We don’t like to fail. In fact, most of us take it one step further; we only think in terms of success.

I recently read a book (see below) which had a completely different perspective. It thought in terms of failure. Instead of giving its salesmen a sales quota, it gave them a failure quota.

It wanted them to fail.

Most of us think in terms of this model:

Failure << Me >> Success

From Go For No

In actuality, we should think in this model:

Me >> Failure >> Success

From Go For No

This completely changes the game. It’s OK to fail. In fact, you should embrace your failures.

Additionally, the book made the following interesting point on failure.

“Would you agree that the average salesperson slows down when he or she reaches their quota?” my mentor asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Why do you think that is?”

“They’re rewarding themselves for their accomplishment, I guess.”

“Rewarding themselves by ruining their chances at having a record breaking week or month? No, I think it’s just another way of staying within comfort zones and avoiding the pain of rejection. Most people classify the amount of pain they must endure to survive in this world as necessary pain. Anything beyond that, by definition, is unnecessary pain. That’s why it becomes so easy to dodge that extra effort, we’ve labeled it in our minds as unnecessary.”

“That’s exactly what I did this week,” I finally admitted. “I had a great Monday going. I was three for three, and what did I do? I spent Tuesday doing paperwork, Wednesday in a focus group, and on Thursday I was going to play golf, until I fell out of bed and wound up here, that is.”

“Ben Franklin said it best: Success has ruined many a man.”


“Okay. So what if, instead of having the goal of getting four yes’s, your goal had been to get a minimum of sixteen no’s. What would have happened on Monday afternoon after you closed your third sale?”

[Recommended reading: Go for No by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz]

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