When I was in college, a friend of mine introduced me to the music of The Guess Who. A band from Canada that had a couple of mega hits that were more of the “Soft rock” genre. What I found was that they were quite a rebellious and rowdy bunch on stage. The almost twenty minute version of American Woman they used to play in concert was incredible. Over the next 10 years or so I attended many of their shows…some of my favorite songs were ones that never hit the radio. My Own Way To Rock was one of those songs.As I got older and into business the title of this song gained a lot of meaning to me.
Early in my career I was selling radio advertising for a station in Lansing Michigan. I was having moderate success when one year we went to our yearly sales training. The guest sales guru flavor of the year was a gentleman by the name of Jim Williams. If I remember correctly, he was from Oklahoma and he was an “In your face, HARD SELL” person. For three days we were taught how to get bigger orders and close more sales. Alas, it was almost the end of my radio career.
When we got back to our hometowns, we had to adopt this new style, which was the antithesis of my style. I tried, and quickly my sales were dropping like a lead balloon. My customers were not granting me appointments and my sales had tanked. I actually had one client request a different rep, and I had a good relationship with him up to that time. I was looking for different avenues for my future, it was that bad. I had a mortgage on a home in Detroit, I was paying rent on a home in Mason, Michigan and I was a brand new father with a four month old son.
Early in November of that year my boss, Chuck Mefford, invited me into his office. Now you never want to be invited into the BIG guy’s office, especially when you are not even close to your sales budget, I was nervous. Instead he offered me advice, three words that would resonate through my entire business career. JUST BE YOURSELF That was it, just be yourself. I had tried so hard to adopt and adapt that I was somebody that nobody knew.
From that day forward I learned to take what I was taught and adapt to my style or personality. Fortunately for me my career blossomed from that time forward. I continued on that path for many years, learn, adopt and be yourself. No matter what I learned form the guru’s over the years, I had to put it into my own way of doing things. I always worked with a lot of enthusiasm and love for what I was doing, so that was easy to incorporate.
One of the things I see today, in my life of training, are people that forget who they are. They forget to let themselves be a part of the process. If you have the basic qualities of a business person, then letting your own style show is not a problem. What is a problem is when you try to be somebody that you are not. When you try to take on somebody else’s personality or style because you think it is more effective than your own. The only thing that happens is you create a bad replica of someone else. So take a lesson from The Guess Who, and take the motto, My Own Way To Rock….and if you work hard, stay focused and enjoy the process…you may end up like another of their not so famous hits that I love, a Star Baby!
Enjoy the week and inspire others!!!