When I first started writing this blog, my life was in transition. I was leaving the world of aviation (my career home for more than two decades) and moving into the world of insurance and financial services sales.
That didn’t go well.
For months, I worked my posterior off. I did everything I was told I had to do to be successful. I networked at five to six events a week. I held meetings – sometimes up to five a day. I gave illustrations. I explained policies. And I sold nothing. The more I learned about life, disability and long-term care insurance, the more passionate I became about it. Yet, I was unable to translate that passion into sales. Many told me that I was “just the kind of person (they) wanted to buy insurance from,” but no one did. Ten months after I started, I was basically broke, broken, defeated and angry.
Like I do, I thought about my anger. I turned it over in my hands, examining it from every angle, trying to find its core. Recently, someone else crystallized it for me. I am angry because I planned and I worked hard, believing that I would be rewarded for those things with a comfortable middle age. I was knowledgeable, trustworthy and good at my various jobs. I thought that success would necessarily follow. Often, I’m learning, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, a recruiter recently told me to remove the C suite and VP titles from my resume since they make me sound over-qualified. He also suggested that, if I was at least a six on an attractiveness scale of ten, I should submit my resume in person at various facilities. To say the least, I was disappointed in his advice.
In the end, I find myself now middle-aged and starting literally from square one. Since October, I have been working at a local warehousing facility. The work is physically demanding and very different from anything I had hoped to be doing. However, the organization is a good one and the more I learn, the interesting a future there becomes.
I often read motivational posts and memes quoting Zig Ziglar and, frankly, I’m about sick of most of them.
- Desire is what takes the hot water of mediocrity and turns it into the steam of outstanding success.
- If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
- You are at the top when: You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present and are optimistic about your future.
- Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
The truth is that I’m not very optimistic by nature. (This surprises many.) By nature, I am not a positive thinker and faced with the adversities of the last several months, I haven’t been a positive thinker in action, either. It’s tougher than a meme makes it sound. Sure, Zig, I was “designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” How is that going to put gas in my car this week or food on my table?
When I am in the grip of fear, negativity, and failure, it is difficult (if not impossible) to raise my head high enough to see down the road. Sometimes, I don’t need to hear about my innate greatness, I need to hear that I can survive today and that my daily survival is good enough. Sometimes, I’m more inspired by “one day at a time” than I am by “you can rule the world.” Then, after awhile of healing, I’m ready to start sowing those seeds of greatness again.
So, my friend, if you are like me and need to take it “one day at a time,” take my hand and we’ll do it together. If you’re sowing the seeds of greatness, then hold out a hand to the rest of us until we are, too.