There are a million and one tactics and strategies you could employ to achieve success in sales (and in life) and a million and two opinions and obstacles between here and there, so how do you choose what to do and which way
to go?

The prospect of choice leads to inaction and inertia for some people. Simply put, the fear of making the wrong choices can be paralyzing. For others, it creates an analysis spiral fuelled with new perspectives and new paths to consider. And then there are those people who, unfortunately, are ignorant of the fact that all of their actions are choices have consequences and outcomes – these folks plod along in life gob-smacked at the things that happen to them.

In sales and business development, this concept is especially important; when it comes to your interactions with both current and prospective customers, there is always an inherent agenda around trade and commerce that you need to balance with genuine relationship and connection.

There is an old maxim that I have lived by for many years in business: do the right thing for the right reason! It has proven to be a good guide no matter the role or job (the tougher the job and the decisions, the more reliant I have been on this mantra). I was thinking about it this morning because I applied that logic this week to a particular decision I was struggling to make – you know, the everyday things that we either do or don’t do and have to make decisions on all the time. When thinking about how happy I was that I did the right thing for the right reason in this instance, (because I was used to taking the easy road for a whole lot of rational short term reasons) I discovered that there was a useful lesson. The reason that this is such a quandary for most people (including me), is that in the constant hustle of everyday life, the idea of doing the right thing for the right reason is easily brushed under the rug because we are just too busy. As a result, the path of least resistance often wins when it comes to our decision making processes.

We should pause every now and again and intentionally think about why and what we do, and perform a little audit on ourselves. Doing the right thing for the right reason is dynamic because of the power these concepts have in concert with one another. The duality makes it self-governing. Despite the initial challenges and increased work required, you’ll always win in the long term if you adopt this mantra.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”-Theodore Roosevelt

You can pretty easily convince yourself that something is the right thing because it’s self-serving or short-sighted. This is the fast food of decisions. Initially, you’ll feel fine when you make the decision and immediately afterwards there may be no ill effects; however, over the long term you’ll be much worse for wear.

If you focus only on the right reasons, there are a million things that you could do because it is so open ended. Usually, people get rather lost in the intent behind the reason and the options then become dizzying. You will inevitably fall into the place that Roosevelt warns against: indecision.

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

With the right thing, AND the right reason, there is a lot more focus. Despite this clarity, most of us struggle to proceed because this requires a leap on our part – we need to have faith, belief, and trust that in the end there will be a payoff. Usually the right thing and the right reason is more difficult and is therefore the path less taken. We all want immediate satisfaction – we’re human! However, the benefits from doing the right thing for the right reason require consideration of the long game. But here is the thing: the right thing for the right reason often pays off in multiples in unexpected ways that you can’t anticipate at the time that you are required to take an action.

“Do the right thing. It will gratify  some people and astonish the rest.” -Mark Twain

When we can rationally see that the time is worth the effort, why do we take the easy road? There is a very old saying, ‘there is no wrong way to do a right thing.’ We are attracted to the idea of doing the right thing even when it’s hard, but we often feel inadequate. In this case, human emotion prevails over logic. It could be that we’re uncomfortable about whether we can find the way to do the right thing, or it’s not clear to us what the right thing to do is. Sometimes we do the wrong thing because we’re simply ignorant of what the right thing to do is, or we misperceive the situation, or our minds are clouded with greed, anger, or other emotions.

The lesson that I have found to be true over and over again when faced with this struggle is this: take action and be humble. Seriously, don’t over think it. Take every emotion and fear out of the equation. Humility allows you to accept any mistakes and permits you to start over when you fail. It also frees you of the expectation that you should be rewarded for doing the right thing. If you get hung up on that, the ‘fast food of emotions’ will prevent you from seeing the long term picture and benefits. Humility lets you off the hook in the short term…because it’s that damn short term that screws us every time.

Play long, you’ll win all day long and you’ll feel better. Only two things to consider:

1. Do The Right Thing for the Right Reason

2. Be Humble


Written by Anna Foat