We sometimes worry about stuff that doesn't happen, but have you ever wondered what would be if what did happen, didn't? Updated for 2021!
I met Elaine in October, 1969 as she was leaving my friend's fraternity party in search of people that were more fun. What if I hadn't gone over to check on my friend's party? Would we have met anyway? Would I have stayed in Worcester? Would Mark and Matt have been born? Would I have met Pete Caputa? Without Mark and Pete, would there be a Hubspot?
Dave Kurlan and I both sold Cutco Cutlery in the 70's. If we hadn't, would we have met anyway? Would I have met Bob Jiguere, who turned out to be my sales mentor? Would I have learned how to knock on doors, handle rejection, and develop rapport quickly without Bob's guidance? Would I have adopted the mindset that changed my life? Would I have joined Dave's firm 30 years later anyway?
If I hadn't sold furniture in a retail furniture store in the early 80's, would I have learned how salespeople could be petty thieves and how disloyal customers that 'went home to think about it' could be? Would I have learned how salespeople's managers would authorize 'special discounts' rather than teach their salespeople how to build value and hold pricing and margins? Would I have thought, "I don't want to be one of them." and bought and paid for my own sales training anyway?
If I hadn't started my collection agency in 1986, would I have heard 20 years of excuses and lies that debtors had for not paying what they agreed to pay? Would I have learned to discern who was lying and who was telling the truth anyway? Would I have learned that some people could not pay and some people wouldn't pay even though they had the cash in their pocket? Would I have been forced to learn how to maximize client retention, evangelism and sales anyway? Would I still have figured out that the reason that people stopped paying was because they became 'un-sold' and that ALL collection problems are sales problems in disguise?
If I hadn't taken a detour with Noresco in the early 90's, would I have learned how to think in millions rather than thousands? Would I have developed the 'startup' mentality and understood what it was like to need to make payroll every week? Would I have learned how to work with my engineers and use their knowledge to identify and align the needs of our clients, their utilities and our sub-contractors and suppliers as well as the executives of our clients and our employer? Would I have learned that the process that I used to sell a $2,500 study was the same process that I used to sell a $4 million comprehensive energy conservation project?
5. If I hadn't attended BNI ten years ago, would I have met Pete Caputa?
6. Would he have introduced me to hundreds of Hubspotters and Partners?
Notice that my "What ifs" started before I was 20 and you'll find a significant "What if" in every decade of my life. All I had to do is follow Yogi Berra's advice. When you come to a fork in the road, Take it!
Updated for 2021!
2020 was a year like no other! What if you are at a fork in the road? Will you take it? Is it your decade?