By Christopher Kelly
As someone who races triathlons, I’m quite familiar with being ‘in the zone.’ When it happens, you are fully immersed in the moment, your body performing as you’ve trained it to over the course of several months, while your mind is totally focused on the task. Truth is, if you ask a triathlete how it is they are able to participate in what is arguably one of the arduous tests of physical endurance, they’re likely to tell you it’s the mental training they’ve done that allows them to push their bodies.
Why do I mention this? Well, it’s not really to boast about the fact I compete in triathlons, but rather to illustrate the parallels between racing and Sandler Training, for which I am a Toronto franchisee. In a triathlon, or any other athletic challenge for that matter, you have to believe you can accomplish your goal, do the necessary training and know how to apply that training in a proficient manner.
The same goes for the Sandler method of sales and sales management training. First, you have to actually believe you can achieve something greater, which comes from pushing yourself to meet a challenge. Second, you have to plan how to achieve it, that is, train to do the required thing to get to a level where you can achieve excellence. And the third element is technique, which allows you to do the thing well. Sounds simple, but without the ability to be open and growth-minded, both of which are key to the Sandler way, the results aren’t always what they could be.
A salesperson in the making
I was born in 1975 in Woodstock, Ont., but I don’t really remember living there, as my family moved to Candiac, Que., a suburb of Montreal, when I was four. Our family—which included two brothers, one older and the other younger—spent the next 10 years there, until my dad was transferred to London, Ont. My father worked for a multi-national agricultural feed organization, and his job had us moving around every few years, even to Budapest, Hungary. Although my parents and younger brother moved to Europe for a time, I decided to stay behind, along with my older brother, who was a student at Ottawa’s Carleton University.
Partway through high school and only 17, I felt leaving would be the wrong thing to do. Fortunately, my best friend and his family offered their home to me. They pretty much treated me like a son, and given their Italian background, fed me like one. I must have gained 15 lb., what with all the pasta I ate. I was a bit of a twig growing up, so I suppose they did me a favour, as I was pretty active in hockey, tennis and soccer. In retrospect, I probably should have gone to Budapest with my parents, but I don’t have any regrets. They eventually moved back to London, where my mother still lives. My dad passed away at the very young age of 61 from health complications.
I was a decent student in high school, though I was never at the top of the class. My life was a mix of athletics, school and hanging out with my friends. Given I was living with my best friend and his family, I was always on my best behaviour. I know I was pretty lucky to have been able to stay in London and live with such a wonderful family—they were extremely selfless in how they treated me. I can definitely tell you I learned to be independent at an early age, not to mention the idea I had to be clear about setting goals for myself.
The experience gave me a sneak peek into being on my own when I went to study economics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. Since I had been living away from my parents for a while, adjusting to life on campus wasn’t really an issue for me as it was for other first-year students. Studying economics happened quite by accident, though. Had I done more research on the university’s undergraduate degrees, I would have signed up for the business program. Although there was some overlap between the two programs, I could have done without the mathematics and statistics required in some of the economics courses, two subjects that were not my strong suit. Lucky for me I had a great circle of friends within the program—we all helped each other get through some of the more challenging classes.