Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Lead By Example: Show Success-Do Not Show Off - December 16, 2017

Pompous. Arrogant. Egotistical. These descriptive words are my enemy. I’ve had these words used against me in my career and they’ve really hurt me. Naturally, I want to be liked, and I want my employees and peers to view me in good light. I would much prefer to be known as humble, sincere, or leader. It has been a number of years since I was referred to in the negative, as far as I know (lol), so how did I overcome such poor views.


There was a time, much earlier in my career, when I thought materialism was a sign of success. It may have been my choice of watering hole, vacation spot, the car I drove, or simply the logo on my shirt. More so, it was my attitude added to these things, that portrayed me in not so pleasant ways. Thankfully, this was a very short stint in my overall career.


I guess one could say that I was wise enough to see my poor behavior and make the necessary changes in my habits. I’d say I was lucky. I was mentoring a young man in his early sales career and I wasn’t much older myself. We were driving back to the office after a sales meeting when he said he was impressed by me as a sales person. Well, thank you. Except what should have been a compliment resonated with me in the fact that I was not really the person he was describing. James was full of compliments: nice car; that new suit looks great on you; I wish I could take my girlfriend to dinner at XYZ restaurant, maybe when I’m more successful like you; must feel good to have this, that, and the next thing; I can’t wait until things come easy for me like they do for you.


Things did not come easy for me, not in the least. At that point in my career, only a few years out of college, I was living in Ohio, the fourth state in less than four years. Nothing had come easy. But, it was my outward attitude that made James believe I was much more successful than I really was, and in fact, this bothered me. This was a turning point in my life and my career. Within a week I began to focus on my attitude, trying to be a better, more humble human being. I dropped the act. I started to show people who I was, who I really was, and became more open about struggles and challenges. Nothing came easy, and if it did, it was likely not a real success story. Ultimately, what it came down to, I stopped showing off, and learned how to show real success.


Twenty years has passed since James helped me more than I helped him. Not a week goes by where I don’t thank him. To this day I pride myself on being a sales and business leader that tries hard to show success based on effort instead of showing off. Sure, I take my family on vacation. I have more than what I’d call the basic essentials in life. But, I try very hard not to flaunt these possessions, as it is my goal to show achievement to my team in the form of new clients, new engagements, and general business success. Showing success has nothing to do with ego, showing off is nothing but ego. Be successful, my friends.

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