This blog is a guest post contributed by Chief Energy Officer and Keynote Speaker Larry Long Jr of LLJR Enterprises.
First off all I just want to say thank-you to the team at Vendasta for inviting me to contribute, it’s an honor and a privilege. To share a little bit of background about myself, after playing baseball at the University of Maryland I attempted unsuccessfully to go pro, attending spring training with the Dodgers and Red Sox. From there I turned to the world of tech sales, where I spent the better part of two decades. Now I support tech sales leaders and reps through coaching, consulting and speaking opportunities.
When it comes to the things that are holding us back in our careers I believe as entrepreneurs and professionals we need to focus on getting back to the basics. We need to retarget our efforts towards intentionality and choice. Are you intentional with everything that you do? Are you making the right choices to get you where you’re aiming professionally and personally?
Here are my top tips for breaking through the things that are holding you back:
1. Action and accountability
This year I started working with a performance coach and it’s been an absolutely game changing experience. As a solopreneur I call the shots but having someone outside of myself that I can turn to for support has been huge for me. I’ve now built in that level of accountability with a partner that helps me stay on task.
When it comes to action, you can have the brightest ideas in the world, but if you don’t take the steps to put it into action, you’re going to have a tough time accomplishing your goals.
Growing up playing team sports, the coach was always fundamental to my progress as an athlete. I would encourage you to invest in yourself and look into bringing a professional coach onto your team to keep you accountable and drive some action towards the goals you’ve set your sights on.
2. Believe in yourself
I know it’s been tough out there. Over the last year and half the world has been going through a pretty chaotic period. We’ve certainly been going through some turbulence but it’s important to have that internal belief of self. Believe in yourself first because if you can’t, then who will?
When I was playing baseball for the University of Maryland we played against a school in Greensboro, North Carolina. Over that weekend, I had struck out over and over again. After the last game I was talking with my Dad over the phone and when he asked how I was feeling, I told him that I felt terrible and that I didn’t belong in division one baseball. My dad hopped through the phone, snatched me up and said: “Boy, you can’t have my name with a stank attitude like that.”
My dad was trying to encourage me to get back to the drawing board, which in baseball is practice. So if you’re not seeing success, I would encourage you to take the opportunity to look in the mirror. Ask yourself how often you’re practicing your craft. Are you a student of whatever your game is? Are you intentional with working and stepping your game up?
My dad was a strong believer in practice, and making sure you’re in the right frame of mind.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.
When I think about the word care, for me, the give a damn factor really comes to mind. Do you give a damn about yourself? Are you taking care of your mind? It’s really tough to pour into someone else’s cup if your cup is empty.
Self-care may seem like an obvious concept, but the key is in the action. What are you doing about it?
Try this self-audit
On a scale of 1-10, give yourself a personal rating. Ask yourself how you are doing in these eight areas. Avoid assigning yourself a seven in any category:
From the list select the top three most important categories to you.
Think about one action item for each that you can do tomorrow to help boost your ratings in these three key categories.
This exercise is about being honest with yourself. One of my clients assigned himself an 8 in the family category and I asked him “What would take you to a 9?” He thought about it and decided that if he spent less time on his phone while he was spending time with his kids that would step his game up to the next level. Really it’s about making sure you’re squeezing every last drop out of those categories in your life that matter most.
I have a seven-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. Listening to the things they dream about, what they want to be when they grow up, it's so inspirational to me. As adults I think we forget to dream.
My father passed away six years ago, and he always wanted to open an academic and athletic centre for youth in Baltimore, Maryland where he grew up. He never got to fulfill that dream, but now I’m putting myself in a position where I can. There were definitely tears in my coaching session when I unpacked and verbalized what I dreamed about. I had put it under lock and key in the back of my head. I didn’t even think it was possible.
To me impossible just means: I. AM. POSSIBLE.
Now I’m on a four year plan to break ground in 2025 on the Shorty Long Academic and Athletic Community Centre.
I encourage you to think about your dreams. What were they 10, 15 even 20 years ago, and where are they now? Think about what you are doing to accomplish those dreams today. Don’t ever stop dreaming.
5. Get electric
You’ve got to bring energy and electricity to whatever it is you’re working towards. You have to be passionate about what you’re selling. Whether it’s a product, service, or simply an idea, work towards being a matchmaker for your offering and what people need, want, dream and desire.
If you’re not passionate about what you do and you’re not having fun doing it, MOVE ON! You only live once and you can’t afford to spend anymore time doing something that you don’t enjoy.
Especially when it comes to the sales reps I support, they’re often working hard, but maybe not towards the things they should be focusing their efforts on. Make sure you’re spending your energy, your time and your effort on things that are moving the needle. Ensure you’re putting your effort at work towards revenue generating activities. There’s a lot of stuff we can do that doesn’t move the ball forward. It might feel good because you’re operating in a safe space but you have to break out of that.
It’s important to tap into the story that we’re telling ourselves. What internal dialogue are you repeating in your head? How can you change that to help you accomplish your goals rather than keep you from actioning on them? It’s the focus of the very first chapter of a new book I’m working on titled: Jolt!
A seemingly insignificant action like a self affirmation can help. Try saying to yourself “I am somebody.” Do it 10 times a night for the next 30 days and check back in with yourself. It might seem simple but I guarantee you it will change your life.
Thanks so much for reading, and as always have a great day, it’s your choice!