In his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells the story about a man feverishly sawing down a tree in the woods. He was exhausted, the work was hard. At the suggestion of taking a little time to sharpen the saw, so the work would be easier, his response was “…no time, I’m too busy sawing.”
When you Sharpen the Saw, you take time to invest in yourself every day. The investment of time in yourself is to renew yourself Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually if the latter is important to you.
In sales, as in life, your physical wellbeing is very important. Like many people I know, I used to work crazy hours to get deals done, surviving on take-out and other junk or convenience food, getting little sleep and no exercise.
With the onset of type 2 diabetes, I had to make some choices and I have transformed my health by choosing to arrange my work around my regular fitness and tennis sessions each week – even when travelling on client assignments. It’s possible.
In my work teaching and coaching sales professionals all over the world, I meet very few who take care of their own renewal fully. I see a growing awareness of the need for physical fitness but very little evidence that sales people are taking the time to renew themselves mentally and emotionally.
Mentally, they could wisely invest in more preparation for meetings, visualization of their interactions, reading and learning new skills. They could practice techniques with colleagues, but simply do not invest. Similarly, I see little or no time set aside to regularly practice and hone their EQ skills.
Here’s the reality. World-class athletes, footballers, cyclists, golfers, and virtuoso musicians reach the top of their fields and stay there by investing significant time and effort in self-renewal and PRACTICE. It is no different in sales, where the stakes are high and there is little to differentiate competitors.
We all get the same 168 hours a week.
Why wouldn’t we invest 2-3 hours in ourselves?