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I am no stranger to hearing the word ‘no.’ Throughout my career, many people told me that the goals I had for myself were unrealistic and unreachable. I was told over and over by multiple employers that I was never going to reach my long-term goal of becoming an investment advisor—Â wrong, accomplished!
I was told that I would most certainly fail if I took the risk of changing careers or starting a business—wrong, did both.Â Today, I am happy to declare that my goals were neither unrealistic nor unreachable, and all of the people who told me ‘no’ were wrong. By seeing beyond the ‘no’s’ I stayed focused on my goals, chose my path and owned my success. I doubled down and I bet on me.
So what have I learned?
Decide You Are the Only One to Determine Your Success
It’s easy to become pigeonholed in a position you’re good at, even if it’s not the position you want. If you don’t take control, step into the driver’s seat and develop your own agenda, you will most certainly end up in the back seat, riding down a road that others have chosen for you. I was told over and over again that I should be happy with my role/job because I was adding value and delivering great results. Unfortunately, though my employer was satisfied with my level of success, I was not.Â It’s up to you to determine your worth and value, to determine what success looks like for you. Own the work of the journey and you will have the end result that you desire.
Give it Your Best at Every Opportunity
Being successful means giving your all every day and having a mindset that failure is not an option.
Once I had finally acquired the credentials to become an investment advisor — surprise, no one would hire me. Again, I received no after no after no. At that point, there was nothing left to do but open my own insurance and investment firm.
Mitchell Financial Inc. was started in my den. A new baby, bills to pay, and the hardships of starting a business out of the family home almost cost us our house. Failure,Â not an option. Blinders,Â not an option. Not delivering a 200% best effort each and every day,Â not an option. My husband and I worked hard through the uncertainty and built a very successful company. Another set of no’s turned into more than a decade of success, proving that we are each in control of both being our very best and owning our successes to come.
Become the Best at Your Craft
The skills required to succeed in your chosen field may not come naturally. The beauty of success, however, is that you don’t need to be a natural at your craft — you just need to be determined to become the best at your craft.
Selling was hard for me at the beginning of my career. I had to study each and every part of the sales process: how to start a conversation, how to build rapport, how to uncover a need and how to close the business. There was absolutely no part ofÂ the process that came naturally to me.
Everything was hard and I could fill a book with the many no’s I received as I built my selling ability. However, I read every book that I could get my hands on, attended every sales seminar that I could afford, and unmercifully picked the brain of every successful sales person I met. I was determined to become great at it, master the process, and become a top producer in my own right. I knew that only when I mastered the sales process would I be in the driver’s seat to achieve my financial goals. It took everything I had, but eventually I became a top producer and what was previously uncomfortable, became natural.
Develop Alligator Skin
Somewhere along your personal and professional journey, you will be treated unfairly. The world is not perfect and people are not perfect. Know it is going to happen. When it does, you have to stay focused, positive and determined to stay the course to reach your goals. You will be told no all throughout your career. But, you own the yes’s, they are all in your pocket. When you hear a no, put on your alligator skin, re-focus and take a yes out of your pocket. You are in control!
Rita P. Mitchell, CRCÂ® is Executive Vice President and Manager of Middle Tennessee Private Client Services for First Tennessee Bank in Nashville, Tennessee.