About six years ago, I was having coffee with my friend and colleague Daniel Harkavy when the conversation turned to my longtime dream of writing a book.
Knowing I hadn’t settled on a topic yet, Daniel listened to my lack of clarity on the project and then encouraged me to write about three of my passions — honoring members of the U.S. military, coaching high-performing sales leaders and interviewing top-producing sales professionals.
On the drive home, I turned the idea over in my head and the title hit me between the eyes: “White Collar Warrior.” The book would offer lessons for sales professionals from America’s military elite.
With the topic in mind, I was excited to start interviewing former members of the U.S. Special Forces and sales leaders. I couldn’t wait to share their expertise.
But then distraction hit. My coaching career started picking up steam, and I took on additional leadership roles and speaking engagements.
I became so busy working “in” my business that I didn’t have time for anything else.
The book took a backseat.
As a coach, I regularly encourage my clients to take their goals from intention to execution. But a few years ago, I realized that when it came to my goal of writing a book, I wasn’t taking my own advice.
By continually putting off my writing goals, I was creating incongruity — like a doctor who tells patients to make healthy choices but spends his breaks smoking in the parking lot.
So I made a plan to follow through — not only to achieve my goal, but to be a better coach to my clients.
Here’s how I did it, and the steps you can take to tackle the goals looming on your long-term list.
When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to put off your long-term goals — especially the goals that no one knows about.
You can let yourself off the hook and tell yourself that you’ll get to it later, even though you probably never will.
But it’s much more difficult to put off goals when you get other people involved. You realize there are other eyes on you, other minds tracking your progress and other people encouraging you and looking forward to watching you cross the finish line.
That’s why in February 2017, after years of wandering through this writing (and not writing) process, I stood up in front of a room of several dozen mortgage leaders and shared my plans.
I told them that if I didn’t have the book done by the end of the year, they shouldn’t let me back into our group — and I was in charge of the group, so this was a big commitment.
Making that public pronouncement public filled me with eustress — the positive form of stress. I felt energized, invigorated and nervous in the best way.
It gave me the momentum I needed to keep my book moving forward.
As I picked up speed, I started working with my team at Building Champions to focus my ideas for the book. They also helped me land on a coauthor: Bill Blankschaen.
In regular calls with my team, Bill helped me sharpen my ideas and processes. He even flew out to spend a day “vacuuming” my brain to get my thoughts out of my head and onto the page.
So often, we make the mistake of trying to achieve our goals on our own. But no matter what your pride, fear or sense of independence might tell you, getting the right team around you is key to reaching your goals.
Your team can encourage you, hold you accountable and help you brainstorm ideas when you think you’ve hit a wall.
I’d spent years trying to tackle this goal on my own — and I had very little to show for it. But once I got my team around me, things started coming together quickly.
I used to build my work schedule around golfing every Friday.
I would spend the first half of the week super busy with coaching calls, and then I’d kick off my three-day weekend at the golf course. This schedule allowed me to maintain my current clients, but it didn’t give me any room to work toward my professional goals.
I was improving my handicap, but the book wasn’t getting written. I was stealing my better future one round of golf at a time.
We do this to ourselves all the time. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with golf, television, social media or other forms of entertainment. But if you allow them to take priority over your long-term goals, then you’re missing out.
Achieving your goals may take hours of hard work, but it’s the only way to discover the satisfaction and success that can come from achieving what you really want in life. You’ve got to do more than commit to making it happen; you’ve got to make room in your schedule to get it done.
For me, this meant that instead of golfing on Fridays, I started focusing on “White Collar Warrior.”
I would sit down, put on noise-canceling headphones, turn on Baroque music to help myself focus and disable all my social media notifications so I wouldn’t get pulled away every time a little red dot popped up on my screen.
Then, I would force myself to go into thinking mode. I did this over and over — and with the help of my team and my coauthor, it got me there.
Since “White Collar Warrior” has been living in my head for years, it’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be able to hold a physical copy in my hands when it releases in May.
This book will help sales professionals develop the mindset, habits and disciplines to elevate their performance. It will show them how to overcome fear and channel it into productivity, and how to leverage failures for personal growth.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the steps to make it happen.
I know it’s easy to let your long-term goals fall by the wayside. And I know that tackling them might sound like a ton of work. But if I can do it, so can you.
Take your plan public, gather your team and do the work to get it done. Your better future is waiting.
To be the best, you must learn from the best.
Become an elite sales professional by learning proven lessons from the warriors who set the global standard for operational excellence: the American military elite.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with former members of the U.S. Special Forces and leading sales professionals from a variety of industries, “White Collar Warrior” will show you how to elevate your sales performance and become the elite of your industry.