tv controls
tv logo
tv power
tv channel
tv brightness
tv color
tv top
blog logo
tv shell top
tv black screen

Four-Armed Martians and the Secret to Life

(Note: This is the third in a series of Blogmaster 2000 posts about  four-armed Martians in which I don’t actually discuss anything that is truly useful with regard to Martians, or even mention them at all.)

People often ask me, “Ben, what is your secret to life? To living successfully?” And of course I tell them that it is all about the Benjamins. Or at least one Benjamin, and that one being me.

Ok, so that may or may not be true (it’s not true, no one has actually ever asked me anything remotely like that), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion on it. In fact, if you knew me better (and why wouldn’t you want that), you would know that one of my favorite past times is developing random opinions on the fly about most anything that is in front of me. Given the right situation I could build a pretty solid opinion about coffee, even though I don’t drink coffee and have no understanding of the draw, outside of the caffeine.

Truthfully, my biggest problem I have with coffee is how it got here from there. I mean, how do you go from the stuff that Cowboys used to whip up in an old tin pot over a camp fire in dirty water with some poorly ground beans filtered through an old sock that was intended to kill the taste of impending stomach viruses all the way to a tiny delicate child size tea cup filled with a thick viscous Foulgers flavored gravy and a 10 dollar receipt.

Anyway, back to the point: “Ben, what is your secret to life?”

That is a great question and it is something that I have given a lot of thought to in short bursts over the years. I think my philosophy on this really crystallized when I was running a large sales team at MarketStar Corp as a vendor employ of Microsoft. At one point my organization under me was about 70 heads. (Yes, I am bragging – and I was awesome and well beloved by both employees and clients. Feel free to ask them, just let me know first so that I can coach them on what to say.)

The org that I managed, at its peak, covered entry level customer service reps, mid-level client account managers, and in field account managers, so there was quite a diversity of experience that I and my team leads had to manage on a daily basis. And we had to provide a professional philosophy that was as valid to the young guy just out of college as it was to the 20 year journey man veteran that knew the ropes and just wanted to be cut loose so he could chase his goals with as little interference as possible.

And this philosophy needed to resonate with us too. It couldn’t just be lip service that didn’t apply to management.

What we came up with, and really it is nothing new or secret, was very common sense, and once I finally sat down and was able to articulate it, I realized it was something that I had always followed in my own life sub-consciously. It boiled down to 3 very simple things, and none of them should be surprising.

Work Hard – My Dad believed in the pure value of hard work all of his life. Any other type of success was secondary to how hard you worked to achieve it. A job well done was more important to him than a job over paid. After he retired from the daily work force and moved to Florida to live out his days in sun and golf links, he would go down to job service and sign up for day labor jobs, just to be working. He also worked as a driver for Wheels on Meals, and won awards for his work with the St Petersburg Times cleaning up and refurbishing their Newspaper vending boxes. I always knew that for him, regardless of whatever job I would have the effort that I would put into it was always more important.

Be Bold – This has always been very important to me, because I truly believe the best way forward is to close your eyes and jump. Wonderful opportunities can present themselves when you metaphorically step in front of an oncoming train. And specific to the sales team, it cannot be overstated the importance of going on the offensive. The client knows you want him to buy from you, you know you want him to buy from you – not asking is only keeping him from buying. Be bold and take chances, people will appreciate the initiative that you take, not only for yourself, but also for them.

Have Fun – I cannot over emphasize the importance of having fun. And not just for you. One of our main goals at our agency is to make sure that it is fun, environmentally as well as culturally. We take time each day to laugh and joke. We strive to create a professional atmosphere where laughing and making others laugh is rewarded. Fun has the unique ability of pulling others into your slip-stream and there is an infectious quality to it that cannot be ignored. Clients are more relaxed, employees are more energized, and bosses are less detached. I am not saying that it is all giggles and practical jokes, but that doesn’t mean that there is no time to take a moment and comment on the ludicrousness of the world that we have evolved over the last thousands of years and now labor in.

Like I said, the philosophy isn’t earth shattering, but it is something I believe in deeply. The best part is that I have lucked out in working with good friends that have pretty much the same outlook on these things that I do, and that makes for a professional experience that would be hard to ever leave.

It also explains how to brew a great cup of coffee. If you’re into that kind of thing.