When I was 13 or 14, my grandfather decided it was time for me to learn to drive. Apparently, he was better able to judge my abilities than the DMV. Anyway, he took me up on his farm, put me in the seat of the 1988 Ford Pickup Truck, and said, “Drive.”
He gave me very little “coaching” that day. Instead he let me learn as I went. I’ll never forget how valuable that experience was. The opportunity to simply learn-by-doing still remains my preferred method of gaining a new skill. It forces me to "own" my mistakes and take greater pleasure in my victories.
There's a great lesson for sales managers in letting salespeople make their own mistakes, but the real gem came when he offered one of the few bits of advice that came that day.
As I was climbing a hill he caught be tapping the brakes.
“Never brake when you’re going uphill.”
My grandfather was a remarkably practical man, but I don’t think the double meaning was lost on him.
When you’re going uphill, you’re working harder than usual. Whether you’re working with a difficult customer, challenging a member of your team, dealing with personal issues, or driving a pickup, you've got to keep your foot on the gas. You can't tarry.
Don't brake the next time you've got to power through a tough challenge.