student driverSweaty palms.

Rapid breathing.

Nervous chatter.


No, I’m not writing a romance novel. I’m recalling what it feels like to do something ‘new’.

Last week, our youngest child, Jenna, got her learning permit for driving a vehicle.  As I sat in the passenger seat with her at the wheel the first few times, I observed the behaviors listed above. As Jenna kept apologizing for her mistakes and I observed her focusing SO hard on what she was doing, it brought back memories of a younger me.

When I started in sales, EVERY sales call was like that. I was nervous, jittery, unpolished and I made mistakes!  I didn’t want to do those things, but I did. I wanted to be like the successful professionals I observed right away. It was frustrating to not do something well right away.

Looking back now, I realize that this was a stage I needed to go through. To become proficient -and then excel, I had to build my success habits.  I had to work through the stages to build these habits.

Awareness – I needed to know what to do – what worked and what didn’t.

Assessment – the opportunity and openness to critique and feedback on how well I was doing each part of sales.

Application – action! I couldn’t get better at selling if I wasn’t selling. Sitting in my office and not picking up the phone or making calls was holding me back.

Adoption – Learning what worked or didn’t and making the right actions part of my subconscious activities. making them a part of who i was – or better yet adapting the best practices in a way that let me be a ‘better’ me.

In our state of Wisconsin, Jenna has six months to perfect her driving skills and earn the right to drive without me (or her Dad) observing and correcting and monitoring.

In sales, my observation is that the BEST and top performers are on a continuous loop of improvement. they continually move through the four actions of awareness, assessment, application and adoption.

In our training workshops, the top performers do not generally sit back with their arms crossed and ignore the tools, ideas and opportunity to learn from others. They are actively engaged and look for ANYTHING that they can do better. This is how they perform best each year, why the economic conditions don’t impact them as much and is who they are in and outside of work.

What about you? Remember being new and striving to get better?  How it felt when you became proficient and successful?

If you haven’t felt nervous, had sweaty palms or been uncertain about your actions lately, maybe you are in a rut and need to bring the ‘newness’ back to your career again. Try something new, contact someone you know you should or dreamed you should, and stretch your possibilities and opportunities.