I was watching a television commercial not too long ago, sponsored by a major food processor that said, “Happy cows produce more milk.”
The commercial talked about their California dairy herds being happy and content as the reason they produced a superior product. I believe anyone who is happy and content will produce a superior result. Many years ago, forty-one years ago this Spring to be exact, I learned the importance of finding balance in my life, a balance that allowed me to experience happiness and contentment while generating superior sales success.
I had just joined the M.A. Hanna Company as a junior sales executive. After being welcomed to the Hanna family, my boss, Fred Heller, sat me down and shared some of the wisdom he had gained from twenty years in the sales arena. However, the wisdom he shared with me was not so much about sales as it was about life. Fred explained I would be doing a lot of traveling and he didn’t want a day to pass by without me speaking to my wife and children on the phone if I was away from home. The phone call would be paid for by the company and should never be neglected. He then asked me again to show him pictures of my wife and children.
Fred mentioned weekend travel was not the general policy of the company but there might be an occasion when I would be required to be away from home over a weekend. In the event weekend travel became necessary, my wife was to travel with me. The company would pay for her travel expenses and also for house sitting and the care of the children. He emphasized the importance of family and maintaining a good family relationship. Fred talked about my generous vacation benefit and the option of taking money in lieu of time. He strongly suggested that I never take the money, but spend my vacation time enjoying life with my wife and children. He then went on and explained that my success would directly impact his own success as the senior vice president of sales and marketing. Fred boldly stated that when things go well at home they would also go well at work. What Fred was really saying was, when your life is in balance you will be a more successful salesperson and your life will be happy and content.
At The Business Performance Group we teach our clients to find balance in their lives. This balance is one of the reasons our clients experience significant performance increases. As I learned many years ago from Fred Heller, successful salespeople have found and live balanced lives. We break life into nine categories: 1) Family & Spouse, 2) Mental & Intellectual, 3) Employment & Career, 4) Physical & Health, 5) Financial & Estate, 6) Personal & Recreational, 7) Community & World, 8) Cultural & Social and finally, 9) Spiritual & Emotional. These nine categories comprise all of the areas of life and we need to find balance within each category to enable us to enjoy the success we are seeking in our sales careers.
In an attempt to create a visual representation of our “wheel of life’s balance”, draw a six-inch diameter circle with nine lines, equally spaced, running from the center of the circle to the outer rim. These lines represent the spokes of the wheel. Label each line or spoke of the wheel with the name of one of the categories of the wheel of life’s balance. Now, individually evaluate each category by placing a dot along the line representing your level of satisfaction with that particular category. Think to yourself, “How happy and satisfied am I with what I am doing as compared to what I want to be doing within this area of my life”. Working from the center of the wheel would be zero satisfaction and the outer edge of the wheel would be a ten level of satisfaction. Satisfaction is a relative term relating to you and is not something you compare to someone else. For example, I could rate myself a ten in “community & world” even though I am not actively involved, if being actively involved in my community is not something that I want to do. In other words, I am very satisfied with doing nothing. If I am thirty pounds over weight and I don’t exercise and I really want to be in shape but I am not doing anything about it, I might rate myself a one or a two in terms of my personal satisfaction with that spoke of the wheel.
Once you have evaluated yourself in each of the nine categories, by placing a dot along the line of each spoke of the wheel, connect the dots. Your wheel my have some flat spots. It might look like a star with peaks and valleys. It might be perfectly round but very small. Your wheel might even be as big and round as the template you drew of the wheel of life’s balance. This picture will give you an understanding of the areas of your life that need improvement. By faithfully working to improve your level of personal satisfaction in all nine areas you will discover balance in your life. This balance will allow you to be more successful in your sales career and to find happiness and contentment. Just as happy cows produce more milk, happy salespeople close more sales!