What to Do When You Get Knocked on Your Butt

Jake got the phone call late on Friday afternoon. His position was being eliminated. He was out of work. What the heck!

Less than six months ago he’d been recruited from another company. He was happy where he was and doing very well. He wasn’t looking to make a change. While the offer was very tempting, and the new company seemed to have lots of potential, Jake warned them it would take time to build up sales in the US. 

“No problem,” he was told. “We understand. We know it will take time to build the brand. We want you to do it.”

Now, six months on, he’s on the street, his whole world turned upside down. Most people would be upset … whine a bit and feel sorry for themselves. Not Jake!

He got the call on Friday afternoon. By Wednesday, less than three business days later, he had contacted 26 potential employers or referral sources. He talked with three who were seriously interested, another who was considering creating a position for him, and several who were getting ready to refer him. Wow! That’s in only three days.

“It’s always tough when you lose – you’ve worked so hard for that moment and it hasn’t gone the way you wanted. But you have to realize there’s always a bright side, you have to pick yourself up and get ready for the next game.”

  • Maria Sharapova

What makes Jake’s story unusual? It’s not that he was recruited and then cut lose. The world of business being what it is, that situation happens all too often. What makes the story unusual is Jake’s reaction … the speed with which he bounced back. He didn’t sit on his butt and hope for something to happen. He went out and put things in motion, so he’d find a new job as quickly as possible.

A few more things made a big difference in this story. Jake has an incredible reputation. He worked hard to develop it. He also has a huge network to tap into. He became known as the “go-to” guy in his industry. Over the years, he kept in touch with people and was always willing to help others. Now that he needs help, they are there for him.

What can we learn from Jake? 

  • Stuff happens in life. Whether it’s business or personal, we’re going to have ups and downs. Celebrate the good times and learn to deal with the setbacks.

  • When you stumble, when you get knocked on your butt, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

- Winston Churchill

  • Change is constant. Most change is outside your control. Don’t worry about it, but be prepared to deal with it when it happens. Companies get bought out, management changes, your Rabbi retires, all sorts of unexpected stuff can happen. Wear your seat belt.

  • As you go through your career, constantly strive to grow your value and your expertise. Be the best you can be. Be an “A” player. Leave mediocrity to others.

  • Build and maintain your business relationships. Stay in touch with people. As Wilson Mizner wrote:

  • “Be nice to people on your way up because you might meet them again on your way down.”

  • Don’t wait for other people to help you. They’re busy with their own challenges. But don’t hesitate to ask for help. You’ll be amazed by the response you get.

  • Review your goals … what you want out of life. Then go get it. As Reggie Leach said:

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

Look, stuff happens to all of us. Some of it good, some of it sucks. What’s important is how we deal with it. The Jakes of the world seem to always land on their feet. That’s because they work hard at it. They’re the winners in the world. Others give up. Maybe they’re waiting for a miracle that’s never going to happen.

We all have choices. When we get knocked on our butts, we can lay there and wait for help, or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back in the game. We can also decide we’re tired of the game and look for greener pastures … whatever or where ever they might be.

I’m Oliver Connolly and I help sales leaders build a sales force that makes quota, regardless of how often they get knocked down. Contact me t oliver@streetsmartsalesmanagement.com for a no BS conversation about your sales management challenges.

Check out my website https://www.streetsmartsalesmanagement.com for some FREE STUFF on sales and sales management.

Oliver Connolly