I did a talk yesterday for a group of franchisees and sales people, and it was an interesting exercise for me. While I have done a lot of sales in different industries, their particular type of sales was different than anything I had done myself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have much to share with them based on my experience, but I believe I was incorrect about that after giving the talk and then doing some Q&A with the audience. I did have the luxury of seeing some of the sales training they are offered, and it helped me craft a message that I thought would resonate. Then I remembered, there are core skills in sales that will apply across the board, regardless of industry. This was a good reminder of the Meta Principal strategy I love. Along those same lines, here is one of my favorite quotes from a favorite book of mine is:
From One Thing, Know Ten Thousand Things
In other words, once you figure out how to achieve mastery in one area, you can apply those same principals in any area. This quote by Miyamoto Musashi, a famous Japanese Samurai swordsman really says it all. If I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be this phrase in its Japanese character form. The Book of Five Rings is still considered a must read for businessmen in Japan, along with The Art of War by Sun Tzu despite having been written almost 400 years ago. If you are not familiar with Musashi’s life and story, I highly recommend you read this book. While it is a book sharing the principals of swordsmanship, the meta principals apply to life in general and are excellent guidelines to adhere to. The resounding theme of this blog is just that…finding the essence of things and applying them to all that you do. This is what Meta Principals are, strategies that you can apply anywhere in life. And as the picture accompanying the blog shares, finding those patterns is the essence of wisdom.
If you boil down almost every major world religion the message is the same thing: be a good person. In a nutshell, despite being very oversimplified, this is one of the major messages that the books associated with most religions are trying to tell you. Respect others, treat yourself like someone that matters, do things that help the greater good, and there are a few more that always jump out. These are Meta Principals, and you can take these and apply them to any facet of life and expect to see good results from. In a nice moment of synchronicity, I was reminded of this when preparing for the talk yesterday.
I even went so far as to warn everyone that “what I am about to share with you is not going to be revolutionary or Earth-shattering in any way”. And it is true, the principals I shared that I use for success in sales and in life were as basic as:
–Prepare for the task at hand
–Show up, ready to go
–Share ideas and solutions whenever possible
–Strive to have an excellent grasp of my profession
–Work to understand my competition (in whatever form that takes)
For the franchisees and salespeople, these were takeaways that I explained in detail and showed how I used them to my advantage. This is how I approached my Pro Racquetball career, my Sales and Sales Management positions, and how I conduct myself as a Coach. It all blends together, and the same principals apply in any area. These are my Meta Principals. These are all principals that could be categorized under Self Development in one way or another. To my delight, someone in the crowd even raised their hand and commented on that exact point at the end of my talk. He acknowledged that personal development was something that many people lose sight of as soon as things get busy or stressful. Buying into a franchise and trying to make the business successful is a difficult task, and things like reading to learn new skills, fall by the wayside to things like making payroll. But at what cost? If you had a better knowledge base and understood more things, doesn’t that heighten your chance of finding solutions and making things work? Sounds easy to say, but not so easy to do, I know. But I have been there…
I know from personal experience in my athletic career and in business that a solid game plan for continual self improvement is an absolute must for success. Sometimes we do not have the luxury of a true roadmap to follow, and this is where Meta Principals really kick into play. If you do not have a clearly defined path to walk, you need to close your eyes and trust your principals to guide you. I didn’t have a coach that I worked with to improve from a beginner level racquetball player to a top 20 Pro in the world. But I figured out along the way that I needed to work hard and adhere to the things I saw others do that worked. I wasn’t out to reinvent the game or a new way to swing, I was looking to join the ranks of the best on the planet. So I surrounded myself with as many high level players as I could; I took notes, I asked questions, and I implemented what they shared with me. There were times I needed to backtrack and undo something I had spent a lot of time working on and replace it with a new and more effective skill. But all in all, the path I discovered I was walking was paved with the Meta Principals I was learning along the way.
I am not going to say that I have the roadmap that everyone should follow by any means.
Rather, I am encouraging you to define your own version of the Meta Principals you need to add to your life as guidelines to follow. While I would expect there to be a lot of overlap, certainly you need your own flavor of this to really make it the best fit for you. Only you know what your weak spots are, and what you need to hear on a regular basis to get the most out of yourself. While these Meta Principals are going to be overarching thoughts for most people, certainly dialing it in to be the right version of each for you is key. You can start with my list in the middle of this blog as a beginning point, but you’ll need to refine it for you. The more you use these principals the better you get at polishing and defining them to be what you need. Once you hone in on that, now all you have to do is adhere to them to find success. While that is not easy, I do believe it is that simple.
As with many of the things I write about, this is me speaking from experience and sharing things I learned the hard way. My goal is always to help shorten someone else’s learning curve so they can leapfrog down their own path, and not have to crawl their way forward like I did. Figure things out, keep the stuff that works, discard that which does not. Keep adding until you have what you need. That’s the recipe for success.