Keep Your Chin Up, and Your Head Down…

February 14, 2017 by QBS Research, Inc.  
Filed under articles

Do you like to play golf? I do. In fact, years ago I qualified to play on the University of Florida’s elite golf team, but quickly discovered that there’s a big difference between pretty good and elite. Thus, it rapidly became clear that I had better find some other way to make a living.

These days, I’m simply a weekend golfer who still enjoys the game, but I now live for those few perfectly-executed shots…whichgolferinfrequently occur among many other wayward swings that send my ball flying deep into the trees, into an adjacent lake, or ending up in a homeowner’s backyard.

Thus, I have learned not to expect perfection every time. Even the golf professionals you see on television experience many of the same ups and downs as us weekend golfers, albeit at a much higher level. For that matter, professionals in all walks of life have to deal with good days and bad days, which any seasoned sales professional can certainly attest.

Achieving the desired level of success in any endeavor requires an interesting combination of patience and hard work in order to focus on maximizing the number of “ups,” while minimizing your downside risk. While those might seem like opposing forces at first glance, let me give you just one example as it relates to golf (and ironically, sales).

This past weekend, I played 18 holes with a few of my golf buddies. As luck would have it, I opened the round with a double-bogey on the first hole, followed by two triple-bogeys—a terrible start to be sure. But, rather than getting totally frustrated like I sometimes do, I took a few deep breaths and tried to focus on what adjustments I could make in order to right the ship. Lo and behold, I was able to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker to save par on #4, followed by another ho-hum par on #5. I began to think that perhaps there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Then, as if the heavens opened up with good fortune, I birdied 3 out of the next 4 holes, putting me back in contention, and more importantly, in the money. I ended up finishing with one of my better 18-hole scores of the year, much to the chagrin of my buddies who were left reaching for their wallets.

My experience in sales has been filled with many of the same highs and lows as I tend to experience on the golf course. In fact, I can easily recall times where I was working a deal that was seemingly in-the-bag, only to discover that it suddenly got derailed at the eleventh hour. And I can cite numerous examples where my first disappointment of the day was followed by another, and then another. Believe me, I completely understand the feeling of wanting to cut bait and either head to the nearest pub to drown my sorrows, or find the closest bridge to jump off. As the saying goes, “You can’t win ‘em all.”

Fortunately, there’s another old saying that has buoyed golfers for centuries, all the way back to when the modern game of golf was born in Scotland in 1457AD. In short, if you want to be successful on the course, “Keep your chin up and your head down.”

While I’m not sure the early Scots recognized the significance of their initial wisdom, this idea of keeping your chin up and your head down applies to virtually every aspect of everyday life. Said differently, the blend of patience together with a relentless desire to work hard is an extremely powerful combination.

It’s one thing to try and work yourself into a stress-filled frenzy, at the mere possibility of disappointment or despair. It is quite another to have the patience to step back and think about what you can do differently to produce a more desirable outcome next time.

While I’m not sure the early Scots recognized the significance of their initial wisdom, this idea of keeping your chin up and your head down applies to virtually every aspect of everyday life. Said differently, the blend of patience together with a relentless desire to work hard is an extremely powerful combination.

It’s one thing to work yourself into a frenzy at the sheer possibility of disappointment or despair. It is quite another thing to have the patience and presence of mind to step back and think about what you might be able to do differently to produce a more desirable outcome next time.

Throughout my pilgrimage as a sales trainer and thought leader for the last 20 years, I see both sides of this coin almost every week. I meet people who crave perfection, to the point where some salespeople wallow in frustration every time something doesn’t go their way. Meanwhile, I meet other sellers who are more realistic in their expectations that they are likely to encounter a few bumps on the road to success. And generally, it’s the proactive salesperson(s) who seek to make the adjustments necessary to effectively navigate (and even prevent) the various hurdles that would otherwise hinder their success during the sales process.

The question is, which type of golfer (or sales professional) do you want to be—the one who gets frustrated and throws a fit every time the ball doesn’t find its way into the hole, or the patient one who can be proactive enough to use the lessons learned along the way to enhance your opportunity to succeed moving forward?

What lesson is that? Always keep your chin up, and your head down. Good things tend to happen when you are willing to put in the sweat equity to work hard, with a positive attitude. That’s generally when a significant  upside in results is just around the corner.

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