Do You Ever Really Graduate?

OpportunityfilmIn this month’s NOtivational Article, we share pieces from three wonderful commencement speeches because let’s fact it: when it comes to developing yourself – you never really graduate. You always need the reminders, reinforcement and inspiration to continue to go after what you want.

We highly recommend you go watch the entire presentation online because these pieces, as great as they are – don’t do the whole speech justice.

“I didn’t get the job. But here’s the thing, I didn’t quit. I didn’t fall back. I walked out of there to prepare for the next audition, and the next audition, and the next audition. I prayed and I prayed, but I continued to fail, and I failed, and failed but it didn’t matter because you know what? There’s an old saying, you hang around a barbershop long enough, sooner or later you will get a haircut. You will catch a break.

Last year I did a play called Fences on Broadway and I won a Tony Award. And I didn’t have to sing, by the way. And here’s the kicker, it was at the Court Theater; it was at the same theater where I failed that first audition thirty years prior. The point is, and I’ll pick up the pace, every graduate here today has the training and the talent to succeed but do you have guts to fail?”

Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania 2011

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

J.K. Rowling, Harvard, 2008

“But the only failure is the failure to rescue something. I took away ideas and experiences and relationships with people that profoundly changed what I was able to do when I finally found the place that was for me, which was in medicine.

So you will take risks, and you will have failures. But it’s what happens afterwards that is defining. A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it—Will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right?—because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks. It’s about mastery of rescue.”

Atul Gawande, Williams

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Believe It Can be You

GFN-WonderWomanRight now someone is doing exactly what you want.

Instead of being worried that someone might tell then “NO” and instead of letting failure stop them (notice I didn’t say this person is not afraid of these things) someone is living the life you want. They are doing what you want to do.

They are in the type of business you want. They are buying the things you want to buy. They are helping the causes you want to help.

Do you know who this person is?

Someone just like you! The same height… the same weight… the same hair color. Someone with the same fears and apprehensions. The only difference is that they have summoned the courage and mastered the ability to act in the face of fear, to stumble and ‘flee forward’ while everyone else is sitting back and waiting.

Including you, perhaps?

This very minute you have a choice.  Can you believe that it can be you? Commit this quote to memory:
Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it. – Diane Sawyer

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

Favorite Quotes About Failure

Feeling low about a recent failure? It’s natural, but make no mistake – failure is an integral part to achieving success. TGFN-FailureQuoteshat said, here are our favorite quotes about failure to keep you going!

Our Favorite Failure Quotes from Richard & Andrea of Go for No! 

“Fail. Fail again. Fail better. Keep failing and before you know it, you’ll be exactly where you want to be. At the top!”
– Barbara Corcoran

“The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of okay. I recovered quickly. Number four almost didn’t fail. It still didn’t really feel great, but it did okay. Number five was PayPal.”
– Max Levchin, former CTO of PayPal

“People tend to think the world is conspiring against you when you fail… People don’t realize you are born to fail and born to get up. It is the goal of every spiritual being to try to live as big a life as possible; to love as much as possible; to give as much as possible, and fail as often as possible.”
– Gary Keller

“There is something good in all seeming failures. You are not to see that now. Time will reveal it. Be patient.”
– Sivananda Saraswati

“My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. It is liberating.”
 – Sara Blakely

“Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.”
– Thomas J. Watson

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
– JK Rowling (Harvard Commencement Address)

“If I fail more than you do, I win.”
– Seth Godin

“I would rather attempt to do something great and fail, than attempt to do nothing and succeed.”
– Robert Schuller

“Your failures are what make your story extraordinary.”
– Fenton & Waltz 

Is NO Negative? Only if you…

B002WXFK58There’s a scene in the Go for No movie with Art Jonak who is talking about the feelings people have about the word “NO.” In it, Art says, “From a very early age, we’re programmed with “No” being negative. Is it negative? Hey, it’s just the way we’ve been programmed, right?”

We couldn’t agree more. And yet, almost nowhere do we see push back to this idea than with our book title, Go for No! Just recently I was told that a person with responsibility over a large organization for sales and development that he didn’t like the title Go for No! because it’s negative.

Well, okay. If something is negative, and you don’t want to deal with it, perhaps you can just…

  • Ignore it and pretend that NO’s don’t exist. (We’ve tried this actually and it didn’t work).

This is a recipe for mediocre performance if not disaster. Pretending that there isn’t “rejection” and “failure” and NO’s out there in the world is like deciding you don’t need flood insurance when you live near the river. Just ignore it and it won’t happen. Well, you KNOW all those NO’s are out there. And ignoring it just gives it power and makes people deathly afraid of getting no’s. This tendency to protect and pretend, is not about thinking “positive” or “negative” – it’s about understanding the truth and empowering yourself with strength and courage – not fear and hopelessness.

Or you can…

  • Make “NO”positive. Accept the NO’s – invite them and become empowered. It’s pretty simple: Go for No! When you ‘go for no’ the yeses will show up your door often in greater quantities than you ever imagined.

Which sounds better to you?

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW (Updated from a 2010 original post.)

Chinese Food, Fear of Rejection, and Bathing

You know that old saying that motivation is like Chinese food? It’s great, but a couple hours later you’re hungry again.

Zig Ziglar had the perfect comeback to this: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

When it comes to overcoming fear of rejection, it must become a daily ritual in order to truly change how you react. (Not to mention to start getting better results.)

Unfortunately too many people – because of fear – put off making calls for days and weeks and then end up trying to spend 12 hours in one day trying to make up for lost time.  And that never happens! Plus, it does absolutely nothing to help with fear.  That’s like trying to go to the dentist and get a teeth cleaning that takes all day so that you don’t have to go back for five years.

The answer of course, is to do a little each day.

If you have fear and anxiety about making calls, break it into small pieces.

  • Day one should be spent gathering the names and numbers of the three people you want to call. That’s it.
  • Day two, make your first call. No matter the outcome, celebrate your activity.
  • Day three, make one or two more to the next people on your list.

Doing a little bit each day slowly reduces the fear, adds confidence, and solidifies a habit.

So back to food for a moment. Big meals are great (especially Chinese!) but when it comes to truly overcoming fear – just like in dieting, it is done much more successfully by eating many small meals throughout the day.

Hope this helps. Still feeling like you can’t get past your fears?

Maybe you’re too focused on what other people think? Maybe? Read this post: Stop Letting What Others Think Rule Your Life.

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW (Updated from a 2012 original post.)

Can You Be Too Emotional?

GFN-PersistencerequiresIn his book, “How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling,” Frank Bettger wrote: “I firmly believe enthusiasm is by far the biggest single factor in successful selling.”

Enthusiasm is one thing and you better have it. That said, what about when your emotions get completely tied up in the sale… or non-sale?

Granted, sales means money. And money is an emotional thing – it makes or breaks survival and defines lifestyle. So we can’t help but allow our feelings get in the way when it comes to sales.  And yet, to be effective in virtually any endeavor, including sales, it is good to have less passion regarding the outcome of the situation. Not zero passion… but probably less passion than you’re experiencing currently.

Consider how a doctor must remain unemotional and somewhat dispassionate.  It’s not that doctors are completely uncaring. Certainly if they are doing surgery – they care about the outcome, they care about the patient, but make no mistake: a certain amount of DETACHMENT is required to be effective.  In fact, it is common practice not have doctors operate on relatives and loved ones. Why? Because they are too close, too emotional, to remain detached enough to do the job efficiently.

And the same is true for us as sellers, too.   Our attachment to the outcome, tend to make us less effective.  For example when it comes to selling, the ultimate place you can get to is where the words YES and NO contain the same emotional charge.   And this means being more dispassionate when it comes to selling your product, service, opportunity, and even yourself.

There is no denying that there is some part of us that will always be happier when we hear ‘yes.’  After all, we’re human!   We will never be able to be totally dispassionate about some outcomes.    But the goal is clearly to reach a point where the difference between the elation of hearing ‘YES’ and the deflation of hearing NO is minimized… even if it can’t be eliminated entirely.

Anyone can be happy and positive when things are going their way.   That’s easy!   The question is:  What is your attitude… how do you respond… when the going gets tough?   When things do not go the way you’d like?

In poker, for example, players call a few bad hands “going on tilt.”  Players are in control when they’re playing well and luck is with them. The question is, how well can they play and control their emotions when things aren’t going their way.   Can they avoid going on tilt?  The question is, when things don’t go your way… especially for extended periods of time… can you keep yourself from GOING ON TILT?

A few years ago the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.   What makes this noteworthy is the performance of Cardinal shortstop David Eckstein.   In his first 11 plate appearances, Eckstein went 0-11.   He didn’t get his first hit until late in the third game.   But, then he got 8 hits in his next 11 at bats – ending up 8 for 22 with a .364 batting average and being named series MVP.    Even when things looked bad… were bad… Eckstein managed to keep his emotional in check and not go on tilt.

If you allow your successes … your yeses… to define your self-esteem… or to allow each result, each piece of good or bad news, to influence your thoughts and actions… life will become an emotional roller coaster ride with serious ups and downs that over time will drive you into a downward spiral of thoughts and actions.   And it’s a very difficult cycle to get out of.

To be effective you must learn to separate yourself from what other people think and say and decide regarding your product or service… but to do so without becoming cold and nonchalant toward them.   This is of course easier said than done.

Ironically, one of the side benefits of selling with less emotion is that others are actually drawn to us by our perceived lack of concern about the outcome. Too much emotion comes across as desperation.  And customers don’t see desperation as a good sign. It does not instill a level of confidence in you or in the product. Ironically that causes the customer to back away and you lose the sale.

So get excited about your mission, about your product, and about LIFE. Let that come through. But when it comes to the excitement regarding the customer’s decision… that is when you need to relax and let the “chips fall” where they may.

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW (Updated from a 2012 original post.)

Requiring Everything be Perfect Before You Start Selling

SamLevensonIt was late Monday afternoon after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and I limped my way into the Emergency Room at Florida Hospital with Richard by my side. A few tests later, I was being wheeled into surgery for an appendectomy.

“So how are you doing?” the surgeon asked me when he walked into the pre-op room.

“Forget about me, how are you doing? Feeling up to this?” I asked. My surgeon chuckled, “yeah I’m good.”
Before I walked in that afternoon, I’m guessing my surgeon was thinking he was going to go home, enjoy dinner and relax. Nope.  Or maybe he needed to get back to his office, check emails, return patient calls, or fill out paperwork from an overflowing inbox.
I have no idea the conditions that this surgeon found himself – but this was an emergency so he was doing this surgery. And quite frankly, while all that stuff is really important, he’s a surgeon. This is what it’s all about, right?  It really does not matter that everything in this man’s life and practice be ideal and ‘perfect’ before he takes out my appendix.
What does all this have to do with you?  I bring this up because more entrepreneurs and salespeople need to be ‘operating’ this way. Because I’ve noticed for many people, when it comes to selling, the conditions around them must be perfect to begin.  The problem, of course, is that rarely can we get all our conditions met:
Clean desk.
Empty in-box.
To do list checked off.
Social media all updated.
Think again.
Trying to ensure that everything is in perfect order before you start selling is the fastest way to never start selling.
So what’s the answer? Mark Cuban has been quoted as saying, Sales Cure All.
My advice – and what I’ve learned to do is to turn off your awareness to all of it and focus. Get rid of this notion that everything must be ‘perfect’ for you to engage in the most fundamental and critical of all business tasks: selling.
All the stuff you want to handle will be there later. And when you start selling, some of those pesky issues you feel you need to handle now will be handled by bringing in more revenue. I’ve done sales and marketing with a clean desk and a messy one and I don’t recall the clean one ever getting me better results!
Ask yourself, what conditions do you find yourself insisting be met before you start on sales and business building activities?
Be like my surgeon was that day and just get focused on handling your most critical tasks… like sales. Before it really is an emergency.
I originally wrote this for our monthly NOtivational ezine.

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

An Obvious Yet Powerful Business Building Mantra

Richard tells a great story about his fleet sales legend father, Don Fenton to whom we dedicated our book, Go for No! The story goes…GFN-Unseen-FINAL

“When I first started in the car business, I noticed that my father had a piece of masking tape stuck to the back of his telephone receiver. On it, he had written three words:  Unseen. Untold. Unsold.

Being new to the business I asked my dad what it meant. He said, “Selling is nothing more than telling your story to as many people as you can… as fast as you can. If the prospect remains unseen and untold… they will forever remain unsold.”

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

When you get back to most basic elements of your business, this is what it is all about.

Unseen. Untold. Unsold.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer. Prefer the audio version, listen to our books on Audible!

Top 3 Reasons People are Destroyed by Rejection

0001-85616748The top 3 reasons people are destroyed by rejection are pretty simple.

  1. They take ‘no’ personally and feel bad, which then causes them to slow down or stop and give up altogether.
  2. They don’t know what to do or what to say after getting a ‘no’ from someone.
  3. They assume that ‘no’ means never so they spend a lot of time that never pays off in the end.

People can be dealing with one or all three of these issues. To learn more about how to deal with these three challenges, please check out the following additional posts:

Are You Handling No Well?

Persistence Requires You Be Creative

The Ideal Time to be Rejected

Fixing Lazy Follow Up

Have you read the book, Go for No! yet? Grab it on Amazon here or visit our store.
Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

Opportunity May Knock (and Say NO!)

GFN-breakfastspreadAround 2005, after help from an agent, we had a very close call with a book publisher – a REALLY big one in NYC. A BIG ONE! They were literally about to sign us and our book, “Go for No!”

In fact, we expected an offer to be faxed over with a day or two. However… they had just a couple more questions for us – how big was our “platform” and how big were our audiences, and oh yes — how many books would we buy?… well, back then even though we had sold somewhere around 30,000 copies of the book, it wasn’t quite good enough and at that time we still weren’t quite “big” enough for them to take the risk on us. So they passed.

That was a BIG NO! We were pretty disappointed but we did not give up on our mission to spread the power of NO!

Now as it turns out, this was just the beginning for our little book.

Because although it took another 5 years, we made it to #1 on the Amazon best seller list (in the Sales & Selling niche) on December 31st, 2010 and have hovered on the list in the top 10 for the last six years. And as of now, early 2016, we have over  300,000 copies in print and multiple foreign language translations.  It was through the support and encouragement of some key people + fantastic word of mouth + relentlessly getting known and getting the word out.

Contrary to what you’ve heard, opportunity does not knock. YOU knock… and opportunity answers. Unfortunately, it often says, “NO!” Don’t give up.

Don’t let those NO’s – even the “BIG” ones, deter you from doing what you believe you were meant to do!

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

Have you read Go for No! yet? Pick it up at our store here or on Amazon if you prefer. Prefer the audio version, listen to our books on Audible!