There’s no other way to slice it: a lot of crazy stuff is happening in the world right now. Coronavirus, stock market crashes, hourly workers struggling and major worldwide events canceled. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt loom large for most of us.
The issue with everything mentioned above is that it’s out of our control. I don’t control the stock market swings. I didn’t choose whether or not the NCAA tournament was shut down nor do I have any major impact in the spreading of Coronavirus (though I am taking the necessary precautions).
I was touched by a video that world-class sales trainer John Barrows posted on LinkedIn and decided to reciprocate with my own. In his post, Barrows urged his followers to pursue his philosophy, EAT – Effort, Attitude and Treating others well. It’s one that he and his daughter coined at a time when she was young and feeling anxious.
This is not unlike my first-ever podcast guest, Rich Stone, who urged us to focus on attitude and effort. “If you focus on those two things, you’ll be successful. Simple as that.”
There’s a scene in Wolf of Wall St. where Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) gives a motivational speech to his team before hitting the phones for cold calling. As he bursts to the stage, he pushes his employees to solve their problems by “becoming rich”.
You listen to me and you listen well.
Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good. Pick up the phone and start dialing.
Is your landlord ready to evict you? Good. Pick up the phone and start dialing.
Does your girlfriend think you’re a fuckin’ worthless loser? Good. Pick up the phone and start dialing.
Now, I’m going to take off my empathy hat for a minute. For just a moment, let’s ignore that Belfort absolutely ruined the lives of virtually every employee and client he had at that time. For this point in time, let’s drop that from our memory. In this fictional sequence written by Martin Scorcese that may or may not have actually happened… DiCaprio’s character has a point.
If you’re behind on your bills, or worried about being evicted, or seem generally unimpressive to your significant other, professional success may be able to solve these problems. Almost definitely for problems #1 and #2. #3 is probably a conversation for another blog. I can’t think of a better strategy to overcome a money problem than working harder, especially if you’re in sales.
It’s a movie. It’s a made-up scenario. Besides, if you had an eviction notice on your door, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.
But in the larger picture, we can take this same approach to defeat the fear and chaos that surrounds us in times like these.
It’s an easy time to panic. It’s easy to refresh the news every 12 minutes waiting for bad news or to stare at the amount of money your 401(k) lost this morning (on paper) or to only work for two hours a day because you’re at home instead of the office.
What’s easy is not always right.
We can learn a little from DiCaprio in this event. Don’t let all of these abnormalities kill your everyday events. Use them as fuel. Maybe it’s time to develop more empathy for your customers, to go above and beyond on that project your boss gave you or stay inside and actually finish that damn novel you’ve been talking about for three years.
When life around us feels as though it’s spiraling, it’s time to double down on what we know is right.
Double down on effort.
Double down on attitude.
Treat yourself and others well.
Watch your health.
Spend time with the right people.
Be patient with people.
Spread positivity and optimism.
We all only have a finite amount of time on this big rock. Don’t let what you can’t control slow you down from pursuing your dreams.
And for a sales guy like me, it’s time to pick up the phone and start dialing.