Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Who Do You Hang With? - January 13, 2018

I woke up extra early this morning for a variety of reasons. One, I am anxious to participate in a competition today with my Labrador Retriever, a hunting-retrieving contest. Second, it is my forty-sixth birthday, and other than the number, I am feeling better than ever physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And, third, I read an article yesterday afternoon which contained a quote that I simply cannot stop thinking about.


“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” Warren Buffett


I’ve long admired people for who they are more so than what they are or what they have. And, I have written and spoken at length about surrounding oneself with success. I feel today’s post is very personal for many of the same reasons as to why I woke up early, and I would also like to share my opinion on this quote.


For years I have worked diligently toward a successful career as a sales person, manager, business executive, entrepreneur; and on the personal side a good husband, father, son and friend. I have abandoned old “so called” friends in favor of new friends. I have distanced myself from family members who are more about exploiting others to get ahead in life. And, I have exhausted myself more times than I can count in an attempt to rid my organization of bad clients while replacing those bad with good. All through this journey I have enjoyed myself more than I have had regrets.


Around May of last year I experienced an unexpected change of plans in my business when a longtime management team member left the organization rather unexpectedly and with little notice. I was also starting to feel more like a sixty-five year old instead of a forty-five year old. I was enjoying IPA’s matched with a juicy burger too many times per month and not enough fresh fruit and salads. And, I was doing a great job of convincing myself that I was getting a good amount of exercise in.


Then, for some reason I’ve yet to put an exact finger on, I stopped the nonsense, took my own advice, and heeded the words Mr. Buffett states in the quote above. I looked around at the people I was associating with, personally and professionally, and realized I was very much their equal (at least in many ways), but I was not feeling it. It dawned on me that I needed to be a healthier person. I needed to get back to basics in terms of sales. I needed to read for enjoyment again. I needed to be more active with my family. I realized I could be a better person and I needed to start working on it immediately.


I asked myself, “who do you hang with?” The answer was not bad, not in the least, but it shed light on where I wanted to go as a person both personally and professionally. Here’s a glimpse: I would come home in the evening from work, shoot some hoops with the kids, and have a few beers in the driveway with my neighbors. My neighbors, my beer buds, are good people. We don’t have too much in common in professional terms though. One change I made was to stop drinking the beer. That led to less nights with the neighbors but more time with my kids shooting hoops. And, while shooting more hoops I realized I should be exercising more, so I joined a CrossFit gym. Fast forward and I am spending more time (hanging with) other business professionals who are into health, wellness and exercise, CrossFit or other forms.


Don’t get me wrong, I have not abandoned my good friends or my beer buddies, rather I have made choices over the past several months more so about the amount of time I’m spending with people, while trying to expand my network of those whom I deem to be positive influences on my life and career choices. Take for example the fact that I do work as a freelance consultant in the area of sales, sales management and sales performance. There are those I work with who look to me as a positive influence and I am flattered. In return I look to surround myself (hang with) those that can give me good advice, help me explore new opportunities to advance my organization, and who do so “leading by example”. I look for those whose actions speak louder than their words.


I know that I’ve taken on this challenge at other times throughout my life, in high school, college and in my career, where I’ve needed to push ahead by putting some people behind me. I feel I am in a very good place today, and I believe I am hanging with those that I not only admire, but those that want to hang with me for equal reasons.

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