As with much of my business philosophy, my intuitions about sales are formed out of an autodidactic maelstrom of hit and miss, hunt and peck experiences of getting it wrong a lot, till I finally began to get it right. In other words, I generally get good by being bad.
Essentially my approach to life and sales is one of leading from weakness. By radically accepting my personal foibles, character flaws, wounds, emptiness, and inadequacy, I become paradoxically centered, whole, and compelling. My presence becomes a truthful and real thing by its very brokenness.
My doctor tells me bones grow back stronger after healing from a break, and I believe that persuasive sales presence emanates from a worked-through, self-accepting weakness. I’m not saying this approach is for everyone, but it is certainly the source of whatever success I have had as a salesman and as a useful human being.
I was reminded of this recently in a posting by my friend Rev. Stephen Bauman of Christ Church Methodist in NYC. He tells the story of Anna Mary Robertson, who worked as a hired girl on a farm. She met and married a hired hand on the farm named Tom Moses. They moved to a farm of their own and raised ten children. Ann loved to do needle work, but as she became older, her hands stiffened with arthritis. So she decided to try painting and found she could handle the paintbrush more easily. One day an art collector passed through her small town and saw her paintings in a drugstore.
She had been discovered-at seventy-seven years of age. She continued to paint until several months before her death at 101.
Stephen asks, “Why do we have the wonderful paintings by Grandma Moses?” His answer is that Grandma Moses was a crippled old woman whose hands were too stiff to embroider.
In other words, out of her human handicap and frailty came Grandma Moses greatest wholeness and greatness. Her crippledness and arthritis resulted in her success.
Swiss physician and author Paul Tournier says, “Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.”
Thank you, Brother Paul.