Enjoy the Challenge...even if you don't get to experience the satisfaction of accomplishement

I don't know about you, but there is something invigorating about a challenge that causes me to seek them out. Sometimes, they find me like when my wife asked me to take part in Mud on the Mountain.


When I accepted the invite to run the race with her and several of our friends, I didn't view it as much more than a fun race that I would have no trouble finishing. I did the quick math:  7 miles (tough), 22 obastacles (fun).  Basically 1 obstacle every third of a mile. I just need to run a third of a mile, wait in line to do the obstacle, do the obstacle, rinse and repeat. I can run around the world if I get to do it a third of a mile at a time -- I run that far out to my car to get samples out of the trunk on a regular basis. 

The Superstorm Sandy decided to throw a wrench in the gears of my plan. Actually, a dozen wrenches in the form 12 inches of snow. It made the course....interesting. 

What I was looking forward to in this experience was the satisfaction of accomplishment. I was looking forward to saying, "I did it," to will my way to completion. After all, isn't most of physical fatigue just a mind game? I was looking forward to telling my body to do what I wanted it to do no matter how loudly it argued back. The challenge would stink, but oh, the glory of the satisfaction of accomplishment would drive me forward!

I never stopped to decide about how I would feel about the whole thing if I didn't finish, but the urgency to make that decision grabbed my calves and wrapped itself around those muscles so tightly that I had to figure out what I was going to do.

As I sat with both legs cramped up, I found that I was about to decide to give up on my reason for doing this whole thing:  to feel the sense of accomplishment for having finished. I smiled as I began to realize I had fun, I tried to do it my way, I hadn't hindered anyone else trying to finish, and that I still had a challenge, that at some point, I can try to conquer again. I had tried to whip Goliath, but he had whipped me.

OK - sales, you ask. What does this have to do with sales?

There are a million accounts out there you want to work with. Many of them you will work hard on, give it your all, and only get half-way before something comes up and takes you out below the knees. You'll try to get up and go out again, but you'll find that the door has closed for sure. You'll have to quit and give up. You can view the whole sales experience as a loss, be bitter, say things you don't mean, make up half-truths to cover your failure, and let the lack of accomplishment's satisfaction cause you to dread the next "insurmountable" process to win the next impossible client your boss is encouraging you to go after.

Or you can know, in being challenged, you learned something(s). You are not bulletproof,but you are tested and tough. You enjoy the game. You can really know how much accomplishment means to you. You can be motivated by the challenge as much as the victory. You are excited about someone else conquering their challenges even while you weren't victorious in yours. You are a fighter. 

Here it is in a nutshell:  Enjoying the glory of accomplishment will help you to push through challenges and win. Enjoying participation in the challenges you enter will cause you to be involved in more of them. When you combine those two things, you'll find you are in many more tough situations and that, in many more of them, you are coming out on top.