Skill in Life: Make Every Step Count

skill in life


My go-to airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — the country’s busiest. I usually give myself plenty of time to walk the lengthy distance from security to the assigned gate, preferring to use the escalator vs stairs during this trek.

The escalator. Rotating stairs that rise higher than a single story building, extending into what seems like infinity. I realized years ago that if, from the bottom floor, I look to the top of the escalator to see my goal, I fixate on the long trek ahead. However, if I walk these rotating stairs with focus on each and every step — knowing my goal awaits me — I get there with relative ease.

It is not enough to see your goal. You need to focus on the steps that get you there.

Have you ever watched a documentary about people who climb Mount Everest? These stalwarts cannot afford to look up. Rather, they focus on reaching the summit of Everest before their expedition begins. They refocus on this goal each time they reach a new camp during their journey. And when they continue the climb each day, their mental, visual, and emotional focus centers on every step they take.

You’re a dental sales rep. If you are good, you focus on goals — as you have been told to do by every instructor you ever had. But my humble opinion suggests that once you know your short- and long-term goals, concentrate on the steps that will get you there. Every morning should start with a goal for the day. It’s like the mountaineers who today must make it to their next camp. Once you are clear on your daily goal, take it step by step. If you concentrate on these steps, you’ll reach that goal. It’s the steps that get you there. Focus on them.

  • What do you know about the product you want to sell today? You are not selling something; you are selling a Hyflex EDM file. Focus.
  • How well do you know your customer and her mission, her needs, her wants at this time? You are not selling any doctor. You are trying to get Pam Waken, DDS, to want the Hyflex EDM file. Focus.
  • How well have you researched the practice’s procedure for new products? You realize you need to start with Gracie, the dental assistant. Focus.
  • Is your presentation solidly crafted, yet flexible enough for the unexpected objection? What if they swear undying loyalty to their current rotary file? Focus.

See, without the focus on these individual steps, you most often will fall short of your goal. Can you imagine the mountain climber trying to keep his gaze always fixed on the peak of Mount Everest instead of concentrating on every step of the climb? Surely he would lose his grip or his footing and die.

The ability to focus on each step in pursuit of a greater goal is an essential skill. It works for climbing escalators, conquering mountains, and making that sale.


From MENTOR. September 2017;8(9):5.

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