Acceptance and Hope

Harry Baxter was a legendary salesman of industrial products. His clients represented the who’s who of American industry. Over his career, Harry had been approached many times about a promotion, but always refused. In fact, his compensation was not what motivated him.

When Harry neared his retirement, the company asked Jacie Watson to shadow him to capture his secrets. “I want to create a sales manual based on what we can learn from Harry.”, Jacie’s boss explained.

Jacie spent several months with Harry observing what he did. She was able to capture a number of important insights, but she realized that the real essence of Harry’s success was not what he did, but how he managed his life.

When Harry lost a sale, he learned from it, but there was no remorse or looking back on regretting of what he could have done. When Harry had a big win, there was no rejoicing.

When Jacie asked Harry about his approach, she was surprised by his answer. “I learned that the key to sales, and life itself, is acceptance. We need to accept failures and successes for what they are – just a moment in our life. We need to learn from these moments and move on. There’s no need for regret or jubilation, because there will be another moment coming. We need to approach every moment as if it were a completely new experience. Think of a basketball player shooting a foul shot. When that player overreacts to a previous attempt, you can almost guarantee the result will not be good.”

Jacie realized that the sales manual would have its limit unless there was a way she could capture Harry’s sense of acceptance. As she reflected on what she needed to do, she came to realize that acceptance was missing from her own life.

It’s hard to be hopeful without acceptance. If we don’t accept losses as just a moment in our life, we can’t be hopeful. If we overreact to a success, we tend to create future hopes that may not be realistic.

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“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” – Gautama Buddha

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