I have always been fascinated by Hannibal of Carthage. Hannibal was very much a product of a brutal and violent time; nonetheless, his iron determination and strategic brilliance inspires me. For 15 years he fought the Romans on the Italian peninsula in the 2nd Punic War. Rome was in no way guaranteed to win. Had he not been recalled to Carthage, he might have beaten them and the history of western civilization might have been very different.
Hannibal’s people resisted the idea of crossing the Alps with his army and war elephants to attack Rome from the north. “There is no way!” they said.
“We will find a way, or we will make one!”
I keep that motto atop my office white board.
Facing a New Challenge
August in North Texas is mostly about survival. The spring rains are a distant memory, and temperatures soar into triple digits, staying there for a week at a time. Gardeners just try to keep things from dying — forget about harvesting much. Any bounty you bring in during this period is an unexpected miracle. Mid-day is a special challenge when the AC’s run continuously and cars parked outside become sweltering death traps.
This August, however, brought a multiple whammy. Because of a family member’s medical needs, I cannot travel far from home. This is a real problem for someone whose business-building strategies tend to involve physically seeing lots of people either individually or as a group.
I had an equally daunting challenge many years ago when a manager insisted I change my cold prospecting ways. That was the beginning of a journey into relationship marketing that continues to this day. At the time, we did not call it ‘relationship marketing’. That would come much later. I found ways to speak in front of audiences that were full of my prospects. I learned to insinuate myself into groups and mixers. I learned that amazing service with a sound and considered ‘ask’ would lead to continued, referred business. Most importantly, I learned that when you focus on the relationship and service, the business will always follow.
Yeah, I admit I got sloppy and lazy over the years. Good habits are just as easy to lose as they can be hard to acquire. But having done so in the past, I can do it again now that I have this challenge.
Since I can’t travel far, I have to master how to market, prospect, sell, and deliver without doing so. I have to take the same medicine that I’m dispensing to clients and team members: use the tools and circumstances you are given. Find the opportunity where you are to show the world that you know what you are doing; that what you know is useful, interesting, transferable, actionable, and effective; that it matters, and that you care.
I will find a way. Or I will make one.
What kind of challenges are making you redefine who you are and how you show up in the world? I would love to hear your comments.
Michael Stammer is a Sales | Life | Performance coach available for individual and group coaching and speaking to organizations. For more visit www.coachmichael.com
Header photo by Patrice Ouellet used under Creative Commons License. The photographer has a beautiful poem attached to the site with the image