Being On Mission When No One Is Watching

Being on mission is not easy. Let's get personal. Five years ago I wrote a post about how you can really paint yourself into a corner. The subject was the possible price of success, and whether you are willing to pay it.

Back then I was a big fish in a small pond. Online marketing was still in its infancy and people looked to me for direction. Of course I was not the only person nor even one of the most prominent people in the industry, but I was a lot more visible than I am today. In the time since, the marketplace has become overrun with shouting, unskilled marketers: when the barrier to entry is the cost of a Facebook ad at pennies a click, anyone can claim expertise and draw leads into a funnel.

Let me be clear: I was around in this field when Facebook ads did not exist. I remember when advanced targeting for Facebook ads came out...and I remember because it was painful. I had just blown through $3000 in a week doing the incredibly sinful thing of sending traffic directly to a conversion tool. (Don't do that. Leadgen has never been my thing. I'm a Conversion guy and now hire smarter people to handle Traffic generation.)

At any rate having seen the 2014 article it got me wondering where my thinking about success and the price to be paid for success is at today.

megatron character price of success who are you are when no one is looking being on mission

The Evolution of Being On Mission

I have seen many "flash in the pan" marketers appear, make a splash, and then vanish back into the murk as quickly as they arrived.

I have witnessed many people become the temporary darling of the marketing world (ah, to be that individual again as I was for a time in 2012), the golden boy who is the shiny object that will fix all problems...and watched as they, too, either submerged never to appear again or instead elevated to guru status and became one of the old boys of the IM field.

I saw Frank Kern capitalize on his "surfer dude" persona...only to change it a few years later via a snazzy square haircut and suiting up, and become the President of the Internet. And good for him: while I don't slavishly follow his initiatives I do believe he generally wants to help people, and does know what works.

There are young marketers today who don't know who Frank is.

They don't recognize the name Dan Kennedy, either.

You don't have to, of course: it's not a prerequisite to have studied the past to be successful in the future.

I have become a small fish in a vast ocean.

Being On Mission and Your Definition of Success

Success to me means something different than it did five years ago. Back then it was largely about dominating the marketplace...being the go-to guy for answers on Conversion topics. Ensuring that as much of the traffic as I could get was drawn my way. I knew I was in the best position to help those folks.

A hell of a lot of "Tall Poppy Syndrome" was going on in and around that marketplace at the time. Some people just couldn't stand it that someone else was doing better than they were. Occasionally some of these individuals raise their heads and bray, unconscious of the fact that I have long since moved on and they have not. If you intend to be successful, you will have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

Which reminds me: an aside. Something I have noted about hate is that everyone squeals. When they are not the subject, they will tell you, "Be cool; water off a duck's back." But when it's their turn as the target, when the cannons are turned upon them, they squeal as loudly as everyone else.

Back to the price of success. When your personal definition of success has changed, the price to be paid changes.

Much of that price for me personally is encapsulated in this question: "Who should get my time?"

I suppose this question was hidden in the background half a decade ago as well. But it is most prominent today.

The Ongoing Results of Being On Mission And The Meaning of Success

In pursuit of answering this question I have expanded and raised the level of my circle. These decisions have forced me to stop pursuing some things I have been good at in favor of others I am not so good at...yet. And on an almost daily basis I have had to confront the "Can I really do this?" question.

As your circle of control and influence expands, you'll be running up against problems that are larger than anything you've ever tried to handle before.

My 2014 problems were centered around straightforward sales & marketing.

My 2019 problems are centered around often-undefined subjects of attention and focus.

My concept of the system I'm operating in has moved from closed to open.

The problems I see today are frequently overwhelming: considerations about the future and how human life will be, what to do about serious problems we face today, how we can use technology in ethical ways to solve those problems.

Data science and philosophy have bubbled up to the top.

It has been said that character is who you are when no one is looking.

And it goes both ways. Megatron is "on mission" regardless of whether the world is watching or not.

What does success mean to you? And what price are you willing to pay for it?

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and conversion expert. Book your session with Jason by clicking here <<


Most Popular Apr Posts at SalesTactics.org

Most Popular Apr Posts - Click to Enlarge PictureThe most popular Apr posts here at SalesTactics.org begin with a bit of an anomaly. A post on the potential price of success that had been fairly popular since its publication in February was listed on Reddit. This lead to well over 600 views of the post alone. That's great, but most of the people who saw it were kids interested in Transformers; not adults with life experience. Nor were most of these viewers looking for success or sales advice. So they weren't interested in other articles. Still, a high number of people who otherwise would not have visited this site were attracted here, and I appreciate that.

I considered lopping this result off our list as an outlier. However, it legitimately did get many views and is worthy of the attention it received. Additionally, a comment by a Reddit viewer prompted me to add more detail to my analysis.

Most Popular Apr Posts at SalesTactics.org

#1 - How Badly Do You Want It

We look at an example not of success itself, but rather the price you might have to pay for your definition of success. Megatron is a cartoon and a "bad guy", so he never really wins. However, he is a clear symbol and leader of his movement. And he has a huge price to pay for being so: he can't take a day off just because he feels like it.

What Megatron is mirroring here, and what I'm talking about, is a real-world situation. The leader has worked their way into becoming a symbol, and their public behavior cannot vary from the mental picture their public has of them. If they do, they'll lose all their power.

My purpose in writing this article was to get you thinking about what success means to you. As I said in my follow-up piece below the original text, I've worked with many coaches. From that experience, I can tell you that when people find out what their life purpose is, often they do not like it. They have to do it, but pursuing that purpose is going to be an awful slog without much in the way of redeeming feedback. Is that what you want? On the other hand, can you stand turning your back on your purpose?

#2 - Negotiating Is Bad And Here's Why

If you find yourself in negotiation, you've made a mistake in your sales process. The prospect doesn't see you as unique, or different in any way. They've lined up you and your competitors in a spreadsheet to figure out how to get the most for the least. And they will be coming to use the quotations you and your competitors so cheerfully provided against you.

#3 - How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

In this article, we look at the relentless and well-composed marketing machine behind the sales of Girl Guide cookies. If your business had its sales & marketing system together as well as the Girl Scouts do, you'd be in a much better position--and you'd know what to do. Their site is a great example of how to provide organized marketing tools to front line sales staff.

My Take On the Most Popular Apr Posts

I believe we're continuing our search for the building blocks of selling. People want to see and know what works, and beginning with the questions of, "What am I aiming for?" and "How do I know when I get there?" is a useful beginning.

Recognizing the peril and error that has put you into negotiations is a powerful realization. If you don't know what's happening to you and why it happened, you are the victim. In selling we must be in the driver's seat; otherwise, the prospect is in control. Since it's our responsibility to communicate effectively, ceding that control to the prospect--accidentally or on purpose--is giving up your integrity as a salesperson.

Early in April we also looked at Qualifying. Spending energy on, giving price quotes to, and inviting into our business prospects who are not a good fit is a huge mistake. Allowing unqualified prospects to become clients will result in badly-behaved, financially unsound customers upsetting you emotionally and damaging your business. Don't let that happen: qualify effectively...and mercilessly.

Yes, that's a strong word. This is your business, your livelihood, we're talking about.

PS. Really LOOK at that Norman Rockwell painting above. Something's going on there; it's not just a bunch of heads. Once you've figured out what's happening, imagine how this same process occurs between you, your prospects and your competitors.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. Was there a post you think should be on the list that I missed? Comment below to let us know! And if you're operating an established, profitable business earning over $250K in revenue but want to take it to the next level, come visit with me to figure out the whole detailed plan on how you're going to reach your next income goal over the next 12 months. <<


How Badly Do You Want It: A Lesson from Saturday Cartoons

How Badly Do You Want It - Megatron Can't Take The Day OffIt's Saturday morning. So I'm going to talk about cartoons.

One cartoon, actually, and the antagonist of that story. Oh boy--I've wanted to write about this one for a long time.

The big 4-0 is staring me in the face and that means I was a kid in the early 80s. In 1984 a show came out promoting a line of toys that changed shape from humanoid to a machine, vehicle or something else. In English it was called The Transformers.

Our antagonist is a gravelly-voiced megalomaniac named Megatron. He is a strategist, though of the low animal cunning kind. His plots are not elaborate. But in a show for kids, should they be? He leads a police force-turned-banditos from the legitimately ruling group of the planet Cybertron, down and out for several million years or so after chasing rebels to a mutual crash landing on Earth.

Upon wakeup, a central computer reforms all the Transformers' non-humanoid forms into things that should blend in to our society: cars, trucks, jets, and the like.

Megatron, the epitome of naked force, is naturally given the alternate form of a handgun.

The rebel team--called Autobots--determine that while they need to find alternate sources of energy to power a return to Cybertron, they ought to be nice to the natives about it. And protect the humans from Megatron and his followers if they can.

The bad guys--called Decepticons--have never felt a higher emotion in their collective existence. So nothing gets in the way of their idea of enslaving the Earth. Then they can drain the planet dry of energy to crush the Autobots and triumphantly return to Cybertron and end the civil war.

Got the story so far?

What Megatron Has to Teach Us About Answering "How Bad Do You Really Want It"

Here's why we're talking about it: the only character I find really interesting in the series is Megatron. The Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, is represented with a cowboy mask over the lower half of his face. So you can't even see him emote clearly. But Megatron's face is bare to the world. There's nowhere for him to hide.

Decepticon society is based upon power. That power can be founded in strength, but it also has a big dash of perception. Starscream, a hyperactive teenager of a lieutenant, is perpetually scheming to remove Megatron and take his place; however, he's too often afraid to take the first shot and simply grumbles from the sidelines.

And here's the rub: Megatron doesn't get to take a day off.

Why Megatron Can't Take the Day Off

Other Decepticons can disappear into the background and sulk. Autobots can do the same. Even Optimus Prime can go hide in the control room of his base with the supercomputer Teletraan I. And it won't make a difference. When he pops out again, the other Autobots will still respect him.

But Megatron? He doesn't have such luxuries.

He needs to be visible.

He needs to be leading.

He needs to recover quickly from setbacks.

If Megatron is not visible to his followers, they will begin to doubt him. They will suspect he is weak. And in such a perception and strength-based society, that will soon lead to overthrow attempts. He must constantly appear before them, showing a state of ultimate power.

Should Megatron not be leading with some new stratagem to capture energy, destroy the Autobots and effect a swift return to Cybertron, the other Decepticons will look for someone else who will. Regardless of their moral alignment, this group is highly motivated. They do not want to sit around and wait for something to happen.

And if Megatron is emotionally crushed by the failure of his latest plan, that loss of faith will immediately trickle down to his followers. Adult criticisms of Megatron include the observation that he is too quick in the face of real resistance to shout, "Decepticons, RETREAT!" and get the heck out of there. (All of the Decepticons can fly, though most of the Autobots cannot; this makes an exit to Stage Up an easy option to take.) But he is always back with a new idea and refreshed enthusiasm.

Again, if Megatron--and he alone of all the Transformers is in this position--did not do these things, he would quickly be killed and replaced. Megatron does not get to take a day off.

How Badly Do You Want It: Megatron's Lesson for You In the Real World

Now take this to the real world.

Many leaders are in a similar predicament. Call it obsession, call it knowing their true purpose, call it a bad idea. Whichever you like: they have worked themselves into a position where they are symbolic as well as active, and they cannot disappear without consequences. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of these people, for example. I'm sure you can think of others. People who stand for a cause or an idea and stick with it. Their commonality is that after a point, they cannot publicly behave in a manner inconsistent with the world's perception of them. They cannot vanish for awhile. They have a place to hold. Ground to keep covered. Ideals to uphold.

Consider this with your own business or role.

Really consider it. Not being able to take a day off can be miserable, I know. But it is the possible price for "success"...when you are known for something and you can't stop. Do you love what you do? Have you staked your life on it? Or are you just playing around?

Notice how the three things Ol' Megs has to do are the same things you must do as a business owner to stay alive:

Be Visible


Recover Quickly from Setbacks.

Curious, no? There aren't right or wrong answers here. I just want you to think about Megatron's situation and compare it with your own. Where do you find yourself? What do you want? How badly do you want it?

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert from the planet Earth. Did this discussion help you? Please Share, Like or Comment to let others know! Also, you can subscribe with the big red Follow button at the bottom right. Want help with positioning your own business for success? <<


(I don't want you to miss this, which is the first Disqus comment below; please feel free to respond there!)

My thanks to the individual who submitted this to Reddit. I appreciate it!

One reader commented on Reddit that I was suggesting people be more like Megatron, or that he should be a role model for motivation (and the reader didn't agree). This is incorrect and not the point of the article.

The article is about the price of success, to get you thinking about what it means to you, and what you're willing to pay for it.

Paying for success, however you define it, like Megatron does can make you miserable. Not being able to take a day off can make for considerable unhappiness. It's not necessarily a good choice, and I talk about that in the write-up.

Having been an employment coach and worked with many other coaches, I will share with you that when people find out their "life purpose", they often don't like it. Their life purpose isn't fun. It's a real slog, to get done what they need to get done. The BS sales pitch of the self-actualization dreamers is that discovering your life purpose is going to be all fireworks and leaping dolphins and applause and confetti. Sometimes it can be absolute misery...but it HAS to be done.

Megatron has his "life purpose." He is fully engaged in it, and *he cannot change his behavior*. If he does, he will cease to be himself. (Why do you think so many people have problems with 'retirement'?) That is a little scary, isn't it?

This is what I want you thinking about.