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A Lifetime of Growth

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I once heard a saying that has always stuck with me, “He died a young man, as he was always a kid at heart.” Read on for a few thoughts on a lifetime of continuous growth and learning.

At Sandler, we ascribe to the selling maxim ABC. That is - Always Be Curious. Curiosity is the driver behind lifetime growth. There is a joke in our industry that when someone says they have 30 years of experience, we ask if what they really mean is 1 year of experience 30 times. Curiosity is the engine of growth – the force behind a continuous and never-ending improvement mindset.

Curiosity is closely related to passion, hope, humility, and relevance. Below, I will dive into each of these independently.

Passion comes with energy—it is accompanied by belief. It walks with authenticity. And authenticity sells. I have often thought, and have frequently said in a selling situation, “We both want the same thing. That’s for you to have the absolute best solution with the greatest payback for your organization –if that's not us, you should look elsewhere.” It’s hard to sell things you do not believe in. If you are passionate that you are the right solution, it will show. It doesn’t need to show in hollering from the rooftops. Rather, the quiet confidence that comes with curiosity and understanding – to really be curious whether we are the best solution with the most significant payback or not. Curiosity comes first, and that often drives passion. Our questions are often more important than our answers.

Hope requires imagination – inspiring a shared vision and curiosity to continue learning and developing. Hope builds a positive gap between where we are and where we want to be. This can provide the motivation to change. Curiosity is the engine that drives execution and confidence. As Bob the Builder said, “Can we build it? Yes, we can!’’ Hope provides motion. It gives a target. It requires actions to be realized. One of the fastest ways to go stale is to give up on your hopes and dreams. I remember an Ann Landers column where a woman was asking for advice about going to college. She said, I am 60 now, and in four years, when I graduate, I will be 64. Ann’s great answer was, “Whether you go to college or not, in four years, you will be 64!” A lifetime of growth includes hopes and dreams to pull you into the future and help you to understand where you need to change and grow to be prepared for the future.

A lifetime of growth is driven by humility. If you feel like you already know everything (which would be a sad existence!), why take the time to learn. One of my long-time clients, Industrial Scientific, has the Mantra, “Be humble, hungry, and smart.” These are not only the keys to a great teammate but the keys to lifetime growth as well. If you are humble and understand that we still have a lot to learn and are humble enough to see different points of view, that provides the foundation for the hunger to grow, and in turn, that growth makes us wise. At least smart enough to understand we never stop learning or growing. In addition, humility is such an attractive quality. Like curiosity, it does not assume we need to be the loudest voice in the room or have the best answers. It allows for voices to be heard—and for people to want to hear.

Relevance is the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate. Now I know you can’t read a blog or an article without someone referencing how much things have changed since the pandemic. And here I am talking about it too. We went virtual. We went hybrid. Supply chain problems. Labor Issues. Interest rates rising. Inflation is the highest in 40 years, and so on. While the fundamental values of what makes us successful rarely change (i.e.curiosity, hope, humility), relevance is the output of a lifetime of growth.

In the last 2 ½ years, I have seen top performers race to the bottom based on a reluctance to change and adapt, and I have witnessed rookies catapult to the top of the ranking. In today’s business climate, we need to be relevant to add real value, drive innovation, and engender trust. The key to that growth is a continuous and never-ending improvement mindset. Learning more about ourselves, our clients, the industries, the market trends, the technologies, the obstacles, and the opportunities makes us part of the solution—not the problem. So, before you go to work—work on yourself and commit to a lifetime of growth.

Download our PDF of The 10 Rules for Lifetime Growth here. (Adapted from Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura's book The Laws of Lifetime Growth.)

John Rosso

CEO and Best Selling Author of "Prospect The Sandler Way"