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What Have You Learned Lately?

Some of us have the same year over and over again. We have a lot of experiences, and we have a lot of learning opportunities along the way, but we spend too little time capturing those learning experiences. We spend even less making the changes we need to make, even when we know what we’re doing isn’t working.

Here are four things I have learned over the last quarter and what I think it means for me (as taken from my daily journal).

As We Age, We Value Certainty

As we age, we are more and more uncomfortable with uncertainty. We want to be certain that everything is going to be okay, that we are going to have enough, that our kids are going be alright, and that nothing disrupts life as we have known it.

The implication for me is the understanding that some of the people in my life value certainty more than almost anything else, and that it’s my responsibility to try to help them to have it—or to make the uncertainty more comfortable.

I’ve noticed the same thing happens as an organization matures. There is less an appetite for risk, and less of an appetite for upsetting the status quo. Certainty becomes a major driver (and sometimes the major driver).

Trust Enables Speed

In helping a company I am working with make a deal, I have noticed how much the lack of trust slows down business transactions. When parties don’t trust each other, when they question each other’s motives, the time and energy it takes to work through even the simplest of agreements is multiplied exponentially.

Once trust exists and motives are no longer questioned, even the most complex of deals is easier to obtain and faster reached.

The outcome of this learning for me is to do more work on building the relationships and building the trust very early. In fact, that should be the first objective. It doesn’t matter how good the deal looks, if the trust doesn’t exist, it’s going to be difficult to get there. And why would you ever do a deal with someone you don’t trust?

The Gift of Listening

There might not be any greater gift that you can give another human being than really listening to them. We want to be validated. We want to share our identity with other people, who we are, why we matter.

We all need someone to listen to us, to acknowledge that we are here, that we are important.

What this changes for me is my need to try to help people with the challenges and problems they share. I have a strong desire to help. But lately I have noticed that a lot of the time the help people are really seeking is someone to listen to them, to validate them. It’s okay not to try to help; sometimes listening is the help they need.

Lights

My niece had a problem with a person she was close to. I wrote this for her, and I posted the picture to The Sales Blog Facebook page:

Some people are made of light. They believe it is their duty to go out and turn on other lights. They make the world around them brighter.

Some people are made of darkness. They don’t believe that their own light shines brightly enough, and they believe it is their duty to go and snuff out other lights. They believe this will make their own light shine brighter. But it doesn’t. It only makes the world around them darker.

Don’t let anyone snuff out your light. Instead, burn all the brighter, and turn on all the other lights around you.

We need to do more to help those who believe that they can make their own light brighter by snuffing out other lights. They need help turning on their own light. We need to do more to make sure that we are turning on more lights.

Questions

What have you learned over the last three months or so?

How has what you have learned changed what you are doing?

How do you keep track of what you are learning?

What do you do to make sure you put what you have learned into practice?


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