I have a quick confession to make...I turn 40 this week. I am continuously reminded that it's kind of a big deal.
That's what I get for marrying a younger woman.
On a related note everyone who likes this post will be cordially invited to my wife's surprise 40th birthday party in a few years. Subscribe to my blog for scheduling and additional updates.
In order to stem the tide of gifts and well wishes I will remain vague about the actual date of my big event. That being said, in the spirit of celebration (maybe a national holiday??) I would like to share 3 of my favorite quotes and talk about how each of them has helped guide my own journey. My goal is to show that these experiences are ones you can identify with, and possibly take some business advice for yourself, as you continue down your own path. I would love to hear some of your stories as well.
That being said, I wouldn't mind a birthday cake like any of these. I am a product of my generation after all.
Let's recap my twenties. Got married. Got a dog. Bought a house. Went back to school and earned a couple of degrees. Started a career. For those keeping score, that was 5 boxes checked off of the American Dream brochure they hand out with your high school diploma. Most of my twenties were spent bouncing from passion to passion, thinking I knew everything, and mostly succeeding in proving myself right.
At least from my point of view.
Here's the commonality I believe all twenty-somethings share, I had THE PLAN. I was putting THE PLAN into action. There was no reason to expect life to deviate from THE PLAN.
Revelation #1: Set clear goals and have THE PLAN for achieving them
Sound familiar? I freely admit this was my mindset going into starting Sales Math last year. I was a smart guy. I had a great idea. I'm sure everything will work out exactly as I imagined.
My thirties. Same loving wife. Bigger house. Introducing Kid 1, Kid 2, and Kid 3. Rapidly advancing banking career. Developing expertise in sales development. Established reputation in sales management.
Doesn't look so bad does it.
And it really wasn't, except guess what? It takes a lot of work to keep THE PLAN on track. Suddenly that which was effortless is taking endless energy. Add in the fact that others on the outside were constantly trying to disrupt THE PLAN, it is easy to see how keeping THE PLAN moving forward could be a daily struggle.
Revelation #2: THE PLAN can change.
Take a look at your own business or career. Did it go even remotely like you thought it would?
Being a business owner can be amazingly, fantastically, frustratingly exhausting.
If we are lucky, things are moving forward so fast that we are forced to re-evaluate our direction from a position of strength. For most of us, crisis is the mother of reflection. The earlier in the process we accept that change is inevitable, the earlier we can begin to seek a forward facing vision.
Revelation #3 THE PLAN should change.
It's one thing to recognize that your business needs to adjust. It's another entirely to embrace it. The value of recognizing that THE PLAN should change is your increased tendency to accept the necessity of it. I spent way too much energy in my late 30's forcing THE PLAN to stay on track , and in the process it became MY PLAN. See the difference.
THE PLAN: Clear about the goal, future thinking, includes the people that matter most, unlimited.
MY PLAN: No clear positive objective, in the moment, about proving others wrong, selfish.
If you find yourself simply throwing punches and none of them are landing, force yourself to have the presence of mind to step back and take a look at what you are actually swinging at. Odds are THE PLAN has become MY PLAN, and your business will be suffering for it.
While fighting through the daily expectations of a business owner or career it's easy to forget what, and who, we are actually here for.
Revelation #4: Surround yourself with the right people.
This should come as no surprise, but not everyone is someone you should trust. There is an old saying, "some people were meant to come into your life, and others were meant to leave it." Like most life lessons I have learned to tell the difference the hard way.
Big admission here, I wouldn't have a business today without the right people around me.
My wife and kids, all of whom are smarter than I am. If I had listened to them Sales Math would be celebrating 5 years, not 1.
My Megamind group, both of whom are better business people than I am.
My first clients, who through their own experiences reinforced the positive belief in the influence I can have.
Do you know anyone who went to college, never changed their major, and ended up doing exactly what they thought they would be and loving it?
Except accountants...you can put your hands down.
Let's bring it all together.
My 20's: Running around with complete confidence because I have THE PLAN.
My 30's: Running around while twisting THE PLAN into MY PLAN, rediscover THE PLAN after stepping back.
My 40's: Running around with complete confidence in THE PLAN because I accept that at 50 (or 40 and 1 day) experience will teach me another lesson.
Revelation #5: Life is nothing more than a continuous culmination of experiences.
The truth is everyone has a story. A path that they are following. This is my experience in a nutshell, and I don't believe it is atypical.
My best business advice is this.
You have a vision for your business. In order to stay true to your beliefs, there are pieces of that vision you will not compromise.
That is the way it should be.
It's up to you to surround yourself with the right people.
It's up to you to learn the rest.
Matt Middendorp is a nationally acclaimed speaker and sales coach with over 20 years of experience turning connections into customers and advocates. In 2013, Matt founded Sales Math, and debuted his “Formula for Success” sales training system to bankers across the country. From the beginning, Matt’s clients have experienced learning that is fun, meaningful, and makes a difference in the real world. Today, Matt’s core philosophies of “Learn Together, Do Together, Grow Together” are taught through in-person coaching, online as part of the Cool Bankers Academy, and by his leadership of the Cool Bankers Club Facebook Group. His clients are making millions based on the confidence and skills gained from learning a sales process tailored to their individual personalities and businesses. For information about training and workshops visit www.Sales-Math.com, call (715) 897-0879, or email Matt personally at [email protected]
And I promise absolutely no spam!