Arguably one of the best parts of a sales meeting for us veterans is the opening reception. I sometimes forget how much like a good family reunion it is to re-connect with fellow workers, many of whom I only see once a year.
As I’m getting more sentimental in this midlife the good memories flow. Having been fortunate to be at the same place for many years, unlike many industries where turnover is heavy, my cohorts and I have been together for many years. Yet it is still overwhelming to arrive at the reception area. This year we have reserved an entire sports bar for ourselves. It is difficult to not remember the first such gathering where there were less than 100 people total, now I know less than 1/4 of the crowd.
It is mingling time which for an introvert, that nobody really knows is an introvert, I muster up the energy to go up to people and jump in on conversations. It is really easy with people you know well as they are like family. And that of course is what I seek out first are those old friends. This year, I set my goal to be positive and build up anyone and everyone I would meet.
A group of soldiers heading to the Middle East had received a deserved clap of hands back at the airport as they were heading out to serve our country. I was imagining the same thing as I greeted ‘friend’ after friend that I have known over the years. Although not in the real battle those boys were heading off to, each of us wear our battle scars from years of being in the work trenches. Mutual respect with my fellow survivors of customer blow ups and deals won and lost passed through each handshake and greeting.
As the evening went on we’d dig through the discussions of our favorite sports team and jab each other for the losses or gloat over our teams victories. Of course since today is the casual day I could get away with wearing a super bowl bound Carolina Panthers shirt. It was a tad uncomfortable though as many wore the more traditional suit and tie attire. I guess not everyone finds stuffing the sports coat in the travel bag to be a hassle.
As the evening wound down, 4 hours later and way more tapas’ consumed than I should have consumed, I headed to bed. I look back and realized how many people I knew and had close friendships with. Although we all live 100’s and 1000’s of miles apart and only see each other at most a few times a year the bond was solid. In nearly every conversation, work barely came up. I also met a number of new faces and made a number of new connections.
For me, inside it was a lot of exhausting work talking away, but it felt good getting to share war stories with each other and bond knowing others were in the same boat I’ve been rowing the past year. Now maybe that was me asking all the questions. Or maybe it was because it was the initial meet up and day one excitement. But this Average Joe’s view was all the fear of the social setting, provided fulfillment in knowing, hopefully, I was able to bring a little cheer to people I truly care for.
I recently have been conducting a ‘Work’ and finance seminar at my local church. It has been a great opportunity not to tell people how ‘they’ should act, but to share what I myself know how ‘I’ should act. Upfront and honest I state I had times of doing it wrong, and times of doing it right. The people business is a tough venue, but it is way more than just an act, which is sometimes what a salesman is required to do, if you have the ‘why’ down.
I told one of my work friends about this blog about my side business I have been doing for years that of trying to help people in my church how to be positive in the work place. My friend looked at me incredulously. Reading his mind I said, what better person to help people to not be negative, than someone who has been an expert at it in the work place for many years? I know what I need to do differently to help those that have the natural negative DNA. His response was, that is an amazing idea, I think that should work, I might even read your blog. That was just the boost I needed to keep on plucking at the keyboard.
It has at times been natural, at other times, more work than actually doing what my job is. Without having a quota; spreading concern, kindness and friendship with people who may not know God at all is the most rewarding job anyone can have. I consider my real j-o-b is with the Jesus-Owned-Business. The below message from Paul (in italics) sums up the simple job description. Applying it when participating in those uncomfortable social settings, takes all the pressure off and brings more internal rewards than what reaching a quota provides. The primary motivator comes from the eight words after ‘because’.
Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of His deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. Colossians 3:12 (TLB)