My Calling

There have been times when I have envied people who work for large corporations. They can count on getting a regular paycheck ““ that is until the CEO acts irresponsibly causing the company to fail. Then I think of all the hard working, dedicated employees who are left without a job and I don’t feel so envious. Even if they knew the ship was sinking, there is nothing they could do about it. They had absolutely no control over their future.

But I am in a very different situation”¦and thankful for it. In our business, what I do today directly affects the success of our business tomorrow.

It’s taken me a while to appreciate this. For the first three and half years since we started our business, I sporadically made new business calls, but I dreaded doing it. I saw it as a distasteful event and that once I made it through the new prospect list I wouldn’t have to do it again (“thank goodness that’s over”) until Steve carved out the time to design another promotional mailing which probably wouldn’t happen for another six months.

Mostly, I spent a lot of my time staring at QuickBooks on the computer. Particularly if we had a slow month and I was stressed out about paying the bills, I would get so focused on the numbers that I would almost be paralyzed in front of the screen. I’d open the “Company” file in QuickBooks, then I’d open the “Household” file, then I’d go back to the “Company” file hoping the numbers would be different. I’d repeat this five or six more times until I could barely remember what business we were in. Of course, obsessing didn’t add one more dollar to the balance in the either checking account.

Then something changed. I don’t really know what to attribute it to, maybe it’s a combination of turning 50, divine intervention, and some guidance from Steve, but my attitude about calling is different. I realized that calling is positive action that I can do that counteracts my stress about our finances. I have accepted that getting new business is my job and it’s going to be an ongoing effort. And like anything else, whether it’s lifting weights at the gym or picking up the phone to make calls, the more I do it, the easier it gets.

Plus, there’s nothing like success to serve as motivation. It’s taken about three months since I started our latest concentrated telemarketing effort, but it is literally paying off. We’re getting meetings with potential clients, responding with proposals, and seeing some of those turn into business. And now that I’m on a roll, “It’s get out of my way, I’ve got calls to make!”

It’s also nice not to be starting from scratch. There are people on the list who didn’t have need for our services the first time I called, but they were receptive, and said to check back with them. It really makes the job a lot easier to know that unless the person I’m calling is really having a bad day, I won’t get a “go away and die” response.

I wish I could say that I’m completely broken of the habit of switching back and forth between QuickBooks screens in the hope that the red ink heals and turns black. But I now know that’s not what makes me valuable to our business. Steve tells me I have found a calling”¦in calling.

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