Charles Lauer is on vacation. This column first appeared in September 1996.
Anger is a great motivator. Don't be ashamed of it. I'm not talking about out-of-control anger where things are thrown against walls and profanity is used, but deep-down anger where you're willing to do just about anything to prove to another person that you have what it takes. Most great salespeople I know have a lot of pent-up anger regarding their competitors and maybe even their home offices for not providing a high enough standard of service to their customers. That's constructive anger. You want to outdo the other guy and show how skilled you are. It's called being competitive, something that involves the anger factor. But too often it's overlooked and misunderstood.
Competition today is fierce. Good jobs are out there, but to get the one you want you have to be willing to go after it with gusto. That's a lot of stress. Going through the motions doesn't work anymore. You have to really want something and then be prepared to pay the price to get it.
I have a friend who's a great person. Everybody who comes in contact with him likes him. He's well-groomed, has a wonderful sense of humor and is very bright. But he doesn't seem to understand what it takes to succeed when it comes to keeping a job. My advice to him has been simply to get mad at himself and make his dreams come true. He needs to realize that it's no longer good enough just to do a decent job. He must stand out in the crowd if he's going to attain the success I know he's capable of achieving.
We can blame other people for our failures or we can cry on an understanding friend's shoulder about how cruel the world is. Life isn't fair, no question about it, but in order to make the percentages work for you, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start getting mad. Get mad at yourself because you haven't accomplished what you would like to do. Get mad at yourself because you didn't grab opportunity when it was staring you in the face. Get mad because you are behind in your success schedule. Blame yourself for being where you are, and then get going by giving every day a full measure of hustle.
It isn't enough these days to dress well, look the part and have better-than-average intelligence. Being a team player helps some, but don't forget you'll eventually be judged on your performance, not the team's record. Don't take the easy way out; simply outwork your colleagues. If you're in sales, make that extra call every day. Be willing to put in whatever time it takes to get the job done. Be enthusiastic and positive and always have a smile on your face. Bosses notice these things
right away. They're always looking for doers.
I don't know about you, but I like to finish first. If I don't win, I at least like to think I've given it my best shot. That's where pride and self-respect come in. It's OK to get mad as all heck once in a while, but just make sure you channel that anger so it yields positive results.
Go ahead and snarl,
Charles S. Lauer