Sometimes, we do not have to look far for inspiring stories. They are right within us. Nothing beats self-motivation, eh?
I have realized it is easy to rejoice and feel thankful when we get what we expect. It is tougher to appreciate what we have when we feel disappointed. I consciously pledged to be grateful for what IS, rather than what isn’t.
One of my bosses who encouraged the habit of self-motivation had a wonderful trick. Whenever we felt bad about an unproductive day or when things did not happen the way we expected, he urged us to think of a particularly tough time when we persisted and emerged successful in spite of things looking uphill. He would sit with us and make us recount that experience in detail and at the end of it, we were energized, convinced we could conquer the world.
He always insisted we bear this in mind – and made us all say it together.
Today, I am glad to say this is a happy habit. Life is not always ideal. But most of the time, we can sail through tough times by recalling an experience or event we overcame. It restores faith in ourselves.
“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm”
I’d like to share one such experience with you, an experience I am grateful for to two bosses – one who encouraged and motivated, and one who left me out in the cold. The funny thing is, I am equally grateful to both!
Inspiring Stories – Stronger than I thought
Years ago (and it seems like another life) I had a boss who was never available in a crisis. I was always puzzled because he was a very nice guy. But in the world of sales, especially office automation, competition was cutthroat and only the fittest survived. Being nice was appreciated, but not the first priority.
On one of my sales calls, I uncovered a huge requirement which eventually went on to be the biggest achievement for the company that year. As the client was a government organization, the process was tedious and lengthy.
Then came the day of the committee meeting, where they would make the decision on who would get the order. Naturally I was nervous, even if I had done everything I could. My competitors and I huddled in the lounge, waiting to be called for the deal breaking Q & A.
As usual, my boss, who should have been with me for the meeting, was “unavailable”. I knew my colleagues felt bad for me. As ridiculous as it sounds, most clients did not take women sales people seriously – always expecting them to be accompanied by a male boss. I had my work cut out. But you know what they say, hard work pays off.
So we waited. I was alone. The others were present in teams. Strangely, I did not feel intimidated. I guess my mind accepted the situation and was ready to face it.
The door opened. Our contact person walked out. We looked at him expectantly. He said the committee would get in touch with us in a couple of days. This was excruciating, as it was a Friday and we knew we’d go crazy waiting till Monday. Still, we had no choice but to accept what he said. Just as we were filing out, he called out to me and asked me to wait. In that moment, my soul smiled. I went back and sat down, and got a few scowls from the guys who were leaving.
Half an hour later, the gentleman came out again and asked me to accompany him to his room. I sat in the chair opposite him, while he scrutinized some papers in the file he had brought with him. Then he looked up and smiled at me. “Congratulations” he said. And turning the file so I could read what he was looking at – I saw, to my stunned surprise, that not only had they decided to place the order with my organization….they had increased the quantity. Of course my eyes filled up, refusing to let me read.
I looked up at him and through the tears, thanked him.
I did not get the order because our prices were cheaper
I did not get the order because our products were the best
I did not get the order because I was clever
I got the order because I built the relationship and nurtured it
I got the order because I did not give up
Because I was honest
Because I did not make any false promises
Because I proved we would follow up and respond promptly
And I was grateful beyond measure for several things
– To my boss, for not being there. If he had been, I wouldn’t have had the experience of facing a tough situation and overcoming it. It made me stronger, it increased my self-confidence.
– For learning another foreign language – my continuous follow up led me to enroll for Spanish classes – I figured if I had to visit the organization thrice a week in the evenings when the Dean was available, I may as well learn a new language. I did. Much to the amusement of the Dean though, since he headed the Department of French.
– For making several lifelong friends
– For a raise in my salary and being transferred to another branch to handle major accounts – this order was a big achievement
– For the overnight respect of my colleagues – who found it amusing that I was allocated the toughest major clients where the company had no presence.
– For the respect of my competitors – one of them even recommended me to their client
– For giving me the courage to approach larger clients – they became my specialty later
– For teaching me to be more tolerant and patient
– For making me believe in myself
By simply being absent and not doing his job, my boss did me the greatest favor that day.
Truly, tough times are learning experiences. And it was entirely up to me to learn from this one.
Today, I believe that everything is possible.
“Don’t fear pressure, for pressure is what turns rough stones into diamonds”
Have you ever been thrown in a situation you did not want to be in, but emerged wiser, stronger and victorious?
Please send me your inspiring stories. I’d love to feature them in a post titled “Inspiring stories: Of courage”
Email me at vidya at vidyasury dot com with your story, a 3-4 line bio and a photo! Thank you!
My great reads of the week:
I am a quote junkie and loved this: 75 Quotes to Inspire and Motivate You to Live Up to Your Potential | Powered by Intuition
Victor writes beautifully on a topic close to my heart: Learning to Be Okay with “What Is” | VictorSchueller.com