For most of my life, I assumed that the keys to a successful life were simple: 1) do well in school; 2) get a good job; 3) work hard.
Those were my operating principles as a child, in college, and in my early 20s.
As I got older, however, my beliefs were constantly conflicting with the reality that I observed around me.
I realized that my "mental model" or theory about how the world works wasn't explaining everything I was seeing around me.
Let me give you an example.
I had always assumed that to get ahead in life, all you had to do was good work. If you did well, people would notice and you would get promoted, get a raise, or get whatever it is you wanted.
While that was largely true in school, that wasn't the case in the real world.
Many people who were good at their jobs did not get promoted. Many people who weren't very competent got the job.
The people with the high grades in school sometimes earn less than those with low grades.
While there are several factors that contribute to these observations, I will focus on one key distinguishing factor.
In my opinion, the very successful people tend to have a specific skill that the less successful people don't have.
Ivy League graduates severely underestimate and undervalue this specific skill.
So what exactly is this mysterious skill?
What's the one skill that causes an Ivy League graduate to work for a high school dropout?
What's the one skill that overcomes grades, educational background, and talent?
What's the one skill that compensates for the lack of nearly every other skill?
That skill is knowing...
HOW TO SELL
In the real world, you do not get what you deserve. You get what you convince someone else to give you.
Look, McKinsey, Bain, and BCG "sold" you on why you should want to become a consultant.
Harvard and Stanford "sold" you on why you should want to apply to their schools.
As we speak, I am "selling" you on the idea that the ability to sell is an incredibly useful skill.
I sell my kids on going to bed early, rather than staying up late.
The ability to sell is the paramount skill.
What happens when you're a good consultant at McKinsey? You become Partner and become a SALESPERSON.
What happens when you're a good banker at Goldman? You become a Managing Director and become a SALESPERSON.
The highest position in every professional service business is the position of salesperson.
The difference is that in fields like consulting, banking, and law, they have fancier names for a salesperson, like "Partner" and "Director."
When you're married, you're "selling" your spouse on a particular way of being partners to one another (and your spouse is doing the same right back).
When you're a parent, you're "selling" your kids on doing their homework, eating their vegetables, and staying out of trouble.
When you're trying to achieve a new goal this year, you're "selling" yourself on why it's worth it to make the extra effort to make a change in your life.
The ability to sell is everywhere. It is behind everything we do. It is behind every relationship we're in.
YET, very few people have learned How to Sell.
That's why I plan to teach a class on "How to Sell Anything." Whether you're selling your ideas, your vision, your product or service, if you want or need somebody else to do something, at some point you'll need to sell them.
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