[Warning: This may change the way you look at me!] Recently I participated in an “enrollment” for an employee benefit account. I write it that way because for this particular employee group we’re no longer allowed to make presentations. They’re safety agents in one of our local school systems. During weeks when school isn’t in session, they attend mandatory trainings. We can set up a table in a common area and interact with employees as they pass by. There are a few challenges with that, however:
- Most of the employees did not want to be there
- They had an entire day of required training scheduled
- Their breaks were relatively short, and tardiness wasn’t tolerated
Engaging people as they pass by seems like a simple thing. You can call out to passersby, position yourself in a way that makes you visible without blocking their path, and use whatever means at your disposal to draw attention without being obtrusive. Yet, when given the circumstances listed above, employees generally don’t want to stop. They want to get in, get trained, and get out. Thus, we needed eye-appeal, something so compelling they had to stop and take notice. At the suggestion of a home office representative who deals with many Associates in the field, we decided to go with a theme. We chose: “LegalShield – It’s Elementary.”
To sell the theme, my partner and I decided to play up the Sherlock angle. We made signs for our table, and I decked myself out in full Holmes regalia.
Naturally, the outfit generated a LOT of talk. I can’t tell you how many times people called me “Sherlock” over the past two days! That’s okay, though; it’s exactly the effect I wanted. Of course, there were a few more – colorful – comments. One person said, “You have a lot of balls wearing that!” Since we weren’t planning on hitting the putting green, I assume he was complimenting me on my emotional fortitude even while expressing mild shock (and possible disapproval). One woman told me that I must be assured of my masculinity to put on a costume like that. I appreciate that sentiment – although I hope I’m always assured of my masculinity, not just when I put on a costume. However, there was one statement that made me think:
“You couldn’t pay me to do that!”
In that moment, I realized the speaker was right – and that’s a shame. Here’s why.
The Difference between Mediocrity and Mega-Stardom
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone,” says Jeff Olson. I’ve also read the following: “Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them” (author unknown). To achieve different, better results, you need to do things differently, following the pattern of those who already achieved the success you want.
Unfortunately, most people won’t see any appreciable change in their circumstances because they aren’t willing to do things differently. For example, many of the folks milling around the training I attended complained about it being “too expensive” to protect their family with a legal plan. That’s a shame, because our plans cost less than 50 cents a day! What can they do to change their circumstances? Most, if not all of them, wished they could afford more and do more for their families. Many wished they could spend more time with their families. However, because they’re in a system designed to keep them focused on maintaining the status quo, their options are hoping for increased pay, working extra hours, or being promoted to a position that carries a higher salary. Unfortunately, those are things over which they have little control. Yet when presented with an opportunity to make a significant change in their finances, the average person won’t capitalize on it. In essence they say, “You can’t pay me to do that!”
I challenge you to think outside the box of your comfort zone. Success always waits for you out there. Stretch yourself a little, then a little bit more, and keep going until you achieve your goals. You may not want to dress up as a character. However, before dismissing a particular course as something you won’t do, first ask yourself, “Is it hard to do? While it may feel uncomfortable, will it bring me closer to my goals? Do the potential rewards outweigh any ridicule I might experience as a result?” Your honest answers to such a cost/benefit analysis reveal the true value of any proposed action. You may find that the very thing they couldn’t pay you to do may be exactly what you need to get really paid, now and in the future.
Where do you draw a line when it comes to activities that can advance your goals? How do you decide what’s worthwhile? Share your thoughts and tell us your stories below!
P.S. Let me know what you think of the cloak. I made it myself!