Nearly two years ago I launched the Champions of RISK podcast because I love hearing how people came to a decision at a particular moment to take action in absence of clarity of the outcome. We all go through phases where we experience an abundance of uncertainty. Sometimes fear stops us in our tracks and other times we don't let anything stop us. In this episode, I share one of the periods in my life where I took a huge risk by declaring my goals, what I was going to do when I achieved them, and the actions I took to make it possible.
This is Part 1 of the story. Part 2 will reveal how this one decision opened up an entirely new world of possibility.
Michael Kithcart 0:03
Hello, I'm Michael Kithcart. I'm a performance coach for sales leaders and teams and the creator of the Wynning Your Way framework. Welcome to the Champions of RISK Podcast, where we examine the many aspects of risks so that we can all face uncertainty with more courage and confidence together.
Michael Kithcart 0:19
Today, I want to talk to you about the biggest risk I've ever taken in my life. And I didn't even realize that it was the biggest risk or that it was risky. And I'm curious to know, if you have ever felt so certain about something, even if you didn't know how you were going to do it, but that you felt so certain that you just said it out loud. You said it proud, you proclaimed it, you declared it. And in doing so, it actually propelled a whole other series of events to take place to actually actualize what you had declared.
Michael Kithcart 1:09
When has that happened for you in your life? Stop and think about that for a moment. Because what I'm about to share with you, I haven't shared for years, and because I just kind of didn't even think about it, it just wasn't that big of a deal. So I want: before I share my risk story with you think about your risk story. When was the time when you dreamt what maybe others thought was an impossible dream, an impossible goal. And there was something inside of you that just said, No, I'm going to do it. Maybe it was about moving somewhere else. Maybe it was a dream job that you wanted. Maybe it was every relationship that you wanted to have, maybe it was that client that would never ever respond to you. And then you just made it so that they turned into like the best client ever on the face of the planet. You know, I don't know, something like that.
Michael Kithcart 2:11
But just think about it. Because here's the reality, this is why I'm stopping you down. Before I share my story. We all have one, we really do. And sometimes because we're just on to the next thing and the next thing, right, we don't actually stop down and think that was actually pretty cool. It was pretty amazing what got accomplished. So I want you to maybe go back, maybe it's something that only happened a couple of weeks ago, maybe in my case, it was years and years and years ago.
Michael Kithcart 2:49
So with that, here is my risk story. This is probably why I love having a Champions of RISK podcast, I just have to say, because there are so many things that we do, I mean, just walking out of your door, on any given day can be a risk, right. But sometimes we don't really even stop and consider that we face high levels of uncertainty in different phases in our lives. And there may be moments when we let that uncertainty turn into fear and stop us in our tracks. And then there are other times where the uncertainty just doesn't matter. Because there is certainty and the desire to make something happen. And that is the case with me.
Michael Kithcart 3:46
So let me take you back way, way, way, way, way, way back. I was an account executive, a salesperson 100% commissioned salesperson who had had, you know, some success in in selling and was doing all right. And it just kind of seemed like what was, what was going to be next for me. And so I just started thinking about the coming year. And it was like, What do I want to what do I want to do that? That would just be like crazy, like what if I doubled my income? What if I made more money than I had ever made in my life? And And what if, you know, I broke all kinds of sales records.
Michael Kithcart 4:40
And I just started making this list of things that I wanted to accomplish in the course of the next year and a lot of them more business related. Okay, they were around this idea of what if I just had my best year ever, what would that look like? And I made a list of I know I don't even remember but it was it to me, It felt like it was like 8 or 10 things. And then what was going to happen is I was going to achieve all of these things, I was going to check every single one of those those goals off. And then I was going to quit my job.
Michael Kithcart 5:18
So you might think, huh, okay, cool. Did you do it? Well, before I share that with you, you may be thinking, like, Where's the risk in that? You just kind of like or dreaming big. And yes, it is true, I was dreaming big, I want to point out I was, I was thinking about things that I had never really thought before. And that I had certainly never achieved before. So after I wrote them all down, I thought, the next best thing to do would be to give it to my boss, like, give the list like, here's everything that I'm going to achieve over the next 12 months.
Michael Kithcart 5:57
And that's when I got a sense of that, what I had written down was kind of lofty, because well, my bosses were, you know, supportive and said, Oh, yes, by all means, please just achieve all these things. But we're not going to get your budget at that number. And maybe it would be good if you just picked one thing on this list?
Michael Kithcart 6:20
And I get what they were doing, right? Like the the sales persons, I don't want to necessarily say it's ego, but let's just say it is can be somewhat fragile, right? It can be such an up and down business. And I know, having become a sales leader later myself is that you want people to kind of stay as, as plateaued as possible, like to try and get rid of some of the deep valleys. And, you know, have the peaks happen more often. So they were trying to be protective of my, my well being, I will say, I think that's kind of generous. But I of course, you know, was at the stage in my life, I was in my late 20s. And I was just like, No, I'm just going to hit all these things. So here you go. And then I'm going to quit my job. And so I think the the, what I really want to share with you on this is that it helps to put it out there to proclaim it, it's one thing to write it a goal down for yourself. And to put it on piece of paper and maybe even post it.
Michael Kithcart 7:35
But I started saying it out loud. And then I started saying it out loud to others, but not like a lot of others. Okay, just like my bosses, probably my family. But I really, every time I said what I wanted to do, it felt more likely that I was going to make it happen. And granted, when I made this list, I didn't know how I was going to do it. I didn't know how I was going to hit these revenue goals and income goals. But I just felt like it would be a really fun way to spend the year. So the risk was in sharing it with others and saying out loud and proclaiming it. In my mind, my recollection is I was very adamant that these things were going to happen.
Michael Kithcart 8:29
And when I shared this story, because I did share it recently, people were like, what was the difference? Like, what did you start doing differently? Because the key here is I was saying I was going to do something that I had never done before. Like, not by a longshot. These were big, lofty goals. And I remember once I kind of put it together, I started thinking about what are some of the things that I'm going to need to do differently, or more consistently that I was already doing that was giving me some success?
Michael Kithcart 9:09
I really believe one of the biggest differences is that I spoke it into existence, I really did say it out loud. I reviewed that list. I had it in my drawer. And every time I hit one of the goals that I said I was going to hit, I check marked it. So I always had it front and center.
Michael Kithcart 9:36
And the other thing that I did because of it being sales, I always had the sales number in front of me. Now I have the big year end goal. But I would then break it down into months. So every month I knew that I had to hit at least X amount of dollars in revenue in order to hit my number. And, you know, commissioned strong features are different, you earn different percentages based off of what you're selling. I didn't worry about all that, I just kind of figured out the bigger numbers, if I hit these bigger numbers, whether or not I, you know, sold something that earned me 10% commission or 15%, commission didn't really matter, because it would just all wash out. So I think there's a distinction there, right, it's like you break it down, but you don't break it down. So minute late, that you just kind of forget the point.
Michael Kithcart 10:36
So I just had that number in front of me, and I would- I would cross it out, and I'd mark it down, get myself to zero every month. And you know, sometimes I would have a better month than others. And so that made things easier for me going forward. But I always had that number in front of me, I bet I saw that number 20 times a day.
Michael Kithcart 10:57
The next thing that I did is I identified like, what were the few things that I needed to do consistently, that would make the greatest impact would increase the likelihood of me hitting that revenue goal. And for me, that meant, who were the clients that I was working with, that had the greatest opportunity to grow. And it just hadn't gotten them there yet, you know, because maybe I wasn't spending enough time with them. I hadn't come up with enough good ideas, I hadn't asked for the money, I don't know salespeople out there is that ever happened to you, you just flat out haven't asked for it?
Michael Kithcart 11:38
And so I identified I don't remember, but it was like three, five of the very, very most accounts that I determined that I was going to have contact with every single week. And that meant that I would just I'd pick up the phone and see how they were doing what was new, what was going on, I'd go to lunch with them, you know, every now and then - I wouldn't talk shop, I'd send them an article, I just like kept constantly trying to be a resource. And also just really knowing all the other things that were going on in their lives.
Michael Kithcart 12:19
And that made a huge difference. It wasn't that I you know, I went after a whole ton of new clients, I did generate new business. But it wasn't just about that, it was really about going deeper. And we hear that right. As salespeople, the likelihood that you're going to sell something to somebody that you're already doing business with is far greater than a brand new prospect. But I had a plan around it, and I executed it.
Michael Kithcart 12:48
And then I did some things really consistently. Just like I had a cadence, a cadence of outreach to clients of prospecting, I also have these goals of like that I'd be the first person and to work all the time. And, and that I would do whatever it took to actually get the work done to make one more call to put together one more proposal. So I'm gonna fully acknowledge that some of the things that I did to get to those goals weren't the healthiest. But I want you to hear out of this message, that there, it's more about that I put it out there. And I went big, and I went for it. And I identified a few actions that I thought were going to make the biggest difference. And I executed on them consistently.
Michael Kithcart 13:45
And I also worked out I at least five times a week. I mean, I just made that absolutely part of the routine first thing in the morning, because I needed to have the energy and the stamina to do the things that I wanted to do. Now, I also did some things flat out that I'm going to say don't do this. Because it in hindsight, as I have often grown as a person. As I become wiser with age, I can look back at this timeframe and just say, Yeah, I hit that. I hit the goals because I didm- I hit every single goal that was on that sheet of paper, and then some more that I added partway through the year.
Michael Kithcart 14:41
I hit them all, and I did it at great personal expense. I felt like in order for me to achieve what I said I was going to do that it meant that I had to you know work ridiculous hours, and that I had to sacrifice sleep. And that, you know, I would spend entire weekends at the office to catch up and do things. And it was all my choice. And it was all at a time in my life when I had the ability to do that. But I'm so much more interested in talking to entrepreneurs and salespeople, sales professionals, about how do you actually achieve what's important to you in life, without sacrificing yourself to the point where you can't even enjoy what it is that you have accomplished?
Michael Kithcart 15:44
That sound familiar at all? Because I can say that, that sounds very familiar to me, at certain times in my life, and it's probably why I coach around it right, because there is another way. And if I can prevent someone from going through some of the things that I've gone through, I think I think that's noble work. I do.
Michael Kithcart 16:09
So I want to share, I wanted to share this example with you. One is because it really was a risk that I didn't, that I didn't realize was until way after the fact. And now I can look back on it fondly, and calmly and even critically, and just say, Yeah, I did that. And you know why I went back to the story, I went back to the story because I wanted to read - I was searching for myself, like when were times when I've taken big risks, when I've just said I'm going to go do something I had no idea how it was really going to come about. And, and it actually worked. This isn't the only example in my life, just like you have more than one example of times when you know the universe has aligned with you, or that you've spoken something into existence, or you've just wanted something so badly. And maybe it didn't turn out exactly the way that you thought it was going to. But it absolutely turned out in your favor. Right?
Michael Kithcart 17:16
We all have those moments and those situations in life. And they are valuable for us to go back and reflect on them. Because they remind us that we are capable of doing things that we've never done before. So that we can prepare ourselves to do that again. And that's why I went back to that story. Because it's like, it is time for me to level up, I am ready to go to another stage with my business and with my clients that I have never gone before. And in preparation for that, I started to remind myself of when that's happened in my life before so that I can say yes, I know I'm capable of doing that. And I'm getting ready to do it again. And it feels pretty darn good.
Michael Kithcart 18:09
The cool thing about this is that I absolutely achieved what I said that I was going to, and that in my memory, I really never got hung up on how it was going to happen. I just really believed it was going to, if I worked hard enough, if I work smart enough, if I did a few of these key things, it would just work out. And that is what I am reminding myself now as I am preparing for my next stage of growth. Is that: don't get hung up on how, just believe it's possible. Do a few key things right? And even if it's not exactly the end goal, I'm gonna get so much closer to it than if I take some of the other approaches that I've taken at different times and in my life.
Michael Kithcart 19:07
So what are you willing to risk? Huh? What what's out there that feels like something that maybe isn't quite attainable, something that gets you a little excited? Gee, it would be really nice if I did this, what is that? And let's, let's commit let's take this journey of risk together. Because A), it's way more fun to do it together than to do it solo. And we all know that we're capable of more than what we're doing right now.
Michael Kithcart 19:41
And I don't, I'm not talking about doing more. It's even, I think it's more of being more. There's another level that's of experience that's possible for each and every one of us. So what's it going to be what's it going to be for you? I'm having a lot of fun figuring that out for me, for my business and for my clients.
Michael Kithcart 20:04
So we will continue to be champions of risk, now and into the future. Thanks for listening to my story. If you like any of the other podcast episodes that I've had, I've said, I've had some amazing guests in the almost two years since I launched Champions of RISK. So if you like any of the podcast episodes, I would love it, if you would share it with a friend with a family member, or just go into the podcast platform that you listened to most and rate Champions of RISK podcast, it really helps other people be able to notice it. And if you are finding value in any of these episodes, then chances are others will too. And I would just so appreciate your help with that.
Michael Kithcart 20:51
And the last thing that I just I want to share with you is if you kind of got a little excited hearing about going after big audacious goals and making them actually happen, then you may also like this free download that I have on the five elements to energized. And the connection with this is that I provide examples and questions for you to ask yourself in these five key element areas that can help you identify action that you want to take now. And these five elements when done on a consistent basis not only energize you, but they really propel you forward. They're absolutely in support of any big dream goal achievement that you want to set for yourself. So I invite you to get that download. It's free and the link is in the show notes. And I'll catch you on the next episode of the Champions of RISK podcast.