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  • Jerry Phillips

The joy of being three

My oldest grandson turned three last week. We celebrated his birthday on his actual birthday, then had a party for him on Saturday. He loves parties, and as a toddler, he loves the attention. There is nothing better than the look of sheer joy on his face when he hears you singing happy birthday to him. And we sang it multiple times.

He has a strong network of love that surrounds him. He has his immediate family, extended family, and a wonderful, very active godfather. Our little guy loves the spotlight, and he loves the recognition. His father, my son, is a highly competitive athlete, as are his uncle and his godfather. Recently my grandson started asking them to clap for him. He loves the applause.

When I was working with Black & Decker in a field marketing role, we made a presentation on router bits to a key distributor. The presentation went well, and we received verbal feedback that they would order a full line. We were just launching into the category, and we needed the press, so we touted this as a win. We built a presentation around it, and I presented it to the region I was supporting. The order never came, and our wise regional manager gigged me with the fact I was “selling feathers”. His way of kidding me (or was it serious?) that I shouldn’t count the order until it was an order. I learned a lesson. We had several wins, but never a win with router bits. It still stings a little.

I share these two stories because they are related. You can’t get applause without merit. You can’t take credit for a “verbal” win. My grandson’s father, godfather, and uncle, all said the same thing to him on separate occasions, when he asked them to clap. “What did you do? We don’t give participation trophies here.”

You may think that sounds cruel, but it also sets a standard. In sales, you are paid for performance. You are paid for hitting revenue and profit goals. If you don’t hit them, you don’t make a commission, or a bonus, or stay employed very long.

My grandson is three. He doesn’t understand the lesson today, and he shouldn’t have to. Let him have the joy of being three. In time, based on the way he is being supported by those close to him, he will understand, and he will have a different kind of joy. The joy of doing good work! Then the applause will come.

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