Posted by: drewdice | May 11, 2009

Sherlock Holmes had it right

Remember the saying that made Sherlock Holmes famous (in addition to the great mysteries he solved, of course)? Well, there is a correlation between that, and how the universe works, in my opinion, anyway.

I often wonder why sales professionals, and humans in general, have such a tough time finding success, happiness and fulfillment. There are countless books, websites, and cd’s that can teach people a process, methodology or system to attain financial freedom, personal satisfaction, promotions, love, and just about anything else someone may desire. SHAMELESS PLUG COMING: At some point in the future, expect to add my name to the list. I’ll certainly author a book (or more), so be on the lookout.

Many of these authors offer valid and reasonable suggestions and processes for people to improve the quality of their lives and the results they achieve. I’d surmise that many of us actually purchase and read multiple books on similar or the same topics (sales, leadership, financial health, self help, and so on). Aside from a person’s individual passion for reading or thirst for learning, why don’t we “get it” after reading just one book? What is it that prevents a connection between what we read and digest to our ability to act on this new information and form sustainable behaviors?

I’ve seen this first hand, coaching and training hundreds of sales professionals and business leaders in the past 17 years. Let me assure you that some of these folks are unbelievably talented, extremely intelligent, highly motivated, and passionate about winning. All of that said, can you imagine that the 80/20 rule applies, almost to the number? 80 percent of these folks, and I’d argue all individuals, just will not rise to their potential, and will be unable to fulfill their dreams and desires. The other 20 percent? Well, they are wildly successful (personally and professionally), and regardless of the environment, situation, geography, or challenge, they find themselves at the head of the class. In my opinion, that is more than just a shame, it is a downright crime.

What to do about this? Well, to start with, I’d suggest a shift in thinking. This isn’t about finding a new trick or tactic, this is about remembering who we are as humans: living, breathing organisms who strive to achieve and live to love and be loved. How does that tie into achieving what a person wants? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of a sales person:

The 80 percent of the salespeople who don’t regularly sustain high levels of achievement typically point to things out of their control, regardless of whether they win or lose (good or bad economy, weather, bad prospects, lgreat leads/lack of leads from their firm, products that sell themselves/bad products, internal service issues, luck, you get the point). Their success is not duplicable, scalable or consistent. They are always looking for ways to come up with a new way to outsmart their prospects.

The 20 percenters, on the other hand, think differently, so they behave differently (not the other way around). They focus on abundance (of prospects, opportunities, relationships, ways to help people), as opposed to scarcity. They think about others, what prospects, customers and ambassadors want, what those people value, and how, as human beings, they can help their communities, regardless of whether or not it generates sales today.

Does this sound crazy? Could it really be as simple as what people believe, what they focus on, and how they think that determines their success? While acknowledging the importance of skill, training, and process, the answer is still yes, it does come back to a person’s mindset and beliefs (visit for more information on this theory). These are the foundation to what a person can achieve, and form the basis for sustainable success and happiness. That’s right: if you want to get what you want, want what you’ve got! Life is all about choices, so choose every minute of every day.

Nobody determines your worth, knows what you can accomplish, or sets limits on how deeply you care for others. These are personal choices, and as soon as an individual realizes the power contained in this way of thinking, she will unlock the immeasurable power that can lead to a life of fulfillment beyond her wildest dreams.

As Sherlock said, it is elementary, my dear Watson!



  1. Really good post, Andrew. It is “elementary”, but sometimes I think all the books, papers, and experts make it seem like “rocket science”. I would add that we don’t need to complicate things…we need to keep things simple and human.

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