It’s the mantra of almost every top Southwestern salesperson out there. We’ve all been told that to reach our goals, we can’t make any excuses—we have to be unconditionally committed. But I AM unconditionally committed, you say. I don’t make excuses, but I still haven’t reached my goals. What gives? The answer is pretty simple: human beings are far too reasonable.
Let me give you an example: let’s say you’re a student in the Southwestern Advantage summer program, and you have a goal of hitting President’s Club in personal sales. It’s 9:36 on Saturday night, and you’re one sale away from reaching your goal, but you have no good prospects in your area who have lights on. In fact, the closest prospect lives a ten-minute drive away, and they might not be up, either. After all, you didn’t set up an appointment with them. What do you do? The reasonable Southwestern salesperson looks at their watch and calls it a day. They didn’t hit their goal, but they had a good reason for not hitting it. I don’t want to make these people mad at me! That could give me really bad PR, and I might get kicked out of my turf. And they’ll probably buy if I stop in at a better time, but there’s no way they’ll buy if I wake them up. What else can I do? And they rationalize away their failure to hit their goal.
That, my friends, it what it means to be reasonable. It means granting a good reason for failure permission to be a suitable substitute for success. Being reasonable is the number one cause of our failure to reach our true potential in work and in life.
And there is a cure. But like most cures, it’s not pleasant—it’s not comfortable. If we really want to succeed, we must embrace the concept of being UNreasonable. To be UNreasonable is to refuse to let a good reason for failure prevent us from achieving success.
So looking at our previous Southwestern example, we saw that the reasonable thing to do is to end the week, failing to hit our goal. What’s the UNreasonable course of action? Well, this is where it gets fun! There are lots of UNreasonable things we can do. One is to go knock on a dark door. Another is to drive to that next prospect ten minutes away. They may not be up, but maybe their neighbors are. We could go to a new area of our Southwestern sales locality and find a family who’s awake. What about going to a convenience store and selling a set of books to the clerk on night shift? Or, we could plan ahead and make sure we have lots of late night appointments, so there’s always someone to go talk to after dark (the best choice!) The possibilities are endless!
If you ever find yourself caught in a situation where the only way out seems to be reasonable, check yourself. Is the reason really valid? Are there any UNreasonable solutions you could try? And don’t forget to fall back on your emotional purpose: is the reason for failing to hit your goal really bigger than your desire to make your purpose a reality? If it’s not, then it’s time to get UNreasonable.