This past week has been one of the more difficult weeks for all of us. I have reached out to my kids who live in other states much more than normal. My wife and I are spending time together without the consumption of stuff or doing, but just to enjoy each other’s company. I’ve also found myself feeling a whole series of emotions as I help deal with customer issues that quickly evolve into personal conversations.
It’s in times like this that you can’t help but feel vulnerable. If you know me personally, you might wonder how can that be because you think, “Mark you’re always so optimistic.” Yes, I do view myself as an optimist. I owe it to my father for passing on that great quality.
Growing up, I saw him face significant challenges. My family did not view ourselves as poor, just economically gifted. Over the years, I watched him handle that and his own major health issues with an amazing level of optimism. Regardless of the bad news shared by his doctors or the pain it brought, he never failed to see the bright side.
One particular time stands out to me as I fondly remember him and his life- he was recovering from another battle with cancer. Although his mobility going forward would be limited, he viewed it with great confidence. He never viewed his limited mobility as an inconvenience; he saw it as something to master. Every physical setback, he viewed as an opportunity to find new ways to deal with the basics- ones you and I take for granted. His outlook never wavered, he never once complained and most of all, he never once stopped going out of his way to help others.
The impact my father had on others never ceased to amaze me. No matter what, he always had time for whoever was on the phone or whoever wanted to meet. His face always beamed with a smile even when his body was writhing in pain. Yes, as I look back, I believe that helping others was in his DNA; however, I firmly believe it was all about him not looking at his own situation. This has taught me that the best way to respond in tough times is by reaching out and helping others.
So, the situation we’re in is not permanent, and if there’s one thing I’ve figured out, permanent is never permanent. Just when we think things can’t or will not change, they do. Certainly, a few months ago, none of us thought we would be in the current situation, but we are. None of us can change what is happening in the world, but we can change how we respond to it.
I believe that our greatest opportunities only lie ahead of us- in the days, months, and years to come. My father never stopped moving forward; he was driven by his optimism and anchored in his faith. I’m thankful I learned to embrace his optimism and am grounded in my faith. It’s in times like this that those assets are priceless.
When your phone rings or an email arrives, and the person on the other end is looking for assistance or just an ear to listen, stop and make time for them. We are a community, and we are at our best when we support one another. Our support for others is not to be given in exchange for something else. No, you do it out of your love for the other person.
Our best days are in front of us. Yes, there are challenges on the path. There are tough decisions to make. But life is full of detours… always. I thank God I didn’t know all this was coming! Can you imagine how much more stress and anxiety there would have been, or how much more toilet paper we would have stockpiled?
Our best response is to relax and to be present for the other person whoever it might be. It may be a customer, or a peer, or even a competitor. The business of business begins with people. Life is people, life is community. We will get through this; we always do. Although none of us are old enough to remember World War II, there were many dark days when things didn’t appear like they would work out, yet they did. Out of WWII came the greatest period of economic growth the US has ever seen. I believe the same will happen this time, and not just for the US but for the world.
No matter what challenge my father faced, he never ran from it. He would run to it, and with gusto and excitement to always find a solution. He was the master at finding alternative solutions. Once, when his doctor told him he was too weak to work, he worked around it by sneaking out to his car to take naps during the day. To him, obstacles did not exist. Obstacles were only an invitation to find a new solution. It’s our duty to tackle each challenge in the same manner.
This is the time to find solutions, not just for ourselves but for our customers, our co-workers and our friends. This is our time to be the person we’ve been called to be: a servant. May we pray we never face a situation like this again; but if we do, let’s face it with the memory of working through this experience. Life is good. It always has been, and it always will be when we choose to make it not about ourselves but about helping others. Each and every day, let’s impact others to help make them stronger.
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.