I have a confession. I hate competition.
I’ve never been involved in team sports and I have never enjoyed winning just for the sake of winning.
Ask my husband, I’ll often cheer for the opposing team if I feel like the team I’m supporting is too far ahead (which he hates, by the way!)
This also feeds into not liking to go out and “cold” network. What I mean by that is going into a group of people I don’t know and talking about what I do in the hopes that they’ll be interested in hiring me. Yuck yuck yuck. I’ve been to a zillion sales training classes – hell, I ran some sales training classes when I owned a large company. I hired a sales trainer superstar hoping I’d never have to sell again…
So, how is it that I consistently sold a LOT of work for my former company (Interactive Ink), got into major corporations and government agencies, and I am still in business today after selling that company over 5 years ago?
How is it that I am still successful in an UBER competitive business where there are a million people who do what I do in a 3 block radius?
Authenticity and I love what I “do” for a living.
Someone told me that several years ago when I was lamenting that I kept selling work. I wanted to
do something different at the time – I wanted to stop working and paint and be at home doing domestic things. Every time I sold a big project, it meant I had work to do on the other end namely, strategy, employee management, meetings and client support. And every time I sold a big project, it lead to more interest in doing more work with our company. More meetings, more introductions, more selling. I was stuck in an endless cycle of “success!” I know it sounds ridiculous to complain about selling a lot of work, but I wasn’t conscious of what I was doing so I didn’t have a handle on my life like I wanted. I was working every spare moment I had. And I was burning out fast.
However … I love technology, I love the creative and challenging aspects of hearing someone’s problems and ideas and helping them translate into technology. I “light up” when I know I can help someone and I get super excited about how great they will feel once the project is done!
And that’s why I’m successful – because I love what I do. Not because I know “how” to sell, or I have the right elevator speech, or wear the right clothes.
The only formula I know for “true” success is:
Love what you do + work hard = Success
Once I figured out that I could also add into that equation free time to paint, be at home and bake (and now watch my grand daughter Ruby) – life became much happier. I take a lot of time off for myself. I have to – I have no choice if I want to remain happy and healthy.
Love what you do + work hard + time off* = Happy Success
* Note: Time off means time OFF – no cell phone, iPad, computer. I don’t answer emails, or even listen to phone messages if I’m truly off. I take time to do yoga, meditate, paint, bake, garden and hang out and play with my children and grand child (Ruby).
I am not competitive. I work very well with other freelance designers and web developers. I never make cold calls and I only go to networking events where I know there will be like minded people (mostly women) who are caring, smart and professional. 90% of my work comes to me – I get phone calls and emails from people who met me at some point or were referred to me.
I DO network a lot – I make myself known. I’ve spent a ton of money on networking events, conferences, tables at these events, mastermind groups, ads in Business First, BizTV spots, graphic designers (paying outside people to help me) and coaching (lots of great coaches!) Being “happy successful” is a lot of work and takes a lot of time and money, but MOST of the time it’s fun.
Do you love what you do? Are you competitive? Tell me how YOU are finding success!