The Winning Vantage Point
As many of you know, I work a full time sales job during the week in order to help keep the Your Church vision moving forward. The job enables me to get out and meet new people and provides quite a bit of control in how I spend my day. But as with any direct sales job, you find you always end up working sun up to sundown trying to get those sales. But it all pays off when the phone starts to ring. There’s nothing like the high that comes when sales start pouring in and there’s nothing quite like the low that comes when you can’t sell a thing to save your soul. Oh that dreaded low! It’s when every closing technique falls apart and every follow-back yields a dead end that you find yourself questioning as to why you took the job. To top it off, then comes the weekly ranking report. You know you’re hurting when you have to scroll down to the bottom of page 2. Welcome to the past 8 weeks of my life! Even though this job is a means to an end, I find myself as with so many other salespeople, internalizing the problem. I go through a process of blaming myself, the job, the customer, the quotas and then psycho-analyzing every part of my selling process. Then without resolve, I buck up, get back out there and tell myself to just demand that sale. Which, of course, results in really long days of dead end conversations and more slammed doors.
The other night I had a customer ask me what I did before this sales job. According to her I was, as she put it, “really, really good at sales.” Her words didn’t stroke my ego but instead reminded me of my strength; my ability to sell. For she was right. I do know how to sell and my wife says I’m pretty good at it! But the problem for me is that because sales is such a numbers game, I get sidetracked by my lack of results. I allow a rank report to dictate whether I am a success or failure. In reality, I’m letting a piece of paper redefine my strength. No matter how strong I think I am, I’ve given the rank report the power to tell me otherwise. So in an effort to mentally push past the report I over compensate by forcing myself to change something. Inevitably I lose my confidence and become what the report says I am.
What if weakness is merely our strength overexerted?
I was considering this the other day. It’s easy to lose perspective when all you see is weakness. Especially when the weakness is in front of you every day. The more we look the more it becomes all we can see. In an effort to mentally push past it we over compensate by forcing ourselves to change which inevitably results in a loss of confidence and ultimately defeat. So what if we changed the way we looked at our weakness? What if weakness is the tell tale sign we’re actually strong? As with the woman who reminded me, what if you took that part of your life you’re failing at and started telling yourself, “I’m actually really, really good at this.” Interesting perspective isn’t it? But if saying that seems unrealistic to you then it’s probably because you’ve spent way too much time beating yourself up and telling yourself otherwise. What you need to see is that you’re actually really strong in your area of weakness – really, really strong. But when we can’t see that we end up forcing change too hard. Maybe you’ve set for yourself an unrealistic expectation? Maybe you’re comparing your weakness with someone else’s strength? Are you too consumed about what others think? Do you need to double check your end motive? As with my case, when we overexert our strength we inevitably lose our confidence and end up defeated.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (New Century Version)
8 I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you."
The Apostle Paul took his weakness straight to the throne and asked God to fix it. What Paul learned that day is that God is not in the business of fixing us or our problems. He’s in the business of helping us overcome. He showed Paul a different viewpoint which earned him the winning vantage point. It’s not won by plans, programs and overexertion. It’s won by grace.