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Posted: June 06, 2011

It’s not about trying—it’s about doing

The thought doesn't count

Gary Harvey

Most salespeople would say they are committed to their companies, their customers, and their careers. But what does that mean?

Being "committed" means they try to keep in touch with all of their clients, even those who buy infrequently. It means they try to keep up to date regarding the needs, goals, and challenges of their clients. It means they try to stay current with industry trends. It means they try to stay informed about what the competition is doing, saying, and offering. They try, they try, they try.

But, being committed isn't about "trying" - it's about "doing."

When people say they will "try," they believe they are committed. But, what is the thinking behind the supposed commitment? "I'll try to keep in touch with all my clients" really means, "If I have the time, I'll keep in touch with all my clients . . . but I'm not sure I'll have the time." "I'll try to stay informed about what the competition is doing" really means, "If I come across some information about the competition, I'll read it ... if I have time." "I'll try to stay current with industry trends" really means, "If I happen to see a relevant article in the trade journal, I'll read it ... eventually." The "intention" to do something is neatly bundled with a reasonable explanation for not doing it.

It's not the thought that counts. It's the doing that counts, regardless of how "reasonable" the explanation for not doing.

Let's change the scenario. It's Wednesday afternoon and you get a call from a kidnapper who tells you that he's holding a gun to your spouse's head. If you don't obtain a new client by the end of the week, he's going to pull the trigger.

It's just not reasonable to expect you to obtain a new client in less than three days. It's not reasonable to expect you to function effectively under the stress of the potential fate of your loved one. And, it's not reasonable to expect you to be able to think and act rationally under the pressure.
If you were committed to saving your spouse, you wouldn't be reasonable. You wouldn't "try" to obtain a new client. You would obtain a new client. You would do whatever it took ... reasonable or not.

Commitment comes from a deep-seated desire. It could be a desire "to do," "to have," "to become," "to be known for," "to make a contribution," or anything else . . . like saving your spouse's life. If you're not making things happen, then you will likely discover that you're just not committed. Your interest, intention, or perhaps inspiration is just not there. Whatever the desire, you must know what it is (or once was) and get in touch with it. If you're not in touch with it, you're just going through the motions.

When you're committed, things happen. You make them happen. You don't wait for the "right" time or until you have the time. You don't sit around wishing, hoping, and praying for things to happen. You don't wait for your fears and doubts to vanish. You take action.

There are times when your goals become more difficult to accomplish: the economy takes a downturn, the demand for your product decreases, competition increases. If you don't tap into your core desire, then doubts and limiting beliefs will destroy your commitment. You'll make "reasonable" excuses for lack of action.


Get back in touch with the original desire, dreams, and inspirations. Stop the excuse-making. Stop being "reasonable." Instead, be "unreasonable": make "I will" commitments rather than "I'll try" commitments - and make things happen.
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Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or



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Readers Respond

Gary, a harsh but accurate perspective, well done. In sales, results count, it's a simple measure. Here is my favorite perspective on "try", a quote by Yoda, (my most revered movie character) in a Star Wars movie, "There is no try, you do or you don't do!" By TC North on 2011 06 06
Our company has a salesman who's been on the payroll for nearly 3-1/2 years. Our return on investment... total gross profit from his sales/his total costs (salary, benefits, expenses)... negative 91%. For every dollar we spend on him, we get 9 cents back. The reason he's still around? He works hard, he tries hard. By schmitzl on 2011 06 06
Great article Gary. I completely agree...It is not the thought that counts it is the action that follows the thought that counts. Commitment in the "doing" not just the talking. By liz wendling on 2011 06 06

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