|Play to Win is not a book about selling.
It will not teach how to prospect, how to close, how to leverage, nor will it give the six ways to really impress a client or your boss. And yet, Play to Win is fundamental to the ability to be successful and fulfilled in the career of selling (or in the career of life).
What do I mean? Underneath all the experience and skills garnered over a career in business or selling lies a set of core characteristics that determine whether you’ll be successful and fulfilledor not. They are not taught in most sales trainings or MBA courses because these characteristics are deeply personal. Yet at the same time, we know intuitively that these are the characteristics that make the difference.
The first one is emotional maturity. There are lots of successful, but emotionally immature people. We run into them everyday. The tyrants, the egomaniacs, the emotionally needy. But highly successful and fulfilled people tend to be emotional grown-ups. Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence defined emotional intelligence (another way for saying emotional maturity) as having five components:
- Self-Awarenessbeing aware of your own emotions.
- Managing Emotionsthe ability to appropriately handle and manage those feelings.
- Motivating Ourselvesthe ability to pay attention, delay gratification and stifle impulsiveness.
- Empathythe ability to understand others and recognize emotions in other.
- Handling RelationshipsThe art of building and maintaining relationships
Second, successful and fulfilled individuals are risk takers and risk managers. It doesn’t mean that they are adrenaline-junkies. It means that what might be full of risk to someone else, simply doesn’t hold terror to them. They understand the difference between perceived risk (if I lose this contract I’ll die!!) and actual risk (Climbing Mount Everest, for example). Highly successful and fulfilled individuals tend to understand and manage the largely perceived risks of the personal and interpersonal world that we inhabit better than most. Small example: picking up the phone, calling a client and being told no is seen as not that big of a deal. Losing a big sale is disappointing, an inconvenience, but it is not the end of the life as we know it. Failures, setbacks, wrong turns are all opportunities to learn and to grow as human beings. Therefore, there is little risk in pushing forward and trying new things. Remember, there are a lot of salespeople out there who see their self-worth tied up in whether a client says yes or no. They struggle daily with the risks of being rejected, of being wrong or of failing.
Finally, successful and fulfilled individuals tend to be motivated by the most fundamental questions we can ask ourselves: why am I here and what is my life about? They have purpose and meaning in their work and life. They are not content to simply work their lives away for a paycheck. (Unless the paycheck allows them to do their important work in the rest of their lives) These people are here to make a difference, to serve others, to make the world a better place (even if it’s just the world of their family and friends).
That these three characteristics are fundamental to success and fulfillment (of course, a little luck always helps!) is good news because we can improve on all of them! We are not locked in to some predetermined setting on our who we are thermostat. We can all become more emotionally mature, become better risk takers/risk managers and develop a higher sense of why we are here and what our lives are about.
In essence, that is what Play to Win: Choosing Fear Over Growth in Work and Life is about. Learning how to think differently in order to improve in those three areas. The thinking is different, the tools are simple and the results can be life changing: that’s Play to Win.