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Attitudes of Top Achievers
To assist you in responding to the daily challenges of professional selling, let's now examine the key
attitudinal characteristics”the five pillars of success”practiced by top achievers. A positive attitude is
a prerequisite to applying knowledge. This section will not change things for you, but it introduces you
to the person who can.
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Attitude #1: Just Did It! Thought into Action
Top achievers understand that life offers choice; you can be an observer throughout your life or you can
choose to be a participant. You can choose to live life or choose to merely exist. The choice you make
determines whether you live with results or excuses. No one becomes successful by watching
someone else perform, although lots of people try.

Many people appreciate the Nike slogan, "Just Do It." It suggests taking action. To me, it smacks of
procrastination. "Just Do It." Yes, but when? Well, soon, someday. Although it can be a good start,
"Just Do It" relates more to intentions than to actions. The reality is that too often we judge ourselves by
our intentions, whereas others tend to judge us by our actions. The challenge we face as adults is not a
deficiency of intentions but a deficiency of action. Intentions are easy. We have lots of them. Sadly,
intentions are little more than self-serving feelings of accomplishment. Taking action is the hard part. If
we did everything we intended to do we would experience boundless success. Successful people
embrace the "Just Did It!" philosophy. They take their thoughts and ideas to the next dimension: action.

People tend to procrastinate. In fact, it is how many of us start our day. We usually swat the snooze
button two or three times before we finally drag ourselves out of bed and into work. Adopting the
principles throughout the Sequential Model will encourage you to get out of bed because you want to,
not because you have a lumpy mattress. The next time you purchase an alarm clock, ask for one
without the procrastination option.
Another handicap we face as adults is that we tend to look for the easy way, the path of least
resistance. Procrastination becomes our worst enemy, a kind of virus. A dose of positive attitude is the
antidote. Life offers another choice; we can choose to experience the pain of discipline or the pain of
regret. The pain of regret is costly and lasts a lifetime, whereas the discomfort of discipline is rewarding
and enhances your life. Unfortunately, pain of regret prevails. I shared this theory with my youngest son,
Michael. He thought the concept was pretty cool and has since embraced it himself. The discomfort of
discipline continues to enrich his life. At 17 years of age, he began taking lessons for his pilot's license.
Six months later, I witnessed his first solo flight. A very proud moment indeed. He is always reminding
me to exercise the discomfort of discipline.

My eldest son, Stephen, was equally impressed with the "Just Did It!" attitude. Stephen completed the
required training to become a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System. Focusing on his goal, he
persevered through two months of first-aid training, passed his ski tests, and became a fully qualified
mountain patroller. At age 18, he became the youngest member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System in
Alberta. Quite an accomplishment for a teenager. Another proud moment for Dad.

We don't need to look very far to see how society has validated the impact of the "Just Did It!" attitude.
Consider Bill Gates. In 1975, he was working in his basement pursuing his love of computers. His
mother said it was always a hassle getting him to come up for dinner. At one point, his motivation was
probably financial, but not anymore. What keeps him motivated is the love of his work. My father once
told me that the true measurement of your love of the job is that you would do it for free. Initially I
thought he was nuts but now I couldn't agree more.

Every business today, large or small, was at one point a "Just Do It" idea with an action plan that came
to fruition. The company you work at now is the result of someone exercising the "Just Did It!" attitude.
In fact, over 50% of the places where we do business didn't exist five years ago. What about the
individuals who thought of Trivial Pursuit and Pet Rock, to name a couple? I'm sure they are now
basking on a beach while we toil away.

Here are a few suggestions to encourage the "Just Did It!" attitude. Buy yourself a "thought into action"
tool. What's that, you ask? A handheld tape recorder (a microcassette)”an excellent tool to have
available while you are driving or at home. You think continuously”great ideas or thoughts can pop into
your mind anytime, usually when you are driving or caught in traffic. The recorder is very handy and
provides the convenience to capture your ideas. My own recorder has proved invaluable. It has been a
constant companion to me, especially during the two years I took to write this book. You will find it
pays for itself in no time. However, I caution you, be careful where you leave it. My significant other and
I were recently on a weekend ski trip. On Saturday morning she had a bit of a smirk on her face. With a
degree of hesitation, I inquired as to the look. She told me I had been snoring. As on previous
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occasions I proclaimed my innocence by insisting, "Yeah, but I don't snore." She just grinned and said,
"You know that annoying little tape recorder you're married to?" With great delight she proceeded to
play back several minutes of me sounding like a buzz-saw. Busted!

The other "Just Did It!" tactic I use comes courtesy of my father. He would occasionally switch his
watch to his other wrist. After noticing this on several occasions, I finally asked him what the heck he
was doing. He told me that because it feels so awkward on the other wrist, it was a great way to remind
himself to do something. Go ahead, switch your watch, or even a ring. It does feel awkward. Next time
you get an idea or think of a must-do item, switch your watch or ring. (Tying string on your finger would
look silly.) You can switch it back only after you have taken action on your idea. It works for me.
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Attitude #2: Set Goals”Daily Destinations
The second attitudinal characteristic found among top achievers is that they set goals. They take
advantage of the numerous benefits goal-setting offers. Most of us view goal-setting as a laborious
exercise fraught with uncertainty. Did you know that only 5% of North Americans are committed to
written goals? [3] I'm not talking about writing a to-do list scribbled on a Post-It-Note or a napkin. I mean
a clear, concisely written goal. The to-do list simply represents a shopping list of activities, chores to be
performed throughout your day. As a sales entrepreneur, you must get into the mental habit of thinking
in terms of end results rather than being satisfied with "busywork."
There is a parade of excuses as to why people do not set goals. The most common one is, "They don't
work," or even worse, "How do I know what I'll be doing in five years?" Instead of creating our future, we
have been conditioned to react to the present. Too many people today seek the quick fix, hoping for
some rescue fantasy to magically appear and salvage them from their boring life of routine and
occasional luck.
In fairness to the goal-setting exercise, recognize there are two sides to every story. On the lighter side,
I offer you the top ten reasons why you may choose not to set goals.
Reasons Not to Set Goals
1. No forward thinking is required.
2. You will always be successful”no accountability, no disappointments.
3. Your week is already full. Maybe you'll set goals next week.
4. You have already reached your destination. Life has little more to offer.
5. It gives you a good reason to keep buying lottery tickets.
6. You can hang out with other aimless drifters. Like-minded people love company.
7. The 95% of North Americans who don't set goals can't be wrong. They may be
mediocre or very average, but not wrong.
8. You'd rather live by other people's goals. It's easier if they set them.
9. No goals = no failure.
10. To-do lists work just fine for me.

Now, of course I am being silly, but these reasons to not set goals are scarier than you think. I certainly
hope you didn't highlight any of them. Unfortunately, many people do buy into this mentality.

Goals offer a host of benefits and the one that impresses me the most is that goals provide a
destination. How do you know where you are going in life if you don't have a destination? Most of us
spend more time planning our weekend, holiday, or party than we do our own lives. We don't plan to fail,
we fail to plan. You have probably heard or read these ideas many times before. That's because they
are true. Once again the path of least resistance and the pain of regret prevails.
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I recently visited my brother in Toronto and I noticed an advertisement in the apartment building elevator
that I'm sure you will appreciate. The ad was posted by a financial services company and in bold print
asked the question, "Where will you be in five years?" It then offered four choices: (a) Driving a new car?
(b) On a vacation? (c) In a new home? (d) In this elevator? I cracked up. Not only was the ad amusing, it
delivered a powerful message. Unfortunately, given that only 5% of us have written goals, financial or
otherwise, I'm sure "d" is the answer in most cases.
How To Set SMART Goals

With an eye to simplicity, I offer the SMART approach to developing your goals. [4] Don't let the apparent
simplicity of the SMART theory prevent you from using it. It works. Just ask your mentor or anyone you
know who is experiencing success. By the way, if you don't have a mentor, get one.
The SMART Approach:
 Specific (dates, numbers, times, etc.)
 Measurable (end result)
 Attainable (to me)
 Relevant (to me)
 Trackable (progress of goal) [5]

All five criteria must be in place in order to achieve your goal. Don't be overzealous. Be realistic and set
goals that are relevant to your environment and to your future. Don't be guided or influenced by the goals
of other people such as family, friends, managers, or coworkers. The SMART approach to goal-setting
provides a way to articulate what you need to accomplish and where you are going.

The following example illustrates the simplicity of a SMART goal: I will save $500 by December 20,
starting June 1. This goal satisfies the SMART criteria, including when it starts. Note that I didn't state,
"I want some extra cash for Christmas." I stated a very specific goal, a SMART goal. Now I have a
destination. My next step is to set short-term goals to ensure I reach my destination of $500 by
December 20.
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Goal-setting is most effective when goals can be accomplished within a reasonable period of time.
Many people associate goals with a large window of time, five to ten years into the future, but goals are
not reserved for long-term thinking only. Long-term goals are only achieved by setting daily, weekly, or
monthly short-term goals. Few people appreciate that goals can become a daily exercise. What's my
goal for today? You must think of daily or weekly goals as stepping stones that eventually lead to your
longer-term goals. Perhaps Charles Noble said it best, "You must have long-range goals to keep you
from being frustrated by short-range failures." The feeling of accomplishment is highly rewarding. This
feeling fuels your motivation to remain focused on your short-term goals, en route to your ultimate
long-term goals. Without goals, we periodically experience accidental success. It's called a fluke.
Consider a professional sports team. A hockey team doesn't win the Stanley Cup by winning one or two
games. Victory stems from a series of wins during the season and post-season, one game at a time.
Valuable Benefits of Setting Goals

There are several important benefits of goal-setting. The process:
 sets a destination, daily or otherwise
 clarifies purpose
 motivates you to action
 delivers a sense of accomplishment
 provides a benchmark of success
 validates that you are successful
 builds self-esteem
 provides a clear commitment
The SMART process stimulates a clear commitment from you to achieve your personal and professional
goals. Commitment casts aside self-imposed barriers such as procrastination, the virus I spoke of
earlier. Consider this story taken from Lee Boyan's book, Successful Cold Call Selling:

Well, most people feel safer in a twin-engine plane. They figure if one engine quits, you have another
one to keep you up. But consider this. It takes a lot more pilot skill to keep a twin-engine aircraft flying
with one engine out. It's terribly unbalanced. It's especially tough in bad weather. Worse, if you have to
make a forced landing in bad weather.

But pilot skill is only part of it. The real reason you may want to consider a single-engine airplane safer
is this. If that engine quits, the pilot is totally committed to land that bird. There is no other option. Total
attention, skill, and effort are concentrated on bringing it down as gently as possible. No distractions.

A twin-engine pilot, no matter how skilled, isn't applying all of that skill to the one critically important
task. A twin-engine pilot's mind is going back and forth struggling with a dilemma. Should I keep it up?
Should I bring it down? [6]
I am sure many people drift through life like that. They never fully commit to a specific goal. They dabble
in this and that, not doing anything very well. Don't simply try something, commit to it. Success
requires unshakeable commitment: Commit your full attention, your energies, and your skills to fulfill
your goals. If you only try something, it becomes a very trying experience. Be passionate, not merely
interested. Don't be like the kamikaze pilot who flew 17 missions. Get focused.

I recently set a personal SMART goal to lose 15 pounds within 90 days. The goal kept me focused,
kept me on course and ensured that I did what was necessary. Goals keep you focused regardless of
whether you like the necessary activities. I didn't particularly cherish the thought of dining exclusively on
cabbage soup and veggies, but those activities were necessary. The discomfort of discipline.

Tim Commandment #1
Set personal and professional SMART goals frequently.
Ask: What are my personal and professional SMART goals for today, for this week?

Dynamics of Motivation
To further stimulate you toward action, let me share some thoughts on motivation. Much has been
written on the subject of motivation. Sales managers are always searching for the elusive magic formula
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to get their representatives fired up and motivated. But only you can motivate yourself, no one else can.
Motivation must come from within. Your manager or spouse may be able to light a fire under you, but
only you can light a fire within.
Motivation is understanding and appreciating the dynamic relationship between career goals and
personal goals. Many people feel that our personal goals are the most important aspect of motivation. I
challenge that. It is through the success of our career goals that we are able to pursue our personal
goals. It's called a paycheck. How else, except for winning a lottery or receiving an inheritance, can we
realize our personal goals? If we view our careers as a vehicle to achieve our personal goals, then we
are motivated. If not, then we are saddled with the, "I have to go to work" attitude versus, "I choose to go
to work." In terms of personal goals, I'm not suggesting money is our ultimate goal but money does
allow us to pursue what makes us happy. Let's face it, money is important. In fact, I put it right up there
with oxygen. (Another upside to money is it keeps the kids in touch.)

Life only rewards players, not spectators. There is no admission charge for players, but there is always
a charge for spectators. The spectators of life pay a high price for their admission and don't even realize
it. Life is not a spectator sport. If you are not motivated by your career, then get one where you are.
Motivation has two faces. We can be motivated away from something such as a bad job or bad manager
(negative stress); or motivated toward something such as a promotion or a new career (positive stress).
As Abraham Maslow theorized, we all live guided by a hierarchy of needs. Once lower-level needs such
as food and shelter are satisfied, a person moves up to higher-level needs, such as esteem and
friendship. However, Maslow also tells us that satisfied needs do not necessarily motivate us to move
up to higher-level needs. We become content with what I call the FDH syndrome: fat, dumb, and happy.
Satisfied needs do not motivate. We must take responsibility for ourselves and set SMART goals to
stimulate motivation. Accomplishments and achievements are more satisfying than living with routine
and monotony.
Hopkins, Tom. Low Profile Selling: Act Like a Lamb. Sell Like a Lion. Page 200, 1994. Tom Hopkins

International Inc.
Nelson, Bob and Peter Economy. Managing for Dummies. Page 124“125, 1996. IDG Books Worldwide Inc.

Nelson, Bob and Peter Economy. Managing for Dummies. Page 124“125, 1996. IDG Books Worldwide Inc.
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Boyan, Lee. Successful Cold Call Selling. Second Edition. Page 37, 1989. Amacom
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