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Succeed to the Finish Line



If you’re nostalgic like I am, finding a piece of memorabilia is like discovering hidden treasure. As the years go by, stray papers long forgotten may find a value and meaning that they didn’t have before, even when they were brand new. My own gem from yesteryear was found in a stack of old papers that might just as easily have been thrown away. The fact that it stood the test of time makes for a fun memory, as well as a great lesson for this column.

The paper I found featured the results from a high-school track meet I competed in. It is dated May 1982, and what makes it even more rare and special is that many of my lifelong friends also participated in the various events that day. To our credit, we were each individual winners and our school also won this particular track meet.

When I forwarded the results sheet to friends, my favorite response was that “we should assemble everyone from that day the next time we are together and see what 34 years has done to our times.” Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my days of competitive athletics ended many years ago. But that’s not to say I would shy away from having that old-timers’ reunion on the track field. Why do I say that?

Fortunately, being successful at sales is different from track competition during which speed and stamina means everything, and even a fraction of a second is the difference between winning and losing. You see, while I may have lost a few seconds off my best race time over the years, I have more than compensated for that with experience and the wisdom that comes with it. In sales, that translates into confidence, a key measure of success. Other benefits of experience are to always come prepared, to follow a proven process while selling and to use a well-developed sense of judgment about when to act.

In the end, like a fine athlete, you will remain successful if you stay in shape and follow best practices learned over the years. You’ll know you are developing this wisdom when any of this even matters to you.

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