“…his purpose is to balance the equation. My purpose, is to unbalance it.”
– The Oracle to Neo (paraphrased), The Matrix Revolutions (part 3)
In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey tells a story about his daughter and balance. It comes after he discusses the need for balance in life. In a tip-of-the-hat to the kind of seemingly contradictory concepts that make Eastern philosophy paradoxically beautiful and baffling for many Westerners, he concludes his discussion of balance with a caveat about imbalance.
In the story, the younger Covey becomes pregnant and has her first child. In an effort to be true to the principles that she learned from her father, she struggles to maintain balance in her life. For those of you that have had children, you know that this can be an impossible goal. Very young children are by design highly demanding of the time and energy of their caregivers, and when the caregiver is also the parent, then the emotional connection and often sleepless nights of a new parent make these first months in the life of a new child simultaneously blissful and tortuous (hmm, another paradox).
So the young Covey comes to her father, disappointed in her lack of ability to find her balance, and seeking his advice for how to find it again. Here, Mr. Covey, who has no shortage of wisdom, shines with some of the wisest advice one could imagine.
He tells his daughter that balance is a good thing. When life is in balance, then all of the important elements of life are honored and managed well. But sometimes, life gives us special circumstances. Sometimes a project or opportunity comes up that requires full focus and attention for a sustained period of time. Full focus and attention are not incompatible with balance, in fact, quite the contrary. Ultimately, we should strive for full focus and attention in each immediate moment, and balance in the larger schema. However, in some circumstances, full focus and attention for a sustained period of time can be incompatible with balance, and sometimes rejecting balance at these times is exactly the right thing to do.
Having a new child is often not a time for balance. It is a time for sustained, single-minded focus. In this case, balance becomes subservient to immersion in a task so important and consuming that not being in balance is completely appropriate.
So what does all of this have to do with you (the reader), me (the writer) and the sales process (the usual subject of this blog)?
Well, I am not having a child now (neither is my wife;). However, in a session of focused reflection and deliberation facilitated by the confines of a transatlantic flight, I have decided that this summer is a good time for me to accept some imbalance.
I have three major projects on my plate this summer, including the development of my second book on management of the sales organization. Towards the goal of focusing on these key tasks, I have decided to cut out some regular items from my schedule for the next few months. One of them will be the weekly posting of this blog.
I will return to blogging in September. I’ll tell you more about the book then.
In the meantime, please continue to work on a process orientation towards the important things in your life, and at the same time, remember that becoming a slave to a process is not the same as being effective. Meditate on that, and have a great summer.
June 15, 2010
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!