The Sweet Smell Of Success

There’s more to following up than you may think!

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

Rarely are our interactions with others a one-time event. It matters not if you work in a for-profit business or a non-profit ministry. It makes no difference if you’re involved in a short-term project or a lifelong career. Followups are a necessary part of staying connected with the people in our lives, and ultimately our success.

Bread Making And The Art Of Following Up 
Handmade bread from scratch is a labor-intensive, time consuming and sometimes frustrating exercise. Measure an ingredient incorrectly, choose a day when the barometric pressure is wrong, use yeast that’s too old, or spend less time kneading than you should, and your loaf of bread will turn into . . . a brick.

But it can also be deeply rewarding. When done right, there is almost nothing that compares to the taste, texture, and aroma, of fresh-baked bread just out of the oven. People may be too busy to stop and smell the roses, but’ll they’ll always stop to smell fresh bread.

There are no shortcuts to making great bread. It takes time and patience to master the craft, but the rewards are undeniable. The same can be said for following up.

Understanding. A good salesperson observes human nature and accepts it. A great salesperson studies human nature and seeks to understand what they observe. They are constantly learning. They adapt their activities and habits based on the knowledge they acquire. Understanding human nature is where it all begins. Without it, following up with leads, prospects, customers or recruits can be frustrating and unrewarding. Every small bump (real or imagined) in the road might be seen as a monumental obstacle and one more reason not to do follow up. In short, it will be a lot more work and a lot less fun.

Most people are busy (just ask them). Their priorities are rarely your priorities. They’re not always available to answer your call or return them. And even if they are, many times they’re distracted, forgetful or disorganized. They may lose your contact information or delete your messages. It happens. It doesn’t mean your followups aren’t working. It’s just human nature.

Philosophy. It’s your understanding and accompanying thoughts that mold and shape your philosophy, or how you see the world around you. The more realistic your thoughts (seeing things as they are), the more well-rounded your philosophy. For example, if your philosophy tells you so, you might start each day expecting that there are people who will answer your call and people who won’t. You’ll accept the fact that some will say “yes”, some will say “no”, some will be kind, and some may even be just plain mean and nasty. This philosophy tells you not only to accept these realities, but why it’s okay to accept them; now that you have a better understanding of human nature. So, no matter the results of your efforts, you remain at peace with them. With the right philosophy guiding you throughout your day, following up is a lot less work and a lot more fun.

As you learn more about human nature your perspective will no doubt change, and so will your philosophy. Understanding the world around you gives you clarity and helps you see things as they really are. A healthy philosophy gives you a view of the bigger picture.

Attitude. Your philosophy determines your attitude. The right attitude inspires you to engage in activity even when you may not see immediate results. It helps you discipline your disappointment when things don’t go your way. Most importantly, its keeps you moving when you need to be moving the most; that is, when the results of that activity have not been made manifest. The wrong attitude discourages you from doing what needs to be done. It will take you in the opposite direction of where you want to go. The right attitude makes it easier to do the things you need to do, despite whatever obstacles you may encounter along the way. Your attitude supported by your philosophy gives you the faith to persevere.

It’s well documented that those who cultivate a positive mindset achieve higher levels of success than those who don’t. You’ll get a greater return on your efforts with the right attitude. This applies to not just following up but in all areas of your life.

Activity. Imagine doing few or none of the things needed to make bread, opening the door to your oven and expecting to see a finished loaf. Maybe you skip a few ingredients in the recipe. Or maybe you mixed the ingredients but didn’t bother to knead the dough. Maybe you did everything right except put the dough in the oven. Pretty absurd, right? And yet, most folks will never do more than a couple of followups before giving up. They stop doing followup activities because they see no results. They don’t realize they may be just one step away from their desired objective. They do the activity inconsistently yet expect consistent results. Their attitude tells them that since there are no results it must not be working, so they stop doing the activity.

It would be naive to expect results without putting in the activity. Don’t be afraid of doing the work. Your activity is the engine which drives you towards your results, fueled by your attitude.

Results. You can’t get here without embracing the previous concepts. At least when it comes to following up. The right activity, motivated by the right attitude, created by a philosophy grounded in understanding, makes great things happen! Your followup results will grow in proportion to your growth in Understanding, Philosophy, Attitude and Activity.

Where are you when it comes to following up? Have you taken the time to become a student of human nature? Have you created a life philosophy that is based on understanding? Are you growing? Is your attitude positive and open to seeing opportunity, or is it negative and closed to all the wondrous things around you? Are you doing the activity you need to do to get the results you want? Or, have you given up because success has not come as quickly as you thought it should? Do you quit after one or two attempts to reach someone, or do you persist?

Your success will ultimately be determined by how willing you are to take on the challenge and grow. So, are you ready to bake some bread?


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