February 1, 2014

Words of Wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld on Life, Love, Passion and Greatness

Earlier this week Mike Greenberg excitedly tweeted that his idol, Jerry Seinfeld, would be an in-studio guest on Mike and Mike in the Morning. I love both Greeny and Seinfeld, and as native New Yorker who’s a huge sports fan, this was about as it good as it gets for sports-talk show during Super Bowl Week. Even though it’s a radio show, Mike and Mike is also shown on ESPN2, so I altered my morning routine to watch it live, and it did not disappoint.

While I loved the whole segment, there was one interchange where Seinfeld shared such profound perspective that it alone was worth the price of admission. Greeny was commenting how successful Seinfeld had been and how much money he had made. Then he said to Jerry, “you clearly don’t need the money, why do you continue to work so much?” And Seinfeld’s response was priceless:

Isn’t it almost always true that highly successful people who are great at something do it because they love it and are passionate about it.

Seinfeld said he continues to work because he loves what he does. Surely this concept is not new information to us. We all know, and we all understand, at least at a surface level, that people who are highly successful tend to be passionate and love what they do. But for some reason, maybe because of my admiration for Seinfled, the way I heard it that morning really struck me. It caused me to think about all of us in Sales. And the CEOs I work with. And the crazy ride I’m on in my own little business, and how many times recently I’ve said to myself that I absolutely love what I do.

Do you love what you do? I don’t think I can name a super-successful sales professional or executive who doesn’t. Can you? So let me ask again: Do you truly love what you do?

I’ve tackled this in a previous post. Even more than in some jobs, Sales requires our passion and the engagement of our hearts. I often say, when you are in sales, you gotta wanna. A miserable accountant whose heart isn’t in it can still do great accounting work – producing accurate statements, on-time month-end closings, valuable analysis, etc. But the same is not true for Sales. Not even close.

One month into 2014, it seems like a good time to ask gut-punch questions to all of you in Sales or Sales Management: Is your heart in it? Are you passionate about what you do for a living? Or are you just going through the motions hoping to get through another year?

As someone who observes and coaches a whole lot of salespeople, here’s my strong admonition: If you don’t love selling and you can’t get passionate about what you do, then it’s time for a change. Everyone else’s livelihood in your organization is dependent on your success! We are all counting on you. And in several of the companies I am consulting, New Sales are not a nice-to-have thingthey’re a must-have thing! Do yourself and your co-workers a favor and get your head and heart in the game. And if you can’t, then please do the honorable thing and resign, so we can put someone else in the role.

Seinfeld’s words caused me to ask myself the question we all like to ponder: If I won the lottery, would I keep doing what I’m doing. And although I might need to add a few bays onto my garage, if I won PowerBall, my answer is a resounding “yes.”

seinfeld_fey

Bonus material: During the segment on Mike and Mike, Greeny asked Jerry about his hit internet series “Comedians in  Cars Getting Coffee.” As a car nut and Seinfeld fan, I have no idea how I was completely oblivious this series existed. If you like comedy, comedians, cars or coffee, this is must-see content. I just watched the most recent episode with Jerry and Tina Fey riding around NYC in this classic old Volvo and stopping for coffee and treats. It was funny and fantastic. Enjoy!