Since early March, we've devoted The Drift to the sellers in our industry who are struggling with disruption, change, uncertainty and isolation. This week we're re-purposing a post from 2015 that speaks to resilience and self-reliance...and fits the moment so well.
"At some point, everything's gonna go south on you... everything's going to go south and you're going to say, 'this is it. This is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work"
~Matt Damon as Mark Watney in "The Martian," 2015.
In the dynamically wonderful and broken world of digital marketing, media and advertising, we all live on Mars. We find ourselves alone in and facing the latest existential crisis. The technological shift that happens overnight and threatens to render your business model obsolete in minutes. The public fiasco that frightens the advertiser herd into a stampede away from whatever it is you're selling. The dawning realization that - from where you sit right now - you simply can't get to your number.
It's at times like these that I like to pass along this little gem of a speech that slid in at the end of "The Martian." Having survived the unsurvivable, Matt Damon's character makes the essence of survival very simple.
"That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home."
You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem at a time. Simplistic? Perhaps. But is there really any other way out? When I coach managers and sellers in our business I often find them feeling overwhelmed and broken by the perceived enormity of the challenges. Indeed, if you find yourself struggling intellectually with the entire issue it will, in fact, break you. But the best managers and sellers - the best executives of every stripe - all seem to have the same rhythm. They slow it down. They break it down. They solve one problem and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.
They also realize that what we do - as people and as executives - is a team sport. They tap into their own generosity and to the generosity of others. They beat back the crippling cynicism that hollows the soul and drains the spirit and they choose to believe that - given the chance - others will rally to help them.
"Every human being has a basic instinct: to help each other out. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do."
Welcome to Mars. You'll do fine here.