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About 22 years ago, I interviewed for a sales position with Motorola. The regional manager asked me, “What should I do with a sales rep who has a great attitude and a strong work ethic but consistently fails to meet his or her quota?”
I thought for a few seconds, then replied, “You have to let them go. In sales, you either make your numbers or you don’t."
Does that sound cold or harsh to you? It didn’t to the regional manager, or to the sales manager who was also in the meeting. That’s because both of them were held accountable for reaching or exceeding their sales goals—they either succeeded or they failed. (By the way, I got the job.)
Work and life are kind of like sales. You either produce, or you don’t. You hit your goals, or you fall short. Of course, there are always multiple factors involved - your boss, your colleagues, the economy, your family, your health - and the truth is that some really do have it easier than others. I was a psychotherapist for over a decade, so I know that life isn't always fair. But I've also seen how attitude can improve circumstance. Some complain and stay stuck. Others, when faced with the same challenges, do the best they can with what they have—and somehow, things get better.
If you don’t like something, do something about it. If you can’t do anything about it - after all, you can’t control your company or the universe - then accept it for what it is. Drop the excuses and come to terms with your reality. What excuses? Let’s start with the economy, your age, your schedule, your boss, your backstabbing colleague... Excuses might make you feel better in the short term, but they will only increase your misery over time. Excuses alienate those around us and, even worse, they fool us into believing they are true.
If things are tough for you right now, treat yourself with compassion and empathy. Beating up on yourself will only make things worse, and the hole you are in is deep enough already. Get support as fast as you can, and while you’re at it, reach out to someone who can benefit from your support. Find a way to improve your situation. Just don’t make excuses for why you can’t. Leave finding fault and placing blame to the presidential candidates. You need to focus on finding solutions.
—Alan Allard, Career Coach