NOTE: This post appeared today on my blog http://waldo2010.wordpress.com/.
Life seems to be about creating routines. Sometimes we choose our routines consciously, sometimes unconsciously, and sometimes they are chosen for us. Every morning for the past couple of weeks or so, after my daughter and I drop my son off at school, I help her out of her car seat, get her feet on the ground, and she takes off running towards the front door. Usually when she is about half-way there, she’ll shout out “On your mark…get set…GO!” Gotta love a kid that knows how to give herself an edge!
Even with her head start, I still have the speed to win if I really wanted to, although I suspect that the time is coming sooner than I think where I will no longer be letting my kids beat me in a race. She is always excited when she gets to the door first and claims her victory. This is one race that I hope to lose for a long time to come. At some point, my little one will start to grow up, and most likely lose her enthusiasm for winning a fixed race. But for now, it is something that I look forward to. It starts the day off on a high note.
However, some days, I feel like I truly can’t get out of the starting blocks against an opponent that is not nearly as cute – the grind of life. As much as I have done to make improvements in my life, I am not immune to life’s disappointments and frustrations. Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows how frustrating it can be at times. There are some days when things are clicking on all cylinders and you feel like you are invincible. But there are also days where you feel like you can’t get out of your own way to get the job done. Yesterday was one of those days.
It seemed like every call that I made was met with some sort of road block or unnecessary negativity from the person on the other end. The temptation was there to just pack it in and call it a day before things got any worse. However, I set a goal to make a certain amount of calls, and I was going to make those calls even if every person piled on to an already challenging day.
As I reached the final call, I was relieved that the day was coming to an end. With the way that things were going, I had very little expectation of a positive outcome, but I made the call anyway. Success! The person on the other end of the line was very happy to hear from me. At that moment, I was very glad that I willed myself to keep going in the face of what seemed like endless defeats. Had I quit early, the day would have felt like a failure on two accounts. Striking out for the day is one thing, but quitting before reaching my self-imposed goal would have made the day feel like a total failure.
When I got done with the call, I checked my voicemail and actually got a return call from someone else that was ready to do business. We had a great conversation, and a few laughs as we shook our heads in disbelief at the problems that he was dealing with due to the robots that work in government. If I had given up on the day, I never would have made this connection.
Ultimately, a day that looked like it was going to be totally unproductive became a good day after all. If not for my renewed focus on self-improvement, I may very well have allowed the early results of the day to dictate my actions – rather than my focus on meeting my goals. Even though I already know this, I’m glad that a life lesson was reinforced yesterday…
I can only control my actions. I cannot control the actions or reactions of others, only how I respond to them.