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Between The Ears
This is an important moment in my life. I am on a silent journey, one I must embark upon alone. If you’re open to it, I would like to share my insights with you in hopes that you can relate.
Here goes …
Sales is my responsibility.
Sales is all encompassing. I sell for my company, I sell my ideas, I sell people on making investments (or allowing me to make investment in them), and I sell people on why they should listen to me.
Sales is a grind job. It’s a job of endurance.
Endurance is my super power. I’ve yet to meet a single person (besides my father) who can keep up with me over a long enough time line. It’s been my gift and my curse.
What most people don’t understand about entrepreneurship is that building a business is mostly about making choices. It’s the single most important factor in determining whether you’re successful or not. And believe me, being responsible for decision making is not what it seems.
This is why I always laugh inside when people say things to me like “oh must be nice to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.”
Like yeah, it’s really awesome to think about this one thing, non stop, every second of the day, every day, without fail. It’s so great to be laying in bed at night while constantly second guessing myself or playing out all the possible scenarios of choices I haven’t made and probably never will make. This is the burden of choice. This is what I signed up for.
And I fucking love it.
Only the paranoid survive.
It’s easy to make choices when you’re on your own, but it becomes very difficult when you have a team. The reason is because the choice itself becomes only as powerful as the trust you’ve earned.
You can lead, but will they follow?
Other than becoming a husband and a dad, being a leader to my team has been the highest honor of my life.
Except, not anymore.
I’ve been replaced. What’s worse, is that I replaced myself.
Yesterday, Tricia (the director of operations for my company) kicked me out of a slack channel. I was cracking jokes when she was trying to be serious and without hesitation, she removed me from the conversation.
What’s important to understand is that she made the right choice. At this point, I’m a distraction more than anything else. No one needs me anymore. We’ve built a team, an ecosystem, and a culture of accountability that is self sustaining.
They do not need me.
The last bit of control I have in my company is with sales. I’ve closed millions of dollars of business over the last few years. I’ve been very proud of these deals. I love it. There are few things in life that make me feel more alive than the feeling I get when I see an email notification telling me that a contract was signed.
You can’t force people to sign high dollar contracts. You MUST persuade them and make them FEEL like working with you is the right choice.
You can’t close these types of deals with fancy copywriting, or abandoned cart email funnels. This isn’t marketing in the way that millennials think of it. TikTok and Facebook ads won’t get these deals signed.
It’s persuasion in the truest sense. Your voice can’t shake. Not even a little bit.
It’s taken years to build the reputation and the skillset that assists in persuading people to willingly sign a paper that puts them on the hook for multi six figure commitments. It’s a huge responsibility for me. I take it very seriously. This trust must not be broken. Providing a great service, generating results, and knowing that our customers trust us is a very serious thing. We do not fuck around when it comes to honoring our commitment to our customers.
That’s why getting these deals signed has been such a meaningful part of my life. It’s a form of redemption I suppose. I’ve built my character and the signed contracts are the proof.
I can’t explain it. It means so much to me.
And now, I am replacing that part of my life as well.
This week, I hired my first sales rep.
I am intentionally replacing myself and forcefully removing myself from the position in which I have found so much meaning. I know it’s the right thing to do and even though it’s uncomfortable, I realize I am not going to be closing deals for the rest of my life. If I don’t do this now, I will deeply regret it.
But, that doesn’t make it feel any less daunting.
For the foreseeable future, I will start each day (after the ice bath and coffee of course) by teaching someone how to do what it is I love to do, so that I don’t have to do it anymore. It’s strange and scary and cruel.
As you can imagine, I’ve recently been having difficulty managing my thoughts.
I’ve been sober for almost 14 years. I haven’t even taken Benadryl. I’ve been as clear minded as clear minded can be. But that doesn’t mean I’m fixed.
I have a perpetual machine in me that it always looking for ways to escape itself. I’ve kept myself out of trouble with work, fitness, Muay Thai, more fitness and of course writing.
I write and I write and I write. Writing and selling is heroin, and that’s not a metaphor.
All the while, I’m trying to come to grips with the demon inside me. The silent and quiet demon who would kill me as soon as he had the chance.
The point is, being inside my own thoughts is a dangerous place for me to be.
By now, I hope you see the pattern. Don’t worry I see it too. I’ve put myself in a position where I am constantly hunting. I am the shark that dies if it stops swimming. I feel comfort in the chaos. I feel peace inside the chase. The worry and the fear I feel is comforting to me, because it gives me something to focus on. It gives me a task to accomplish and the stakes are high. This way, I can dedicate my full focus and energy on closing the next deal. And there is never an end to “one more deal.” The endlessness of it keeps me from having to stop to look at myself.
And, that’s why I am learning about stoicism.
I’ve been very grateful for the book I’m reading, called Stillness is the key, written by Ryan Holiday. I’m learning how to be still. I am teaching myself how to be comfortable in the silence and how to have more control over what I say to myself.
This has been the least productive week I can remember. I’ve made zero progress on anything meaningful. Rather, I should say IT FEELS like I’ve made zero progress, because all the work I’ve done has been done with the intention of removing myself from the equation.
Feelings aren’t facts. None the less, I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten so little done in the way of brute force.
I’ve gone for long walks. I’ve left my headphones in the car at the gym. I’ve done my Wim Hof breathwork and then I sit in the darkness, alone and silent. I’m doing this because I need to learn how to be still and how to be comfortable with the idea that everything is ok.
I am okay.
The point was always to build a business that can function without me. In the meantime, I have to learn how to function without it. It’s critical that I learn this. If left to my own devices, I will gladly continue to work 60 hour weeks and before I know it, life will have passed me by.
Believe me, when it happens, it happens quick. I am not special. I am not immune to relapse. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times. That is not an acceptable outcome for me. I have too much to lose. So I do what must be done to protect what it is I have.
Before I can control the outcome of my life, I have to learn how to control the outcome of my thinking. How do I control my thoughts without the chase?
I must be in control of what happens between my ears.
Wish me luck. Rather, wish me stillness.