What will people think?
I heard Anne say, “Just do it! Never mind what other people think!” I thought to myself, this will be interesting, and I stepped into the doorway of her office. Anne signalled me to come in.
There were two other people in her office, and they were obviously into their conversation, so I pulled a chair over and sat quietly as Anne continued with her story.
“If you are like me, you were raised to be mindful of what other people would think or say about you; to believe that if you behaved “properly,” people would think and speak well of you. We now know that is not true.
"People may speak ill of you no matter how hard you work to please them or conform to their expectations. If we hang onto the belief that we can somehow control their thoughts or their words, we will never try anything new.
"Some years ago, I found myself persuaded to represent a cosmetic and skincare line. While I particularly love the lip colour product (it stays on all day, without drying your lips or transferring to cup or mug), I don’t know what possessed me to agree at the time.
"My company was growing, and I had little free time to take this on.
"When I agreed to represent this line, I paid a distributor fee and placed an inventory order of $3000! It was just a little too much to discard.
"As with all things, once I have made a promise or a commitment, I am determined to follow through. So, I studied the training materials, tried all the products myself, memorized the ingredients, plucked up my courage and set a goal to be the top salesperson in Canada for the coming year.
"You might wonder why that was a big deal. Well, my company provides marketing research and intelligence to help other companies retain their customers and grow their sales, but I had always said “We don’t sell anything,” so as not to be confused with salespeople. Of course, that was wrong, we are all in sales every minute of every day as we negotiate life, obtaining co-operation from friends, family, and coworkers, but that was my own personal dialogue.
"For me to get over that self-perception and achieve a sales leadership position was going to require some learning!
"I embarked on the journey which required that I build a customer base in the consumer world, and I didn’t want to be selling to my own friends and family; however, I did find myself introducing the product line to my friends and my mom’s friends too once they heard what I was up to.
"Now, here’s the part about “what will people think?”
"Have you ever noticed how willing some people are to offer their opinion or share their thoughts without being asked?
"Here is a sample of the things people said to me. Remember, these were people who knew me.
I thought you were a big-wig business executive, what are you doing selling makeup?
Do you not think this is a waste of your education and business experience?
Is business so tough that you have to sell makeup?
Aren’t you embarrassed to be selling makeup?
I would never have expected you to be selling makeup!
Have you lost your mind? Who is running your company?
"Pretty demoralizing! Apparently, selling makeup is not something that smart businesswomen do.
"It was hard to push past those comments and pursue my goal, but I pressed on. I made plenty of mistakes, and, I got better at it! I participated in all available training, learned to do trade shows, private shows and one-on-one makeovers. I met fabulous women from all over the continent and formed what have become life-long friendships.
"And I met my goal of being the top salesperson in Canada, that year!
"The trophy I received commands a prominent place in my office today. It reflects what can be accomplished when you pursue your goal, despite what other people think.
"I encourage you to do likewise, with one caveat, do no harm to yourself or to others in the process.
"Pursue your goals with passion, determination, and persistence. Be concerned about what you think of yourself and the progress you are making. You are in control of one thing and one thing only in this life – YOU."
"As Nike says, “Just do it!”
The others thanked Anne enthusiastically and left me to ponder what I had heard.
Hmmm. You know, as an owl, I don't ever consider what other owls might think about me. I don't think about them! Here I am working as Anne's companion in bringing you uplifting and inspirational stories - do you know of any other owls like me?