Skill in Life: Build Your Own Success

sand castle


Mercy Academy is a small Catholic girls’ school in Louisville, Kentucky. The school’s administration realized that most of their students would come from well-to-do families. Some enrollees perhaps were even spoiled and entitled. But the administration also had no interest in coddling these young ladies and giving in to their sense of entitlement.

So Mercy Academy’s president decided they wouldn’t. Instead, the school took this approach: “Let’s make [our students] realize before they get here that they are going to have to work hard in order to get ahead here.” There would be no free rides. And there would be no presumptions that everything in school, nor in life, would always be handed to these young women.

To help portray this message, the school sought out a new marketing and advertising program for Mercy Academy. And the end result was simple, yet brilliant: “Don’t Wait for a Prince.” Don’t wait for Prince Charming to make the rest of your life easy. Why? Well, because finding a real-life Prince Charming likely will never happen. So, start building your own success.

This build-your-own-success attitude also applies to dental sales reps. A rep once told me she was waiting until her three oldest co-reps retired so that she could take their best accounts. Unfortunately for her, all three worked past retirement age. When they did finally retire, the sales manager assigned their accounts to other reps. Not a single one was transferred to her. Her “prince” never came. Today she is a mediocre and bitter rep, still waiting for someone else to do the hard work and hand her an undeserving gift.

This waiting-for-a-prince attitude typically is assigned to Millennials. But this way of thinking — the temptation of wishing for prince — has even fallen on some Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers. To build your own success, you need to be aggressive. Not in the sense of having an abrasive and rough attitude, but in the sense of self-determined responsibility. Let me repeat that: self-determined responsibility. Determine your goals and then take personal responsibility for your own success.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO DEFINE YOUR OWN GOALS? HOW CAN YOU THEN TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SUCCESS?So, what might be an effective plan for your own success? What are some of the things you can do to define your own goals? How can you then take personal responsibility for your own success?

Start with your sales manager. Ask for a one-on-one meeting so you can discuss your goals. Your manager will want to talk about assignments and quotas, but then tell her or him what you want to accomplish with this company.

Have your sales manager clearly define your territory, whether geographically restricted or an open field. Next, find out exactly what you can sell. Some reps, for example, are not allowed to sell technology because they are not sufficiently educated about it. Finally, get a list of “virgin” accounts — accounts not being sold by fellow employees.

Accepting these restrictions (territory, product, co-worker) make an all-out assault on your market’s potential. Don’t call on just the bigger prospects; call on all of them. Build a solid base of smaller practices you can help today, accounts that will grow with you over the years. If you’re restricted from selling big-ticket items, do your homework and learn enough about them to convince your manager to sign you up for official training from the manufacturer. Meanwhile, never abandon those smaller accounts that you started. Bring them along through your product knowledge, customer knowledge and customer service.

Don’t wait for a prince. Be self-responsible and aggressive while working to accomplish your goals. Do the work. Today. Build your own castle and success.

From MENTOR. January 2018;9(1):8-9.

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