Building Personal Values – Ten Mottos To Be Your Best You
As we usher in the new year, advice abounds about how to make this year the best one yet. Instead of recreating the wheel on these ideas, let’s turn the clock back 87 years.
In 1937, Paul W. Ivey released a second edition of his book, Salesmanship Applied. Chapter 6 is one of my favorites from my collection of books from 75+ years ago.
So many books focus on the art and science of selling – with specific methodologies and techniques meant to more effectively sell more and build up the value of what you’re selling.
But what about building up the value in yourselves?
Ivey shares his ten slogans for Building Personal Values, and I adore every single one of them. I’ve attempted to summarize them below…
1. Try to Like What You Do
“If you cannot do what you like, try to like what you do.”
When you were growing up, what did you want to do when you “grew up”? Are you doing it? For most of us, the answer is probably “no”. I certainly never thought I’d be spending a Saturday night ear deep in an 87-year-old sales book. But I love it…now.
I’m not sure how long it took me to learn to like sales. There was a certain allure to it, where every day was different, every customer was an opportunity to strategize, and I certainly liked the commissions. Early in my career I sold systems management software, accounting / financial consolidation software, and software for engineers. I was hard to get excited about it.
“You perform a certain work. Do you like that work? If you do not, you should learn to like it. We cannot all do what we would like to do, so let us learn to like what we are doing.”
2. Place for Knocker Is Outside the Door
“I maintain that you cannot saw wood with a hammer, so let every knocker throw away his hammer.”
When Ivey refers to “knocker”, he’s speaking of pessimism; individuals who are consistently negative about other people and themselves.
We need to eliminate negativity from our thoughts and words. Here’s a quote I recently found from 1922 to emphasize Ivey’s point…
“Selling is almost entirely a mental process. I can make a success of any salesman whom I can select and train, provided I can destroy this man’s ability to think negatively.” – Ernest J. Gallmeyer, General Sales Manageer, Wayne Tank & Pump Company
Positivity and confidence are contagious. Embrace it!
(Ivey goes on to speak of those who speak negatively of their employer. “I pray you, so long as you are a part of an institution, do not condemn it. Not that you will injure the institution, but when you disparage the concern of which you are a part, you disparage yourself.”)
3. Afraid of Doing Too Much Does Too Little
“He who is afraid of doing too much, always does too little.”
Ivey is primarily speaking of either the self-awareness of your own current shortcomings or the self-limiting beliefs that go along with it.
He tells the story of Demosthenes, the great orator of Greece. He was once a terrible stammerer. But he “put pebbles in his mouth and practices talking at the sea where the waves were roaring, and subjected himself to such a rigid course of instruction that finally he became one of the greatest orators of history.” Ivey also points to how Theodore Roosevelt, who was once very tiny, developed himself physically to become strong and became one of our country’s great leaders.
In other words, when Ivey says that being “afraid to do too much”, he’s referring to self-limits…when we think we can’t do something, we can either be a victim or work hard to push ourselves beyond. “The only way to develop capacity for work is to work. The only way to develop the capacity to smile is to smile.”
4. Whatever You Dislike in Another Person, Take Care to Correct in Yourself
“You hear a man say, ‘Oh, Jones! Why, he is the most cynical cuss I ever knew in my life.’ Or, “He is one of the meanest fellows in the world.’ Or, ‘He talks to much’. How about yourself?”
To build value in yourself, Ivey practiced this thought: whenever something about another person bothers you, consider yourself. All of us have qualities that aren’t perfect. When we continually check on our behaviors and traits and work to eliminate bad habits, we build our value.
In short, when something bothers you about someone else, instead of harping on it, think about whether it’s something you do…and if the answer is yes, work to eliminate it.
5. Boss Will Not Fire You If You Are Fired with Enthusiasm
While you may lose a job due to a layoff or some other reason, when given a choice, your boss will never fire the most enthusiastic person on the team.
6. No Elevators in House of Success
“I know some people who expect to jump into a position, press a button, and ride to the top.”
7. The Price of “Buds and Blossoms” Is “Briars and Brambles”
“He who loves the buds and blossoms is little concerned about the briars and the brambles.”
Similar to the ideas above, this suggestion speaks to taking the risks required to get where you want to be. One who loves roses must take the risk of the briars to grab them. In life, “How many will pay the price, or, in other words, pay in the value of their own personalities for any advantage they want?”
8. Dissatisfaction Due to False Ideas of Happiness
“Dissatisfaction with our condition is often due to the false idea we have of the happiness of others.”
This one jumped off the page at me, as an issue I see all the time. We look around at others posting about their successes and triumphs, assuming everything is better for them than it is for us. As a result, it generates dissatisfaction with our work and accomplishments.
Ivey explains a scenario around someone named Jack – who appears to be doing really well. But Ivey asks, “I wonder just how good a thing he has. He has left one position for another and is telling some beautiful tales about it; but I really wonder just how he is getting along. The other field always looks better.”
Stop beating yourself up because you believe someone else is doing better than you, having the life you want. Stop comparing, because you don’t have the whole story. As I read this section, he’s saying what the current phrase “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side” tells us. Compare yourself to you.
9. Opportunity Difficult to Find Because Disguised as Hard Work
“The reason many people cannot find opportunity is because it goes around disguised as hard work,”
Ivey says “We are all seeking opportunity. But opportunity may mean 15 minutes more a day of hard work. Perhaps it means one extra night a week of calling on customers. That is opportunity.”
His point – there’s opportunity all around us, but it’s on us to create it for ourselves.
10. Worry, Not Work, Kills
“Worry kills more people than work does, because more people tackle it.”
Even in my own life, stress and anxiety caused me more problems than the work itself. Ivey finishes this last motto by telling us to put in the work, so we won’t have to worry.
Capital and Labor Are Partners
Capital helps labor and labor helps capital.
Capital is essentially money.
Labor is the wages and salaries.
When there’s lots of competition for labor, wages and salaries go up. The opposite is also true…when there are lots of individuals qualified to fill your position, your salary and wages will go down.
“It’s up to you to make yourself more valuable, to do things in a better way, to build up personal value. If you do that, you will become more valuable. The law of demand and supply governs.”
I speak and teach revenue organizations on how to leverage transparency and decision science to maximize their revenue capacity. It’s what I do…teach sellers, their leaders, well…entire revenue organizations how we as human beings make decisions, then how to use that knowledge for good (not evil) in their messaging (informal and formal), negotiations, and revenue leadership. I wrote a book Book Authority lists as the 6th best sales book of all time (𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘚𝘢𝘭𝘦), and a second award-winning book (𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘚𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘓𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘳).
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