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What Columbus Can Teach Salespeople

Today is Columbus Day. It’s the day the United States of America marks the accidental European discovery of America.

In his book about Christopher Columbus, Laurence Bergreen made an observation about how Columbus’s search for a route to Asia was really driven by a need to prove himself. Bergreen said, “[Columbus’s] journey of recovery led to discovery.”

That sentence struck a chord because the same can be said of any setback, challenge, or deterrent that you or I face in our careers.

Columbus had been rejected many times before he convinced Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to support his journey East. Through those setbacks, his pride had suffered, and their support allowed him to recover it.

Recovering from obstacles in your sales or management efforts (or even in your personal life), leads to discovery.

Perhaps you tried to coach an underperforming rep and she didn't listen to your advice. How could you have improved your coaching? Maybe you lost a sure-sale. How could you have changed your approach? Maybe you didn't meet your manager's expectations. What did you miss?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made a mistake (if you’re like me, you may have made more than one). Rather than getting bogged down in the setback, look for the chance to step-up. What lies within it? What can you learn from it?

Back in 1492, Columbus had no idea he was sailing a new ocean blue. He thought he was floating somewhere near Japan.

Was that a mistake? Was it wasted time? Or was Columbus, instead, taking steps toward something new? It was, indeed, a journey of recovery that led to discovery.

What can you learn by taking a fresh look?

- @JebBrooks