I'm not going to do a thorough book review or highlight all the many excellent aspects of Dave's book- I'm sure you can find numerous people who will give you that information. The book is full of leadership and business principles, but most, if not all, of these principles apply to the entry level employee or the unemployed. The book is as much about character as it is about business. I can be a leader in my job; I can be a leader in my areas of service.
The chapter I just finished was one that I was pretty sure did not apply to me. I approached this chapter on sales with halfhearted interest, only determined to read it because I have to read a book in its entirety. And wow, I was certainly wrong about this chapter application in my life. You see, I've always had issues with 'sales people'. I don't enjoy people coming up to me in stores when I'm shopping, I don't like it when people try to sell me products. I've never enjoyed multi level marketing and get annoyed when 'friends' call me up to 'chat' in order to sell me their product. I'm just not a fan. Dave gave an illustration about pushy sales in the book: he likened it to the sales person being a hammer and the client was the nail. Ouch! I don't want to be a nail, with a sales person hammering me with information, facts, and pushy tactics in order to get me to buy into what he or she is selling.
But, this chapter has guided me into the realization that I am a salesperson. I'm in sales every day. At my job, I 'sold' people on the idea that their clients needed mental health services from our organization. I provide statistics, write grants, and attempted to serve other organizations in order to provide the best possible care to their clients. It was pretty easy for me to find a balance in this area. I think I did an okay job of not pressuring other providers. I gave them information and let them come to us. The same has applied at my teaching job. I 'sell' my students on the importance of their internship, the importance of coming to class and doing their assignments.
I'm also a salesperson in my daily life. This blog is called 'the Everyday Activist', because I've found that very few days go by where I don't think about, talk about, or do something about any of the causes in which I'm involved. I care deeply for people and I want to fight injustice. That's why I became a social worker, that's why I follow so many different charities and advocacy organizations. That's why I take part in the political process and why I talk about slavery and sweatshops at dinner parties. I feel like God made me to fight for justice. I'm deeply passionate about this area of my life. I feel like these causes are important, and should be important to everyone. So essentially I'm in 'sales' while in my fight for justice. But it’s been a humbling realization for me that just as much as I hate being 'hammered' by a Amway or Mary Kay salesperson, I can't 'hammer' people with my causes either. I have to be sensitive to the people I'm talking to, the people I spend time with. Some of them can't emotionally handle the grim facts surrounding slavery and trafficking. Some just don't care, and pushy behavior may just drive them further away. Of course, it would be just as easy to go to the other extreme and just give up. I've met many former activists and social workers who just gave up and became jaded towards the causes they once so passionately fought for. I don't want to enter into that realm either.
I have many nuggets of truth I'm taking away from 'Entre Leadership'. Today's nugget is essentially about finding balance in my 'sales'. I don't want to hammer my loved ones into embracing the causes. I need to approach this area with sensitivity, intelligence, patience, and much prayer. I want you to be disgusted by slavery. I want you to reach out to help your impoverished neighbors. I want you to buy products made in fair labor factories and fields. I want you to contact your representatives about slavery, the LRA, child protection, fair labor practices, and other local and global issues. But I don't want to be a hammer. I'm trying to sell you into fighting for justice and helping those who are desperate need of intervention. I passionately believe in this 'product' so I'm going to attempt to approach my activism with sensitivity. Some things make me angry, and righteous anger is justified. But at the end of the day I want love to be what we're selling, love that ultimately is manifested through the fight to end injustice around our world.