|Michael Mulligan celebrating 38 years of tennis and about 1,000,000 hits.|
(excerpt from my first job interview after college)
"Can you sell tennis memberships?"
Day 1 priority -- sneak in the book, How To Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins, and hide it in my desk drawer. Read a snippet before each tour of the club with prospective members.
At the end of my first presentation, I asked, "Would you like to buy a membership?" My voice rose two octaves and then cracked at the end of the question. I could barely breathe. Then, I did something that changed my life... I made a decision to get better. I scoured that book for tips on how to sell and kept practicing.
After thirty days on the job, membership sales soared, my weekly teaching calendar was filled with forty hours of lessons and my voice finally stopped cracking when I asked for the sale.
I started playing tennis the summer before my freshman year in high school. I was so bad I resorted to hitting on the backboard rather than chasing balls over the fence. I preferred practicing on the racquetball courts because they had three walls and no one could see how terrible I was. My first year in high school, I made the freshman team at the beginning of the school year. JV tryouts were in the Spring. Despite all the practice, I failed to make the JV cuts. I became team manager and handed out towels. Every day, I spent time on the backboards, hitting thousands of balls. When high school was over, I was on my way to becoming one of the youngest USPTA certified teaching pros in the country.
This blog started over three years ago. A couple of relatives checked out my first story in late August, 2009. That was about it. The first three months of writing produced approximately twenty-five visitors. Hardly memorable. Most bloggers give up after just a few stories. I kept writing. I joined a writers critique group. They encouraged me to stay with them. And on March 17, 2011, I became a self-published writer. In about four months, I will be celebrating 100,000 page views on this blog, now read world-wide. A couple of professional organizations have published some of my stories. My number one supporter believes my next story should be made into a movie.
The real key to getting better at anything is to make a decision right now to do something, anything, that will make you better today than you were yesterday. Do this every day for the rest of your life. Don't worry if your voice cracks in front of a crowd. Be happy that you are facing your fears and keep going.