If you’ve read any of my previous posts
you will see a theme of
referring to my father. For most of us, “these guys” have a way of
impacting our lives.
This Sunday my mother celebrates her birthday, however, I can’t begin
to guess her age, as she never has told us. My father was born in 1929,
so you might start there.
We grew up in a small house in Kittery, Maine; a street called Love Lane. In that small 4 bedroom, my parents raised 7 kids. I can remember every morning my father would take his lunch pail and
walk to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard while my mother would see to the
needs of the seven of us kids.
At that time, I always saw my father as the head of the household,
mostly because he would regularly remind us of that whenever we stepped
out of line. He didn’t have to say so however, because by watching his
work ethic, it was easy to respect him. However, I’m going to put my father aside for the moment, because we all know it was really my mother that ran the joint.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven every day, laundry for seven,
ironing for seven, grocery shopping for seven, church for seven, sports
for seven, doctors, etc. You name it, my mother did it. In fact, she
I compare it to raising three kids of our own and I just don’t know how the hell she did it.
I recall one day when I was a young boy, standing in her kitchen
watching her snap the ends off of about 5000 string beans in
preparation of that evenings' supper, asking if all of the work made her
“Tommy” she said looking down at me from the kitchen sink, “Just
because you don’t have any food in your stomach, or money in your
pocket, doesn’t mean that you have to let the rest of the world know
And with that she turned back to her work.
I have carried this wisdom with me throughout my life, including my career.
In the competitive world of sales, particularly hi-tech sales, you will
rarely if ever have a boss that cares if you are broke or starving.
They won’t adjust your quota down nor slip you a little extra in the
next check. Maybe some will -- I’m not trying to say that all Sales
Managers are bastards -- I’m just making the point that the mentality is,
if you want opportunity, YOU have to make it
It always amazes me how many sales people make excuses for
not making their number, or the calls they need to, or for failing to
do any of the heavy lifting that is required to really create
opportunity. It’s almost sad really: they don’t see the forest for the
trees, and all the success that a simple shift in perspective could
I am not above this criticism. Trust me there are many times when my
questions a deal and why we didn’t do this or that. I
want to give them a piece of my mind, but I don’t.
Instead, I just think of my mother, and imagine all of the chances she
has had in her life to quit, or to complain, or to let someone else
worry about it, and how she has never given in to excuse-making.
Instead, she takes a small sip from her manhattan glass, thanks god for
the opportunity, returns to her work, and moves forward.
I think there is
something for us all to learn from my mother, especially these days.
-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing