In the business of sales, and in life, it’s easy to get in the habit of taking the safe path. These paths are easy to find because they are well worn and always have a steady stream of traffic to follow. We can easily jump in line and travel that path, hidden safely in a sea of similarly minded colleagues, friends or family members.
But is safe really safe?
Why we assume the safe path is safe
- It’s often pretty comfortable
- Usually requires minimal effort and thinking
- Fits nicely within the general history of what others have done
- Seems to keep you “off the radar”
- Delivers exactly what is expected
Why the safe path is NOT always safe
- Comfortable: You don’t grow in a state of comfort. Your muscles, relationships or sales results only grow after going through a challenging state of discomfort. Today, not growing means you’re falling behind. And falling behind is not safe.
- Minimal effort and thinking: The world is in desperate need of hard work, great ideas and innovation. Your company is in need of that effort and innovation. If you end up the person who brings none of that to the table, you might get by for a while but you certainly won’t be safe. Don’t believe me? Check out Seth Godin’s book Linchpin…it might change your life.
- Fits in nicely: I work in a sales organization with over 3,000 sales representatives and front line managers. Fitting in nicely, much like putting in minimal effort and thinking, will get you by for a while but it’s not a safe strategy. Ever work through a “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle? That dude was wearing a red and white striped shirt and a winter hat and I could never find him. How are you being noticed in your current situation?
- Off the Radar: In most professions that actually use a radar for tracking purposes, being off the radar is a REALLY bad idea. In the professional sales world it is as well. Getting ON the radar for the right reasons is far more safe than being off the radar.
- Delivers exactly what’s expected: On the surface, this one might look pretty safe but I’ll argue that in today’s marketplace, delivering what’s expected is the cost of entry. True safety is found in being valuable and delivering MORE than what’s expected. Delighting your customers – not just calling on them. Surprising your boss – not just checking the box. When was the last time you gave more that was was asked for?
What can we do?
If you roll through your day without once getting butterflies in your stomach because you’re going to try something that might actually fail – you’ve chosen the safe path. If there isn’t the slightest bit of risk in your efforts that someone might not get it, could laugh at you or even just disagree with your position, you may have missed a golden opportunity for TRUE safety. The safety that comes being creative, valuable, fun and remarkable.
Challenge yourself today – and every day – to do something that doesn’t feel safe. Get on the radar and make things happen.