You Have What It Takes

You Are Born With What You Need

There’s a story I’ve heard, and like all stories, the better question is never whether it is real, but whether you can make something from it. It goes like this:

Picasso is touring a school with someone who wants to know why the institute of education is failing the children. Picasso asks a roomful of six-year-old children, “Who here is a painter?” All hands go up. “Who here is a dancer?” “Who is a singer?” All hands go up. “Who here is a storyteller?” All hands go up. He walks down the hall to where the seventeen-year-old children are taking classes and he asks the same questions. Few, if any hands go up. “There’s your problem,” says Picasso. “Schools train our children not to be painters, dancers, singers, and storytellers.”

Again, who cares if the story is real? The meaning of the story is something you, yourself, can nod about. Because you are no longer all the things you were when you were six. You could be. But you’ve been made to believe that you are not.

You Have What It Takes

When people tell me that they can’t sell, I say that they most definitely can sell, and do sell every day. They simply sell only those things they truly and deeply believe in. “I love you” is sales language. “I believe in you” is sales language. “I’m happy to see you” is a great sale to make.

It might be very difficult to sell products that you don’t believe in, but then, who says you should work in and around a company where you don’t believe in the product? Why would you ever do that? Do you think the cast members who work for Disney don’t believe that their company creates memories and magic for their guests? Do you think that the hard working employees of Microsoft (not the drones who are there for a paycheck, but the ones really working hard to make interesting new things) don’t believe that they’re working on innovative futures?

You Choose All the Time

Where we get confused is when we forget that we make these choices. We decide where we live. No one has forced us there. We decide which job we have taken. There are no guns to our head. We decide which career we spend our days practicing. If you are not doing what you choose to do with your time, then that is a choice. Your choice. You’ve made this choice.

But It’s Not That Easy

Do you know who says that? People who are lazy. The laziest people say “It’s not that easy to change.” Do you know who never says it? Those who do what they truly want to do with their lives.

You Have What It Takes

You are a singer and a dancer and a storyteller and an artist. You are all the various things you want to be. If not professionally, then for passion. And never forget that little branch. You might never play basketball for the NBA, but why would you let that keep you off the playground? You might never see your painting in the Louvre (unless you’re fast and crafty!), but why would that keep your brushes dry?

And the same is true for business. You choose how your days are spent. You educate those around you as to how you want those days interrupted or not. You vote and sell every single day the details that leave the life around you that you want.

Complaining Isn’t Change

We, as a universe, are prone more and more towards complaining. I believe we forget that complaining isn’t changing. We forget that the act of speaking our mind is wonderful, but it’s only a portion of the experience. If we don’t choose to do something about those issues we are complaining about, then we ourselves have bought them, and someone else should be congratulated for being an expert salesperson.

You have what it takes. Now what will you choose to do?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahstorer Sarah Storer

    On the eve of (finally!) going solo, this is just what I needed to read. Thank you.

    • http://www.abetterwayofbusiness.com/ Ivan Bickett

      You and me both! My last day as an employee is Oct 7! When’s yours?

      • http://twitter.com/thenakedredhead The Naked Redhead

        10/14! Right behind you! :)

        • http://www.abetterwayofbusiness.com/ Ivan Bickett

          That is SO AWESOME! What are you going to be doing?

  • http://barthox.tumblr.com/ Barthox

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve been seeing/reading such articles a lot lately from different people I’m following … and a part of me would like to believe in this …

    But there’s the Realist part of me that keeps reminding me that this is not the truth for everyone …

    “who says you should work in and around a company where you don’t believe in the product?”

    => the socio-economic environment you live in tells you that ; maybe there is no other place for you to work at
    => your family tells you that ;maybe your spouse and/or children aren’t thrilled by the idea of moving! Maybe you have to stay close to a parent whose physical condition requires your presence close by? …
    => decisions from the past tell you that ;maybe you have built or invested in a house and you’re not willing to throw all that sacrifice to the bin
    => …

    And most probably it’s a combination of the above … you had a job in a place, you liked it, you married, invested in a home, … then you left that job (most of the time forced to) … and there you are … sort of stuck and forced to do with what you can find …

    Don’t take me wrong, I do agree that one can always try to change things, but you Optimists have to realize that it is not as easy as you seem to think / write about it … ;o)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Do you know who calls themselves realists? People who have surrendered. The only people I’ve known in my life who claim to be realists are those who have stronger sets of excuses as to why not than others. 

      I make so much money doing exactly what I want to do. My dream job? I made it. That’s socio-economics. 

      As to where? You can stick around where due to family reasons. that’s totally fine. So dream up a new dream that keeps you there. 

      And never once did I say it was easy. Easy is not part of the equation. Know what’s easy? Being a realist. 

    • Chuckweinberg

      I have been to Ethiopia 2x in the last 2 years and if you want a reality check you should also go. We have so much to be thankful for here in America, even as the market is going down today and unemployment is up, blah, blah, blah. There are people making money and living grateful and satisfied lives in the midst of all kinds of chaos and it comes down to, do you think you deserve more.
      Life is hard and some have it harder than others, but if you want to be happy it’s not about how much money you make anyway. Some of the happiest and what I would call the most successful people around are those that don’t make loads of cash but they help others and they are selfless with their time and talents and it comes back to them in some many amazing ways.
      Shake off the “I’ve got it hard” mentality and realize you are blessed beyond what most people in the world could ever imagine; you could live in a hut with water from a river that is 10 miles away that needs to be boiled. Find something you think you want to do and go do it and if you don’t succeed at it, try something else until you find the perfect fit. You can do it, just start.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion ~ Democritus

    Anybody can say the word infinity , but it’s so relative …. Your ability to believe & create is limited by your ability and willingness to dare to truly imagine.

    ~Picasso
    Everything is real.

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  • http://twitter.com/soulnyc Tommy Spero

    I love this post. I am experiencing what you’re talking about both personally and professionally. 

    Having a 9 yr old daughter and exposing her to many things at an early age: music, singing, the performing arts, has given me the opportunity to see how beneficial it is to allow them to make a choice and do what they love. When they’re young, there’s nothing holding them back. She’s confident, and has hopped on stage in front of tons of people without fear. Her choices, we just provide her with the opportunities to do so. 

    As she get’s older though, she needs to put some “work” in to hone her skills at singing. This is where it’s getting interesting… as she has what it takes to be a great singer, but she has to practice and work at it. The rub: she doesn’t like to practice. We’re trying to guide her the best we can, but forcing her to do it, really isn’t the right approach, because then it becomes “work”. 

    The challenge is to nourish that desire to sing because she loves it, and let her see that by getting better at it, will only make it even more fun down the road. I’m hoping she’ll realize this, that the rewards will so far outweigh the work involved. It’s up to her to choose. 

    As a business owner in a period of change, I am going through many emotions as to whether or not I can make it to the next level. Deep down, I know I can, but I can easily get caught up with why it’s so hard to do, or it’s so time consuming, or my regular work is keeping me from taking the steps to grow and each day flies by without gaining the traction I need. 
    Posts like these certainly help to make the end goal seem more attainable. 

    There’s nothing to it but to do it. Now, it’s up to me to choose to make excuses or just get to work. 

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Excuses can be hard to overcome, especially when you believe them.  We live in a society and age when your place in life is determined 99% by YOU based on actions and decisions.

    The last 3 weeks I have not prospected as much I know is necessary to become the success I want to be.  I could 1) make an excuse that people hate Cold Calls and Life was too business for Networking events… or 2) Own it and make the necessary changes that will allow me to do the things I need to do.

    Easier said than done.  But my choice none the less.  I hate excuses even when their my own.

    Thanks Chris!!!

    Ryan H.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      And always remember that there’s more than 1 way to do most everything. Cold calls suck. Inbound marketing does a great job of helping you find prospects. Do both and see  whether you can grow the latter to replace the former. 

      • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

        Chris, you are completely right that Cold Calls suck.  But to certain extent there are still a very valuable piece of the small business commercial insurance prospecting game as many Businesses in Upstate NY still don’t even use Email.

        But I have been working on the inbound marketing (which I love) and that is starting bear significant fruit.  I hope to completely transition one day.  Unfortunately that day isn’t today…

        Thanks again for all your writing!

  • Anonymous

    Chris
    Thanks for a great post. We do choose the circumstances of our lives. Perhaps unknowingly sometimes, but we also choose to maintain the choices we made. We can choose to talk ourselves up or to listen to the old tapes of criticism, that keep us in the dark. We can choose to read blogs like yours that bring in the light or we can read blogs about conspiracy theory and how awful it is. Personally, I’m glad I found your blog, it is full of good sense & positive encouragement. I choose to keep coming back. Thanks Again. 

  • @thercom1

    Chris quando as crianças entram na escola,elas vão apenas aprende a ler e escrever.
    Está faltando a linguagem de como lidar com dinheiro e negócios,testa forma fiaria mais 
    fácil elas descobrirem qual seriam suas paixão para o futuro. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      O negócio da educação é tão difícil de explicar. Não é simples de consertar, mas precisa de conserto. Todos nós fazemos o que podemos, mas é preciso fazer mais.Testes não estragar um pouco isso. Obrigado por seus pensamentos.

  • http://www.richullman.com richullman

    You’re right.
    Wide eyed optimism is something to behold in a 5-6 year old… as is the dogged determination to get certain things done.  Too bad that cynicism often kicks in.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Cynicism is just a temporary illness. It’s like when we stop working out for a while and we forget that our bodies like it. 

  • http://www.wilsonusman.com/ Wilson Usman

    What a great way to start this morning. This post makes me realize the power of stories. After reading just the first two paragraphs I had to tell my girlfriend this story. She said….WOW send me this I want to share it. 

    Dude thanks, great post. Worth sharing with the world!

  • Claudene

    This. So fine. :)

    I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to reverse whatever it is that turns joyful, intelligent, creative and uninhibited children into mostly the opposite of that.  I think it’s one of the saddest things in our society and in our species, the way that often happens.  

    Years ago a friend excitedly told me about a book he was reading, “The Four Agreements:  A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a truly wonderful book, both simple and profound. It speaks to many things that cause us to act more like the 17-yrs olds than the 6-yr olds in your story about Picasso touring the school.

    Thank you for what would be an excellent post on any day, but is especially fitting on a Monday — this Monday.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I know the book. I haven’t read it. But now that it’s been referred to me many times over, I think I should give it a go. 

  • http://twitter.com/eproulx Erik Proulx

    Thanks for this, Chris. I’m one of those folks who has a hard time “selling.” I believe strongly in what I’m doing, and hopefully it shows in my work. Maybe that is sales enough. Maybe it isn’t. But the hard sale/cold call/money negotiation is something I’ve never been good at. Probably more fear based than anything. All I know is I’m having a blast.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      But you’ve sold people their DREAMS. You’re at the heart of a movement that sells people on the promise that the future is what they want to make of it. Believe in that? Then you can believe in selling because you’re already a pro. : ) 

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    The first things to go in schools when times are tough are the arts. They should be the LAST things to go. They are what makes us… er… you guys.. uniquely human! In Ohio, the NCLB Act created a Proficiency Test. What was focused to the test was good. what wasn’t was bad. drove me NUTS, but I was in a unique place at the right time with the NIE department at the Dayton Daily News and I could change that. I created newspaper pages and tabs that stuffed fun and learning all disguised as “testing” every other week. And it wasn’t at all the games and puzzles other NIE departments were doing. It was real journalism. 

    I was that Picasso who also visited schools and trained teachers how to use newspaper to teach. True story or not, you hit it right. Fourth-graders were all going to be artists; high school seniors, not so much.

    As for selling, I think it is the closing and asking for money that spoils that process.

    Prior to the newspaper, I sold exercise bicycles to paralyzed people. True story. Some would say that is criminal, but it really wasn’t. This device changed people; it gave them back a quality of life, gave them hope, self-esteem and a reason to continue living beyond their spinal cord injury (SCI) Many of these were young men, 19-25 who just did something dumb for 10 seconds of their life. In hindsight, I wonder how many of my customers went on to change the lives of others because they did not give up. (giving up and dying is the easiest thing to do after a SCI… many do) But I believed in what I was selling, which was the one reason I was successful at it when so many others failed. (Seriously, who would take a job selling ice to eskimos? You have got to BELIEVE strongly in your ICE!)

    Anyway, great post Chris. You just made me remember why this all works.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      That’s just it, senor Dogg. If you’re selling something you believe in, then you can do it. Changing lives? That’s a pretty good sale. 

  • http://remarkablogger.com Michael Martine

    My first world problems, let me show you them…

    Every day you wake up and you’re not dead, dismembered, terrorized or enduring a cataclysmic natural disaster is a pretty damn good day. Perspective can be just as priceless as self-awareness. Thanks for the wake-up call, man. :)

  • Kkircher29

    Chirs – thanks for the great blog! I am on the verge of starting my own business as well, where I will be doing a lot of F2F marketing. I’ve always shied away from sales, but now I’m selling a service I believe in. My sales skills are more like the enthusiastic 6 year old, rather than the 17 y/o and I have to keep that ornery teenager (and the negatives) out of my head, and the the 6 year old run free! Thanks and keep it up!

  • Jeannie Arnold

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to have today. I handed in my resignation and I start a new job next Monday. I’m scared. Do I have what it takes? Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? I was brutally honest in my interviews and these people wanted me anyway. So I’ve got to believe that maybe they’re seeing something that I’m overlooking. Reading this makes making this jump a little less scary.

  • Anonymous

    I like your message, Chris. I think we need to be more proactive. Why do you think people are becoming less proactive, and what do you think can affect a change on their attitude? -Ara

  • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

    This supports the conversation I had just this morning about sending my singing, painting, basketball shooting child to a private school. I don’t want him to be a 25 year old who thinks just because he showed up, took a test and got an ‘A” that he’s set. 

    We have so many new tools now, but they all require us to CREATE and think for ourselves. “Me too,” work is obvious, we can see it a mile away.  And lazy is easy to spot, too.

    Don’t shoot for ‘right,’ shoot for new, fun, creative. Anything we can think up, we can make real and find like minded others to support it. ANYTHING.
    So stop lamenting your woes (including spam and the trolls — who are just distracting you from creating) and do your art. The world needs the positive vibes…

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  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Ask Yoda and he’ll tell you, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    I will never be an NFL player but yet I play football just about every day. One of our visits to the field this last week had the older pop warner teams practicing. I was teaching Andrew some routes and how to throw the ball like a QB with drop back, planting, arm position and follow through and this coach was watching (creeping me out actually) and gets close enough to say to me, “hey, you ever been a QB? (Um – dude, I am a chick and mostly they do not allow chicks to play QB) I looked at him very puzzled and said No. He said “you are amazing and are really really good at what you are showing your boy.” I am so passionate about raising my son to be we well rounded and dive into things that he loves (which luckily for me is football) that I find it easy to teach him. I watch each play and how the players moved, learn it and teach it to my son. Andrew said to me after that coach said that to me, you become the best by practicing harder and longer than anyone and, mom, you are the best lady football player.

    As I am in the job hunt, it made me think about practicing. The rejection letters come in and bring me down. After reading this and thinking about what Andrew said and feeling pressure with an almost zero bank account, I realized that I am practicing with each job posting I see that I would be a good fit for. I practice every single time I send out my resume. I need to practice harder and more than anyone. I thought I was but obviously I have not been. I need to do more because the alternative is not an option anymore.  Time to go and practice some more. =-)

  • http://www.Nimble.com Garick Chan

    Hey Chris, this is a heart-tugging kinda story, sure.. but I’m 33. Is there any way for me to become an astronaut now? I think I kinda missed that boat. Also, I’m 5’6″ and fluctuate between 118-123lbs. I’m not sure I have what it takes to *ever* look like Zangief from Street Fighter II even if I used to enjoy playing that character when I was a bit younger. 

  • Chuckweinberg

    I left a company after 18 years because I didn’t believe in the direction anymore. I love helping people and it is like putting gas in the gas tank when I get to do that. In all my days around the block people always say the same thing, “Do what you love”, and when you can make money at it then it is amazing. 
    So often in life there is this, “You aren’t good enough” attitude and yet there are all kinds of people who are not “better” than anyone else who are doing it, so why not me or someone else? Sometimes it bravery, or maybe it’s stupidity in jumping in and just figuring it out, but whatever it is; it’s a blast.
    I was talking to an actual 6 year old a couple of days ago and he was ‘selling” me these Norwex towels his mom uses. He wasn’t selling in his mind, he was believing it out loud and I think we often let that die down in us as we age. Shame on us and thanks for the post.
    BTW- the towels ARE amazing:)

  • Ann Jacobs

    So your wife had more of what it takes to be a good partner and parent then?

  • http://twitter.com/HeyLiveMusic HeyLiveMusic

    Nicely done Mr. Brogan!

  • http://ochalatta.wordpress.com/ Min

    I find it sad to see how formal education is killing one’s propensity to dream and be creative. This article is a nice wake up call. Thanks! :D

  • galang

    good posting Mr. Brogan!

  • http://twitter.com/cunningmedia Cameron Cunningham

    I choose to be an excellent salesperson! Thanks for this reality check and for reminding me that I’m the master of my own desitiny.

  • http://LeeSilverstein.com Lee Silverstein

    Wow Chris. Sobering and enlightening at the same time. Thank you!

    Another loyal follower,
    L.S.

  • http://www.babygirlgiftideas.com/ Baby girl gift ideas

    Good article. But it is sad to read it since it tells the truth.

    • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

      Sadness only comes with resistance. It’s sad if you don’t truly believe it, or are afraid of the consequences, etc.

      I had a huge bout of this on Sunday. But when I looked beyond the fear and started to move on a big goal of mine… there was actually a lot of excitement hiding behind that fear.

      To me, it’s only sad if you recognize you can, but still don’t act.

  • Dave Mariano

    As someone who is in the midst of a career change, I couldn’t agree more. I feel like I’m a kid again, finally pursuing something that combines my strengths and passions. Thanks for another great post.

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

    Who wants to talk to a “salesman” anyway? I want to talk to someone who has passion and the ability to help me. If you have that, and you are willing to “ask for the order” you can sell. In fact, you already are.

  • B. Austin

    Great post. I left a cushy job with high pay to go pursue my dream of earning a master’s degree abroad. One of the scariest and best decisions of my life. I’ve never looked back. I wish more people would have faith that if they believe enough in their dreams, then anything is possible.

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  • http://coloradocoachingcompany.com Coloradocoach

    As a coach I love this type of post Chris.  These types of posts are often more fruitful, even to those looking for practical “how to” type tips.  People need to step back and look at where they settled in life.  And know that there is still time to reach again for their full potential.

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Mae Loraine Jacobs

    This is actually a very beautiful post, and it hits me right to the core. Do what you love and everything else just comes easy. It’s a very simple yet powerful philosophy unfortunately often forgotten by many. 

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  • http://twitter.com/chrisjkeaton Chris Keaton

    The Picasso story is timeless and telling. It really is all about being passionate about whatever you choose to do.

  • Peggy A Arnett

    I am 81 years old. I published my first mystery novel two years ago. My second will be out in December. My passion is writing, not to make money. I love to hear that others have enjoyed my work. I love stories. Why did I wait so long to follow my bliss? That’s another story – in fact, more than a hundred journals worth. Next, I will learn how to start a blog and do it. 

    • jolin

      You are a young people with truly courage, passion and will of living.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jenbuzzeo Jennifer Buzzeo

    I choose to start writting those articles I have titled already and scripting out the videos ideas I  have buzzing in my head!.  Thanks for the post.  Reading your posts always help light the fire under my ass early in the morning.  :)

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