The Young Eagle

By Tom Reilly, author of The Young Eagle

The nest of young eagles hung on every word as the Master Eagle described his exploits. This was an important day for the eaglets. They were preparing for their first solo flight from the nest. It was the confidence builder many of them needed to fulfill their destiny.

“How far can I travel?” asked one of the eaglets.

“How far can you see?” responded the Master Eagle.

“How high can I fly?” quizzed the young eagle.

“How far can you stretch your wings?” asked the old eagle.

“How long can I fly?” the eaglet persisted.

“How far is the horizon?” the mentor rebounded.

“How much should I dream?” asked the eaglet.

“How much can you dream?” smiled the older, wiser eagle.

“How much can I achieve?” the young one continued.

“How much can you believe?” the old eagle challenged.

Frustrated by the banter, the young eagle demanded, “Why don’t you answer my questions?”

“I did.”

“Yes. But you answered them with questions.”

“I answered them the best I could.”

“But you’re the Master Eagle. You’re supposed to know everything. If you can’t answer these questions, who can?”

“You.” the old, wise eagle reassured.

“Me? How?” the young eagle was confused.

“No one can tell you how high to fly or how much to dream. It’s different for each eagle. Only you and God know how far you’ll go. No one on this earth knows your potential or what’s in your heart. You alone will answer that. The only thing that limits you is the edge of your imagination.”

The young eagle, puzzled by this, asked, “What should I do?”

“Look to the horizon, spread your wings, and fly.”

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Singletasking vs. Multitasking

By Tom Reilly, author of Value-Added Selling

Multitasking leads to brain drain.

You’re driving to your next appointment, enjoying your Starbuck’s Mocha Frappuccino, listening to the Stones, and your cell phone rings. You answer it. At the next stoplight, you text your inside sales support rep. The light changes, and the person in back of you honks his horn. You wave and drive off, proud of your ability to multitask. Multitasking is one of those things in life that just because you can does not mean that you should.

Researchers have studied the paradoxical value of multitasking. A group of psychologists found that multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40%. Separately, researchers are now documenting the switching costs of multitasking and have found that it can increase the time-to-complete a project by as much as 25%. Multitasking leads to mistakes due to lack of focus; unsafe acts, as in texting and driving; and relationship damage, as one dinner partner ignores the other to respond to a message.

When you direct all of your attention solely to the single task at hand, you are using all of your mental resources to create something of value. When you split your attention, the task receives only part of your mental resources. You really do not need to research this to understand the practical value of this concept.

The real problem is that multitasking is addictive. It seduces people into believing that they are indispensable. Also, it triggers a dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that creates an euphoric reaction similar to the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine. Some people will argue its practicality and necessity in today’s world. For them, I offer this advice: To reduce stress, do more of less.

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No One Is a Ten

By Tom Reilly

In the 1979 movie 10, the Dudley Moore character falls hopelessly under the spell of the Bo Derek character. His struggle is the quest for this beauty. In the end, he discovers the reality that no one is a 10 and wishes to return to his prior life.

Years ago, while rifling through the seminar evaluations from a good three days with a group, I was getting drunk on the number of 10’s (on a 10-point scale) that I received from the group. They were confirming my observations that this was a good week. Until, I got to the evaluation from the most engaged participant in the group and the strongest advocate of Value-Added Selling. I expected a 12 on this 10-point scale. He gave me a 9 and a sobering lesson. He commented on the evaluation, “No one gets a 10.” I was humbled and rightly so.

No one is a 10. If you think you are a 10, you are really an 8. One point deducted for lack of insight and another to make room for growth. Thinking you are a 10 is either arrogance or complacency. The former says, “I am good enough as is—take it or leave it.” The latter says, “I’m okay where I am and don’t want to push myself to get better.” Both premises are false.

If you accept the thesis that no one is a 10, look for areas in your life where you can improve. For example, your company’s customer experience cannot be a 10 because it means it cannot get better. Don’t get drunk on your own good press. Ask instead, “Where can we improve?” Customers mislead us in customer satisfaction surveys when they give us the highest rating. It feeds our arrogance and starves our motivation to improve.

Where can you get better in your job: selling skills, product knowledge, relationship skills, attitude, organizational skills, customer knowledge, technology, or internal selling skills? You are not a 10. I am not a 10. We can all get better at what we do. Join us in May for a two-day Value-Added Selling learning experience. We can help you gain some traction on your quest to grow.