I used to speak with a salesman on a somewhat regular basis. He was good to speak to. And I will tell you why.
Business is business and life is life. But sometimes the two intertwine. Sometimes life bleeds into business and sometimes business bleeds into life. We are human, which means life happens.
Things happen in our personal life or something can happen in our work life that weighs us down.
Maybe we lost a sale. Maybe our boss decided to go on a shouting spree. Maybe something at home went wrong.
Maybe the love life went south or something happened to the kids or a family member.
Life happens to everyone, but yet, professionalism is expected, which means we cannot allow this to distract or deter us from our path.
This is easier said than done.
On my last sales call as a trim salesman in the garment business, my back was against the wall. I needed a big sale and fast.
I lost one of the largest orders I ever received. I had shelves of product that one of my customers refused because the customer decided they were not going to use that style.
My personal relationship was failing and my living situation was in the middle of a change. Put simply, three major changes were about to happen. My home life, my love life, and my work life was about to switch.
I had just finished a small sample order for a big client, which was at no charge to them and of no consequence to me. However, the customer called with unrealistic demands on a dyed item that could not and would not be ready in time.
I managed to create an alternative idea, which I offered with no results. Over the course of a year, I did not receive any business from this buyer nor was she kind to me whatsoever. She was loud and angry.
This was her . . . . all . . . the . . . time!
I must have let the mask slip. I suppose I was not operating at my best possible potential. I lost my patience and my ability to hold my tongue. I not only explained where the buyer could go and how to get there; I explained the samples I prepared were no longer an option.
“I’m gonna tell your boss!” screamed the buyer.
“Go ahead,” I explained.
“Tell ya what, I’m going in and I will tell him for ya!”
And I did just that, which ended my days as a salesman in this office.
I was younger then. I had more options. However, I am older now and my options and freedom to explore is limited.
I have more bills and more responsibilities. I have new stressors. I have more on my plate. I have more goals and more dreams but less time to achieve them. I have life on life’s terms happening on a daily basis but there is no such thing as a pause button and time waits for no one.
Meanwhile, I have a job to do. I have companies that I interact with. I do speaking presentations. I run empowerment classes in a jail and at a homeless shelter. I have new programs that I am working on, new plans for new projects and a podcast with the occasional radio spot.
I have a home life. I have my health to take care of. I have bad days too. I have days when I interact with clients or business tenants and there are times when it is hard to wear a professional mask.
To top this off, I have to commute to Port Authority Bus Terminal. I walk the streets of N.Y.C. and move through the subways system where people push and shove.
People less than friendly. There are people that look to trip others just to watch them fall so they can act as a helping hand to get them back up. This is a tough thing. But to be me at my best possible ability, I cannot allow this to distract or deter me from my goals.
This is where mindfulness comes into play.
This is where I go back to that salesman I was telling you about.
Each time I called, the salesman explained what he was working on. He also mentioned that he was having fun.
There was something to this for me.
I would ask about his day through the usual, “Hi. How are you,” and he would always respond the same way.
He would say, “I’m just getting some work done and having some fun.”
Whenever we hung up the phone, the salesman always told me to, “Have fun.”
Instead of the usual, “Take care,” or “Goodbye,” or “Speak to you later,” the salesman finished the call with, “And don’t forget to have fun.”
He said this as a reminder.
What a great idea!
There are times when our patience is pushed to the limit. There are times at home when things break. Life happens.We experience technical difficulties, which are beyond our control.
With all of our efforts and all of our best intentions, life switches, and all we can do is endure.
I am a firm believer of meditation. I firmly believe in visualization, which is what I use in cases when my anxiety is high. There are times when I cannot walk away from my tasks. There are days when lunch is not an option. All I can do is continue and keep going.
Over the years, I have had to learn ways to perfect my own pathways of mindfulness. I use breathing techniques, which oxygenate the blood and allow the body to calm down
Throughout the course of my day, I have learned to understand that my interactions with others are only as important as I allow my investments to be.
I used to live in the mind of, “I want it now! Now! Now!”
I was aggressive rather than assertive. I was all over the place doing too many things at one time.
It was suggested the bread is never buttered properly if I spread myself too thin. This is true.
I did spread myself too thin. I was agitated. I was frustrated. I was moving as fast I could in a thousand different directions.
Maybe I should have listened to the salesman.
I put all the ingredients into my life, except for one.
I forgot to have fun.
I forgot to remember what it feels like to enjoy my time and enjoy people.
I enjoyed calling that salesman. Even when I was having a tough time at home or at work, there was something soothing about the transaction between us.
Currently, it is Monday morning. I have a list to accomplish.
But attitude is everything.
For example, while on the bus, I thought about an old piece I wrote about a day on the beach. I wrote about life in comparison to the ocean.
There is a natural current in life, which is similar to the tides of the ocean. Tides pull in and out. The waves move in and then wash back to sea
We are all this way. We are all connected at times. We all rush to the shore of our destination, and if we’re lucky, we sink into the sand of someplace warm.
Sometimes we rush in only to recede back and return to the tide.
We are all connected like this
We are all one body in the sense that when compared to an ocean we are connected by water but separated by continents. We are separated by time, life, space and circumstance.
No matter how far we drift, we are still linked somehow by a connection in a sea of people.
In some cases, some people drift away.
Their current drifts them elsewhere to see different shores.
And though we may try to keep them close, they still drift outward or choose to flow onward or elsewhere.
When life is compared to the ocean there is an important reminder to be mentioned. Or, should I call it a warning.
Always be mindful of the undertow!
The undertow is the subsurface that flows strongly in the opposite ways of the top surface current. If we are not mindful, the undertow can carry us away.
They say a strong undertow can sweep you away and drown you.
When compared to life, I say be mindful of the undertow.
Beware of the subsurface that flows oppositely of your direction.
Be mindful of the draw because a strong undercurrent can drag you into deep waters. Next thing is you come to the realization that you’ve submitted yourself to the necessary, Next thing you notice is you’ve been carried away from the shore you’ve grown to love so much.
This is what happens when we lose focus
I know I cannot force the current.
I know there is a natural flow of life.
When compared to the sea, I understand that some waves will roll in and some will roll out. I understand that some people will choose to stay and some will choose to move. Good things will happen and bad things will happen too.
So long as I am mindful then I am mindful, which means I will always know where I stand.
This is so with relationships. Some waves are meant to land and some are meant to drift out to sea.
Same as I cannot hold on to a wave once it lands or returns, I cannot hold onto friendships or people.places, or things that choose to flow differently or outward. Else, I can be caught and drown in the undertow of holding on to something that wants to go a different way
I understand life is not as easy as say, a nice day on an empty beach at Point Lookout. When compared to the ocean, life takes on many changes and challenges.
There will be nights of calm seas, sunsets of warmth, and dawns with an early glow that reflects on a clear bay.
There will be rough seas, cold waves, storms, and times when waves crash upon the rocks.
There will be waves that no longer exist and waves that newly form. We are all one body, and whether our time together was brief or our place in the sand is together someplace warm, we will always be connected . . . . somehow.
Therefore, I choose my connections myself wisely
I do the same with salespeople too.