’t.

“It wasn’t as good as I did last time.” But you did it and that’s worth something even if you didn’t perform your best.

I just wrote about small wins in the form of feedback. Before I dive into the feedback after a presentation and begin to figure out what to do next I let myself enjoy the moment. If I feel like I gave a great presentation I’ll tell people “I killed it” and relish it for a while. One organization said they’d not gotten feedback as high as mine except for the time Colin Powell spoke! I’m proud of that and still let myself enjoy that moment.

Only after I’ve enjoyed success for a while do I jump in and start strategizing about what needs to change next time so I can do even better.

Let’s recap. If you know why you do what you do, you’re continually seeing small wins, and you allow yourself to enjoy your success that’s a sure-fire way to enjoy, perhaps start loving, what you do. Don’t just meander through life, apply this three-step approach to whatever you’re doing and you will enjoy it more.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 100,000 times! Have you seen it yet? It will teach you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.

When the Good Becomes Bad

Have you ever noticed how something good can slowly become bad? I’m thinking of things we start for good reasons that end up getting distorted and becoming bad. Here are some examples:

  • In the Bible, the Pharisees, a religious sect of Judaism, aspired to be right with God. They knew the commandments but wanted to understand them more deeply. They knew “Thou shalt not work on the Sabbath” but wanted to understand exactly what work was. They set out to define it and laid a heavy burden on people in the name of God. It became work just to keep the law.
  • Public schools have set standards for graduation because people thought our education system was slipping on the world stage. However, rather than bolster learning we started hearing about teachers “teaching to the test” and in some districts misrepresenting student scores. On the topic of school, grades are used to measure performance. After all, “What gets measured gets done.” Seeing a student with a high GPA is usually a good thing unless students are more concerned with the grade than what they’re learning.
  • Faithfulness to marriage vows is a good thing. But what about couples who “stay together for the kids” and end up exposing them to a toxic environment at home?
  • In business, bonuses are used to incent people to do certain things like increase profits or sales. Offering people incentives to work harder, longer or more creatively is good unless people begin to do some unethical things to hit the numbers.

As I noted in the opening, many things start out with a good intention but end up getting perverted in some way as people lose sight of the original intention. So what are you to do?

I believe we all need to understand why we’re asked to do what we do and occasionally we need to remind ourselves. I work in the insurance industry and I’m proud of that. Insurance isn’t a sexy industry like banking or financial investments but it’s every bit as necessary. When people ask me about what I do, I tell them I’m proud to be in insurance because we do two important things:

We help people. If someone has a loss (car accident, home damaged, business destroyed) we step in to help them get back on their feet and lessen the financial burden they would face otherwise. No one ever said, “Darn my insurance agent for selling me the right coverages and limits” after a loss but many have said, “Darn my agent for not selling me the right coverages and limits!”

We help the economy. What bank will lend you money to build a house or buy a building if you can’t guarantee to repay the amount in full if the property is damaged or destroyed? No financial institution would do that but with an insurance company promising to make that guarantee, money is lent, buildings are bought, which employs people to build them and building materials are sold. This creates a positive ripple throughout our economy.

This brings me more specifically to what I do at work 9 to 5 and with Influence PEOPLE. I teach people how to ethically persuade others. The driving force for me in this endeavor is to help people professionally and personally. I believe:

Professional success depends in large part on your ability to get others to say yes to you. Sales are not made without getting to yes. If you’re a manager your success depends on your team buying into your vision and strategy – getting a yes! Even if you’re not in sales or management you’re asking people to do things all day long. 

Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human discovered through a survey of more than 7,000 business people that the typical non-sales employees spend upwards of 40% of their time trying to persuade others!

Personal happiness is quite often a result of getting a yes. Most people I know find that life is more pleasant when their spouse, significant other and/or kids willingly say yes to them. Understanding how to ethically persuade others can go a long ways toward making this happen.

If you’re like most people I’ve met, and including myself, then you may have things in life you started for the right reasons but may have “lost that loving feeling” and slowly slipped into a bad place. If that’s the case, step back and take time to remind yourself about who you are and why you choose to do what you do. If you can’t regain that old feeling and have the ability to let go of some things, then do so because you’ll enjoy what you pursue with passion more than what you have to drag yourself to do.