Greetings from Chaminger! Today is a very important day because Social Wisdom EP #2: Michael Dudley released! In this episode we discuss the concept of becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. Sometimes in life it is way too easy to close ourselves off and end up going through the motions.
Hear the story about how Michael transitioned from a corporate sales job to a start up in the healthcare industry after having a realization that he was not doing what brought him joy and satisfaction in life. Sometimes it is NOT about the money, and finding your passion is the key. Listen to his other advice regarding sales, AB testing and growth mindset!
In other related news, we released our official Social Wisdom trailer today. You don’t want to miss it! Watch it on Youtube: TRAILER!
Check out new episodes every single Wednesday. Remember that we are always looking for guests. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be interested to share your wisdom, you never know who will resonate with your journey. Check out the audio and transcript of our entire episode below. We appreciate you for starting the journey to #BecomingXceptional with us!
Additionally, we have released multiple new DAILY CC episodes – our vlog that showcases the behind-the-scenes of Chaminger and what it takes to build a brand and podcast from zero! Watch here!
Listen Social Wisdom EP #2: Michael Dudley released
And read along – the transcript:
Fabian: Hola from Chaminger. My name is Fabian Chagoya and I’m your host of Social Wisdom. How do you know what to work on to improve? By being exposed to what is actually possible or obtainable. A major goldmine of untapped knowledge and experience is learning from others, Social Wisdom. Be a sponge, save yourself countless lessons and years of figuring it out the hard way by absorbing it firsthand from others. And here we go.
hey guys. Today on Social Wisdom, we discuss getting comfortable with the uncomfortable with Michael Dudley. So how are we doing Michael?
Michael: I’m doing fantastic, man. I’m, I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Fabian: Thank you so much for reaching out, agreeing to do this. I think there is this almost like, fear that a lot of people have getting interviewed, sharing their advice, sharing their story. There’s like this feeling that, well, I almost got lucky or I don’t know if I want everyone to know the crazy things that I did. Yet, here you are and I think there’s a lot of kudos and respect that I have to give to that.
Michael: I appreciate that, man. I’m going to let you down before I pick you back up. I don’t have all the answers. as I mentioned, uh, I probably know the wrong way to do things more than the right way, but I think that’s the big piece that, um, I, I feel like I, if I can encourage anybody, it’s just, you know, keep trying. Keep trying to listen to people that are two steps ahead of you, because you could probably learn something from their mistakes. And, and maybe if you make one less mistake, that’s, that’s fine. At the end of the day. You’re, you’re not in necessarily one straight path. It’s a wiggle, you’ll get there.
Fabian: I love that. Yes, you guys will always get there eventually and keep listening and it’ll definitely help you. I want to go into our small talk segment first, before we really get started into discussing your story and your advice and your lessons and go from there. So how have you been with everything that’s happened really over the last, I would say, year and a half. So much has changed. I know I have taken significant risks. My life has changed dramatically. I mean, I used to be much more extroverted and socializing and now I’ve been very, uh, hold up, but by choice and gladly, and I’ve realized a lot of benefits. So, I’m curious, what has kind of changed for you over the last year and a half?
Michael: Yeah, man. Well, I would say, you know, anything that I had, um, set as a, as a normal was flipped upside down. And I think back, as an individual contributor, at a healthcare software company, I did very well. I moved into management and then I, I loved being in that management role because I could kind of be drop shipped into deals. I had to know like very little and I could just basically be kind of submersed in what was going on. Um, and I feel like I could handle that really well.
So I think at 2000, uh, I guess 2019, I was in about 90 airplanes, uh, flying all over the East coast with some of the reps that I was managing. And it was, it was a whirlwind. I literally was living life like 2020 was going to have a pandemic, I felt like, looking back. And it was a wild ride and it all came to a screeching halt. And so, you know, someone who is very much an extrovert, someone who loves being around people, um, I suddenly had to kind of find joy in other things.
To be honest with you, for the first time in my life, I did have to kind of deal with a little depression. I had to understand, um, I’m not always going to get these outlets that I was getting before. I’m a kind of person who likes to go to the gym, you know, see my friends have a workout buddy. Not seeing my friends, not being able to work out, not traveling. Even, um, my role was moved from a management role to working on some other projects.
I think as, uh, at least as, as, as guys, I think girls too, they find, um, a lot of self purpose in how well they’re doing in their role or how well they’re doing at their job, or even just staying active in projects and whatnot. So, I think taking all of that away and there’s only so many episodes of Tiger King before you have to really address what life is and what is this new normal, and how long am I going to be doing this, et cetera. And so, I was kind of forced to like look at my options and I just didn’t see a future where I was. Thankfully I had good friends and they connected me with somewhere.
Through that process, I also realized that even though I was good at something, I didn’t have a passion for it and so that’s something that I had to learn. And I’m just realizing it just now, you know, I just made the decision to make a move and to leave a company that was only with for a year and that can be tough. At the same point in time, I’d moved from one competitor to another and I only have good things about to say about the organization. For me it wasn’t about whether I was good at it or not. For me, it had to do with, like when I sleep at night, when I wake up, am I excited to do what I’m doing? is this something that I feel like I’m making a difference? Does it feel like I am serving a purpose.
I remember it was, it was New Years, um, New Year’s night and I got a couple texts from some of my reps that I had managed. They said, you know, happy New Year, you know, miss ya and whatnot and to be honest with you, I broke down crying, man. I was like, what am I doing? Like, this is, this is not something that I want to be doing.
So I just, I texted all the reps that worked for me, Hey, happy new year and then I just sent kind of appreciation texts. Like, Hey, I just loved everything that you did with this and I loved your followup and you did a good job planning. Whatever it was that they were good at, I just sent an encouragement note there.
Not long after that, I was like, man, I gotta do something. So I interviewed for a couple like, uh, pursuing my master’s degree. I was literally at a point where I was like having to make a decision about what is my purpose. And that’s what I’m kind of saying, this is right when I was going through some of this depression of like, what am I doing? I had to do some soul searching. I’m a man of faith, so I, I did kind of like sit back and try to, um, kind of meditate as to what was going to be my future and try to visualize that and do a lot of prayer, but ultimately it just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
I had a recruiter reach out and it made a lot of sense for me and my background. I had done some fitness competitions and I’ve helped a lot of people with coaching on nutrition and diet as well as also exercise. And then I’ve done some, uh, background in value-based medicine. So, um, what I’m doing now is a perfect fit for me. So it’s like, that is when I knew it was the right point to make a move. I can say that not all the moves I’ve made have been just that evident, so I feel very blessed in that respect.
At the same point in time, one of the encouragements that I would do, and I think this is, this is we all get caught up in it, it’s just to observe your surroundings. And I think if you’re able to do that, things will be much more evident to you. So a good example for you, I mentioned how I was on 90 airplanes in 2019. One of the things I stopped doing, you know, in that start, stop, continue, I actually stopped wearing headphones walking into an airplane. Because for me, it’s like, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Maybe the person next to me was going to start a conversation maybe I didn’t want to be a part of, maybe it didn’t, but I was just going to be open to my surroundings be available to the world around me and who knows what would happen. I ended up having awesome conversations. I ended up being invited to a wedding, uh, for this, couple that was, they had all their family there, going to Miami. So just like these crazy situations.
We’re living in a world and we try to do so many things to try to keep ourselves comfortable and try to close ourselves off from everybody else. But, um, I don’t think that’s how the world was meant to be. And so that’s kinda why I propose to you one of my tips and one of my biggest, um, I guess, uh, flags that I like to hold up, is just being comfortable in the uncomfortable. Being willing to try things new. Being willing to just embrace the world around you and not feel like you have to kind of shelter yourself or close yourself off.
Fabian: I love that, man. That was, that was a lot, but I love it. I want to go back a little bit, cause there’s a lot of things that I want to say from that piece. One, I just want to mention that it’s such a pleasure and joy to interview and have a guest that is so used to and comfortable with public speaking and meetings and all that stuff, because there’s just a different dynamic that is there. That initial period of time where you have to like pull out all the questions from them and get them comfortable, like you just get straight to it. So first of all, thank you for that.
Second of all, I want to say something that I think is absolutely fascinating that a lot of the viewers might not be aware of, is that Michael and I used to work together at the same company a few years back. We knew each other, but it’s almost just the name, or in passing, or at those big conferences, you might just like shake their hand and have a drink together and that’s it. It’s a very short thing. So the fact that now we’re in different roles, we’ve taken our own risks, we’ve done our own journey and we have the opportunity to reconnect, start a new friendship, get to know each other at a complete different level. I think that’s absolutely fascinating to me.
One more thing that I want to mention, I’m curious to hear about you is that. Obviously we were both in sales. It is very interesting to me, all the pieces that you said that you wanted to do and how you felt about for example, you wanted something that had more impact, you wanted something that had more meaning. I just know from a lot of people that have gotten to know me, there’s almost like this initial pushback that they have, because they’re like, Oh, you used to be a sales rep, or you are a sales rep, or you’re always selling, you know? I mean, it’s kind of hard to turn off that switch for us. Cause at the end, everything is a sale, everything’s a transaction I would say.
It’s just so fascinating to me that you, as a fairly successful sales rep could also take a step back and be like, it’s not just about the money. Obviously, it’s really nice when you get a great paycheck after a lot of hard work and you help the customer, but you actually cared about the end result. And I think that’s something that’s kind of being lost in today’s society and a lot of modern day sales that I was viewed as like, Oh, you’re just, you would say anything to a customer for sale. I’m like, absolutely not. That was actually one of my biggest struggles in my past few sales jobs, where it’s just like, it got to a point where that was like what it was being encouraged. And I’m like, I just can’t do that because I know that I’m going to have to look them in their eyes a year from now and tell them, yeah, this kind of messed you up, your business.
Once I realized that it could affect their livelihood, their happiness, especially now with COVID, you know, everything is different. No one knows what’s going on. Even people like you and myself that kind of know who we are and what we want can get affected. Like you had a minor depression or anything like that, right? Cause things are changing, you have to completely alter your life. And for me, that was something that really resonated with me with what you said right now was that, as a sales rep, who’s been doing sales for awhile and has had success, could actually take a step back and you wouldn’t just do anything for a sale. So I’m curious to hear a little bit more what your opinion is about that.
Michael: Sure. Hey man, you know, I think a lot of the advice that I gave my rep or that I would give anybody listening to this. I mean, I think they apply to real life as much, if not more than to a saleslife. The reason I say that is like, I take a very honest approach into genuinely caring, genuinely like wanting to ask a question. I’m very curious in nature, so like when I’m in discovery, I feel like I’m in discovery all, all day long, the rest of my life. When I’m at, like a party, I’m rarely the one talking. There’s usually that guy who’s off in the corner, you know, telling his great stories. I’m not that guy. I’m the guy who’s like, Hey, so, you know, I don’t know anything about the insurance business. So like what happens here, you know, if you get to this then when do you get to that? To me, that all is a major part of whether you’re in sales or real life. And I think when it comes to helping our prospects or just working with people in general, they just want to feel that you care, you know? And I think if you take honest, genuine questions and you’re inquisitive and you want to know. You’re not just asking a question to get to where you want to go and to get to that point where you say, cha-ching well, here you go, this is it all packaged up.
I mean, heck I there’s been times where I’ve been ordering pizza and the guy’s just like, Oh, that’s, you know, olives, that’s interesting. Okay. You know, and they actually care, they’re not just like checking boxes. The same thing with the doctors that I work with, if you truly care, I think it’s genuine and you can sell anything, if you think about it that way.
Like I would, I feel like I would be a terrible SDR, just like calling people up. I like just having high quality, no rush, just have a great conversation and when you guys leave, you have a bond and you can build off of that. I think that’s hard to do. I did a lot of cold calling in person and I love that. During COVID-19 one of the downsides, uh, Well, first off, I’ll say one of the positives, cause I always like to start positive. I’ve been really impressed with how businesses in general have been able to adapt. And so, um, you know, I was only there with, uh, for this last organization for less than a year and closed three deals and these are large enterprise level deals. And so I’ve been really surprised how groups and whether the practices or businesses in general have still kept their decision-making process, have kept like their business running very successfully.
However, on the downside, when it comes to prospecting, everyone’s sending emails, everyone’s calling because they don’t have that in-person ability. They don’t have some of the conferences that they had, the events, et cetera. The one downside to COVID-19 is it’s, it is hard to get people’s attention and that day trader of attention job that we have, it is very difficult to break the ice. And so from that perspective, still trying to figure that out, that part’s not easy. But I think if you genuinely care about what you’re selling and you’re not desperate, I think people will be more receptive.
So I mentioned to you, one of the tools that I use is Vidyard. I just have a membership through them, they’re not sponsoring this at all or anything like that. But for me-
Fabian: They should sponsor us.
Michael: They should sponsor you. That’s an awesome idea. Um, I can put you in touch with the person I work with.
But for me, it’s a visual, um, like thumbnail that’s at the bottom of the email. It’s actually a gif so it looks like any other picture that’s in an email. But it’s just like me waving and then someone can click it and then it shows me talking to them. For me, it’s like, that’s why I have this mic here, that’s why I have some of this equipment is because for me, it’s like, I have to show my face. I have to have that face, you know, eye contact and have that full discussion because that’s who I am. And that’s the brand that I’ve developed. So, you know, I want to stay true to that even if the world around me is going crazy.
Fabian: Question to you. So obviously a lot changed and I appreciate you sharing all that piece. Did you have VIDYARD before or how did you kind of adapt to, cause we went fully digital. And I think yes, a lot of businesses adapted really well. I agree with you 100%. I mean, look at the world now. Everyone has kind of gotten used to it and now we’re starting to recover from it, we’re slowly, slowly getting back to a new normal, not previous normal. But at the same time, like the world’s gonna be completely different. Right. I mean, I don’t even want to know how many people are going to have anxiety and depression and other mental health issues after this or social skill struggles. But that’s a topic for another time.
What I’m curious about is I know that a lot of things went virtually like, you know, selling. You had to use exclusively phone calls and video chat, and video chat, especially kind of exploded. So did you already have like some of this equipment beforehand? Did you get that because of COVID and you had to adapt and you learned? Cause I would also argue that so many companies took a long time to adapt. Because one of the biggest things that I’ve noticed and I know you said you’ve listened to a few of my episodes and stuff like that. But for those people who don’t know, I’ve lived in six countries and I lived the diplomat kid life. So I had to constantly start over, start over, start over, start over. Starting over and taking a risk for me is not scary. The only thing that I need to know is that I’ll have enough money to continue living the lifestyle that I want to live. That’s all I care about because you don’t want to sacrifice too much. You don’t want to start like living in a homeless shelter while you know, you’re podcasting. That was the only piece that really affected me, you know, when I take a risk.
But when you have to constantly start over, you learn, Hey, you know what? I need to pay attention. I need to listen and I don’t need to be the guy that’s always talking. Just pay attention to other people, kind of figure out the room and I felt like it took a lot of businesses, especially like in the restaurant industry, a while to adapt to that. I feel like the medical industry, kind of adapted faster, but I’m kind of curious in your case, how do you feel like, was it very easy for you to adapt and change? And did you apply all these things to the digital world right away? Or was it something that you’ve already been used to from your past, like maybe even your childhood?
Michael: Yeah, man. That’s, that’s a good question. First off, kudos to you for having lived in that many countries and travel that much and had to like reinvent yourself. I moved twice, maybe three times in my life. You know, when I was 12, moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Charlotte. Lived in Charlotte for five years, then Virginia Beach. Now I live in Richmond, Virginia, and even then I went to school in Williamsburg. I’ve had to move around a little bit, not as much as you, so, you know way more about that than me, but I do think that there is something to that. I couldn’t imagine just like living in that small town my whole life. And I think maybe, maybe that nature versus nurture there, does have an impact.
But I would say for myself, um, I kind of do, and this is kind of a motif just in my own life in that, for me, I’m constantly doing AB testing. I’m keeping in my peripheral what I do well and what has been successful and what are those best practices and then I’ll make minor tweaks. And, and I’m always kind of tweaking back to what I know and then trying something new.
So when I talk about Vidyard, for me, that was, uh, an AB test. Like, Hey, I’m getting a bunch of emails and I was doing, you know, I was using a tool called Sales Loft, that allows you to kind of automate some of this and do cadences. I was doing emails and then I was like, ah, I got to try this. And that would be trying, tweaking new emails, uh, styles. I would be like, eh, this isn’t working, I’m going to do a bunch of calls this month and kind of keep similar messages. As I was doing those, there was one message that seemed to be working. And then I would tweak this and it’d be like no, that’s not working. Let me, let me keep this, but try this and so you’re constantly like revolving around.
I think a lot of people do that, first off. I think that’s not anything new. I think people in their minds, they’re doing it more than they think they are. But I think what’s important is to remember what those best practices are, because you can go totally the opposite way. Try things totally off the wall and be like, Whoa, where am I? And just, you’re just off in your own zone. So I think there’s a fine line between when you’re understanding, like this is the best practice. I know what works. I want to try this. And I think sometimes people want to try like an AM test like way too far. Versus just like a tiny tweak and just being able to say, well, let me try this opening or let me try this different subject line, but everything else is the same. So you’re kind of just making minor changes and, you know, eventually, um, I feel like eventually you’ll get to what works if you’re constantly doing that. And I think that’s kind of the approach I took just in this one example, but it’s also an approach. I, I feel like I take in life.
I don’t want to get too far off in crazy land, but you know, a good example, like say the gym. I’m not going to be the guy who’s like, you know, upside down holding some weights, doing something weird, but I am the guy who like, will watch like an Arnold video. I’m like, ah, I like how he’s like laying on a bench really awkwardly and flying out. I like trying new things, I like doing a tweak that’s different than everybody else. I’m the guy that’s, that’s doing the weird thing that no one else is doing. And I like being good at it because I’m doing, I’m doing these minor tweaks.
Another part around that, that I think also has to do, um, a little bit with this, but maybe not as much as I’m thinking in my own head, but I really enjoy the grind of things. I actually really like the progress. When I was in Pennsylvania, this is what I was good at, this is what I wasn’t good at. And you know what, I didn’t accept that I wasn’t good at this. So I did this and this, and, you know, I think growing up, I was kind of a Jack of all trades, master of none, because once I hit a point of diminishing return, it just became kind of boring for me. So I was like always trying new things. So, I was always in like acting classes or music classes, I always had to be around creativity. Uh, but I also loved math. But I liked to do like problem solve, I also can do, you know, on the SATs that had that weird, like walk 30 miles and you walk, like, I love that kind of stuff. That was like my favorite. I didn’t like the boring math, I liked the creative math. And so I think from that perspective, um, you know, I really enjoy the grind. I like waking up at 5:00 AM and going to the gym, have that alone time. And then the rest of my world can go crazy, because I at least had the other side of the coin, the solid aspect of my life, the consistency, because, um, that feels like it kind of counteracts. It was, for me that et cetera thing.
So I’m kind of talking around a lot of what you’re asking. I hope I’m able to tie it all together, but, um, AB testing, enjoying the grind, enjoying the process, enjoying the development from where you are to where you’re trying to go to.
Fabian: So you’d say pretty much. That’s one of your first keys of advice that kind of brought you to where you are today. All of those things, AB testing, enjoying the grind, enjoying the process like it’s literally is a work in progress always
Michael: Yeah, I think a good example would be, I think everyone wants to be standing on stage and winning an award, right? But I don’t enjoy that part. That part’s nice, like, I, I wouldn’t say I don’t like it cause that’s, I’m not, I’m not psycho. It feels great, there’s no doubt about it, but that’s not the goal. If that’s what I was looking forward to, I wouldn’t enjoy the process. So for me, it’s like, I like honing my skill. I like, um, perfecting my craft. I enjoy getting marginally better at something over time. And eventually when I’m on stage, it’s more of a validation. Like when I close a big deal, it’s actually more of a relief. It’s like, all right, cool, I can focus on this now. I’ve been neglecting prospecting, I need to get back out there. I need to do this because I, now I feel, I feel good, I feel relieve though. it’s not like a, yeah, I earned this, like, this is awesome. It’s like a, oh, alright, cool. Now I can like focus on everything else I’ve neglected over the last month trying to close this massive deal.
So, I think when it comes to enjoying the process, you’re going to get burnt out if you’re just going for that award ceremony. If you’re not enjoying, um, getting better at things, you’re just going to hit a dead end or you’re going to get to a point one day where you just said, geez, like I need to do something now. And that’s why for me, it’s like whether it was applying for my master’s or, you know, uh, I think in February I decided I was going to reach out to 1000, uh, prospects through customized emails. Where I was specifically looking at their website and making a point to go out of my way to, uh, mention something specific that was going to grab their attention, not just, you know, uh, blanketed emails. Um, and you know what? I got burnt out.
Fabian: You got burnt out?
Michael: I got burnt out doing this, but then I said, you know what? This is what I liked about it, which was I did Vidyard, I did a couple of things that I picked up on from doing that experience. So I’m always the guy who is willing to try something new, because I know that if I pick up one thing, if I learn like two or three things, I’ll consider it a success. Even if other people see it as a failure.
Fabian: Well, I love that. I mean, that was exactly where I was going to this. So for me, you said a lot of things that I want to touch back upon. And one of the first things is obviously one of the themes that I am preaching and discussing with the Chaminger brand and the podcast and all this stuff, is really getting people to change your perspective and their view on failure. I think most people have it wrong. Like they view it as literally the worst thing in the world. And it’s why they hesitate to ever try something new. Yet here you are talking about how AB testing is one of the ways to go, because it helps you enjoy the process, but it also helps you perfect, your craft slowly, slowly over time.
So my first question is, were you always into this? Because for example, I feel like it took me a long time to change my view on failure. I was always a little more open to it than I think, for example, like my siblings who have the same life as me and a lot of my friends. But in general, it’s still like, man, when you put in your heart and soul and then it just didn’t work out, you get down on yourself. Especially just the way that I over, I used to especially be a notorious over thinker, I would preplan. I would try to make sure that I cover all possibilities, things that could go wrong and I’m prepared for anything. And then at the same time, I am very good at just improvising. So it’s like, Oh, there’s no way anything could go wrong. Then all of a sudden, you know, you get a left hook jab and then it’s like, you’re knocked out.
So I’m curious, did you always view failure a lesson? Because I know like for example, past relationships, failed friendships. Some of my first jobs, especially when I got into sales, it really changed my view. Like sales, I would say, would be the thing that really made me start viewing failure as a lesson, because I’m like, okay, well this happened, this happened. And then I can start applying it to my past life. And I’m like, well, it’s sucked that I had to move from Denver, Colorado when I was eight years old to Jamaica. And I lost all my friends and I had to go there and I was literally the weirdo. They’re like, why is your skin like this? Why do you talk like this? Why is your accent like this? I’m like, I have an accent? You guys have an accent, you know, like there’s all these things. And it starts getting to you. Especially when you’re a kid, you don’t have like that confidence and that strength. My parents didn’t know either how to support us during that because they were also figuring it out, they were also the weirdos.
For me, it was something that I learned a lot later. So I’m curious, like for the AB test, cause I think that’s absolutely fascinating. I know I always did that with my sales as, like you said, people do it without even realizing. But for me, sales was always fascinating, cause it was like a game of chess. I’m like, Oh, they just did this. The CEO texted me this, I’m like, well, what’s my play now? And it was like, well, he didn’t reply this time. I’m like, okay, tomorrow I’m going to send this with a little, this and this. And then now, Oh, he replied, that worked and so forth, you kind of see what works.
I think because of all my experience growing up and getting to know people and getting comfortable befriending people very quickly, I became very good at what I would call honestly, a super power, is the power of simulation. So I can kind of predict what’s going to happen. So if right now I told you, Hey, Michael,
Michael: I feel like Queens Gambit, just like going up on the, the chess pieces on the ceiling. Yeah.
Fabian: Exactly. I’m like, Hey Michael, pardon my language, but I’m like, you’re a Dick. I’m like, I don’t like you, you did this. The way you talk about sales is just, you’re just bragging. And what’s going to happen? You, you, might actually hang up on this call if I just started going at you. But if I’m like, Michael, I think your advice is great. There’s a lot of people that actually need to hear this because as much as they can resonate with my message, hearing it from you, not only confirms it, it validates it as well. Now you have a different perspective and they might enjoy or relate to your story more because you’ve lived more of an, a, more of an American lifestyle than I have, so maybe they need that. You’re much more likely to respond.
So you kind of like start figuring that out. If I did this, what’s going to happen? Like if I tell the client, no, I’m not going to give you the discount. Are they going to stop talking to me or are they going to be like, okay, well, what can we do? You know, like, I feel like that’s kind of where I took AB testing is like, I thought about it like that. But long story short, AB testing, did you always view failure as a lesson? And how did you get to that?
Michael: Yeah, you bring up a lot of good points. I will say that everything I’ve kind of mentioned as, observed at different levels of maturity. You know, I don’t think it’s like something older or younger. It’s like, when the world was like, this is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me, it was a big deal. When I’m older and more mature and I’ve realized I’ve been through more losses, you just realize, okay, it’s just another loss and it’s less of a big deal.
It’s kind of like that Wayne Gretzky quote, it’s one of my favorite, where you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. From that perspective, it’s like, you realize, it’s okay. Looking back, we worked together at the same organization, I don’t know, two years ago. Which isn’t that long, if you think about like, you know, your life, but I mean, if I made a mistake or if I failed in front of anyone there, there’s no one that would remember that. I remember there’s one time where I, I asked the question that was literally just said, but I wasn’t paying attention. I felt like an idiot, you know? But at the same point, that to me, that’s something I remember, that’s something I beat myself up about, but literally no one else remembers it.
So if you think about things like that, No one else cares. Like, literally no one cares so why should you. They’re too busy focusing on themselves and their own failures, they don’t care about yours. Yeah, they’ll point it out or joke you about it, but I do think it’s just, just a maturity thing. It’s just being willing to try something new and be considered in the short term a failure, but longterm a winner. So that’s kind of answers part of your question, I think it gets to the meat of what you’re asking.
I do think, um, you know, I’m thinking about AB testing, now that I’ve been doing it for such a long time. I almost wish I like wrote it down and it’s like, I have a wipe off board. I feel like now I should be writing down what those best practices are so I, I don’t ever lose track of them. But then one of the things that I think is important to understand is the difference between a static mindset and a growth mindset. So, a static mindset would be, I take a test, you take a test, you score higher than me, you’re forever smarter than me on that topic. Versus a growth mindset says, no, you are just smarter than me on that topic or maybe even just more prepared for that topic at that one moment. So, uh, there’s nothing stopping us from taking the same test in a month and me scoring higher than you. It’s not a defined or forever, um, situation. So I think about things like in that, just because I’m not good at golf now, doesn’t mean I’m not going to be good at golf in 10 years. So whether it’s picking up lessons or doing whatever I can to control what I can control to get better at something.
That’s what I’m talking about as honing my craft, I like to get better, incrementally better at things. I hated seeing weaknesses. Um, and there’s still some weaknesses that I’m aware of that I just avoid, because I know that once I do it again, I’m going to beat myself up until I get better at it and I’m going to get addicted to getting better at something.
From that perspective, um, you know, sports sports are a great example. I remember one summer, um, jeez, it was in Charlotte, so I was probably, I don’t know, 13, 14 years old. For whatever reason, we just had a long summer and my brother and I found a tennis court down the street. And we both just like got rackets at a Walmart and one day we, we just started. And we had a hard time getting the ball over. It was just literally like the most terrible experience of all time, but one of us would figure out a forehand. And then that person had a competitive advantage for probably, you know, a day or two. Then that other person picked up how to respond to that and then they figured out how to respond to it in a way that would put me at a disadvantage. The next thing, you know, by the end of the summer, we knew exactly how we were going to respond to things. We were playing at a, I wouldn’t say competitive level, but, you know, for teenagers, like it was a major improvement in just a matter of two or three months because we incrementally tried to competitively get better at something.
So I think that’s the, the main perspective for me is like, just because you’re not good at something now, doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it. And I think anyone who thinks that they can’t get better at something is only putting a cap on what the potential is. So I think it kind of goes along the AB testing.
Fabian: You share a lot of great points. I think it brings to mind something that I think is what I call a self-awareness. I think it’s one of the things that is lacking the most in today’s society is that, you speak to, you know, there’s certain things that you should try to improve on and always perfect your craft, but you’re also open to change and realize just because you’re not good at it today doesn’t mean that you can’t be good at it a year from now. So I have two questions about that.
One is, do you feel like you’ve identified your strengths and your weakness, you know yourself and you’ve set yourself up success. So for example, I always tell people, I know I am absolutely terrible at art. Like I literally cannot draw to save, if my life depended on it, like, I would hope the stick figure-
Michael: It’d be a stick drawing.
Fabian: Yup, like that is like, Pictionary. I always tell people I’m like, Hey guys, can we just, instead of when I have to draw, can I just act it out? They’re like, you want to act it out? Can I talk it out? Like any of that stuff, I would love that they’re like, that’s so much harder. Why would you want to do that? I’m like, it’s not. So that’s one thing.
And then two, I’m just like, certain sports, uh, after a certain point in my childhood. For example, we had to play baseball or football right now, I would struggle. Now soccer, I could probably do okay. But like those other things, we just started living in a lot of third world countries. So my parents didn’t feel comfortable with me going outside and just like playing sports and hanging out with these kids in the middle of the night or whatever. So I stopped doing that a lot so you don’t really practice that, you become more, almost like sedentary in some ways. So that’s not one of my strengths. Could I improve it? Yes. But also it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. So I’m like, okay. I would much rather spend my time perfecting my gift of gab and relationship building and stuff like that because I realized those are my strengths.
So I’m curious if you always kind of knew your strengths and weaknesses and you spend time like trying to get rid of your weaknesses. Or you just are like, that is something that I could spend a year perfecting and I would only be still mediocre. Is that really worth my time?
Michael: I see what you’re saying. Um, the way I would, I would say it is like, say a good example would be, you know, music. My mother played piano for, um, many, many years and taught piano lessons. In fact, she taught like other people’s kids for decades. And I, uh, I took lessons for nearly that same period of time. And that was exciting, I guess, technically. I mean, I got free lessons, everyone’s gotta love that. But I didn’t, I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t find joy in it. So, um, my mom knew that I didn’t enjoy it and I, I got a little bit better. But I hit that point of diminishing return and I said, you know what? I got here, I learned chords, I understand, I can play all the music you want me to. Like in all sense of completedness like it was done, I was there. I could have gone on and done other stuff, but I didn’t enjoy it. So my mom had to keep wanting me to play drums. And so I took a drum lesson at the local, you know, Guitar Center or whatever it was and took lessons for over two years. And I love playing drums.
So, you know, for you, it may not be Pictionary. It might be like watercolors or some way that you’re like able to express yourself using art. Um, you know, there’s, there’s so many different ways to express yourself using art that isn’t just, you know, drawing with a pencil or whatever. So, um, it could be clay, a lot of people like molding clay or, or making pottery. So like that’s the perspective that I have is like, Hey, you may not like the, the vanilla flavor, but you might like vanilla with Oreos, uh, sprinkled in or chocolate chips. Just cause you have to eat vanilla ice cream doesn’t mean you have to eat it, you know, the way everyone else is eating it.
I know that analogy breaks down pretty quickly, but that’s the perspective that I feel like I take. And I’m the guy that when like bowling, I like to spin it as crazy as I can. I get more gutter balls than anybody there, but for me it’s like, that’s fun and it’s a challenge and I also get cool strikes that everyone’s like, Ooh, that’s cool. If only you can do that every time. So from that perspective, I enjoy, I like to find things that are boring and try to make them, uh, fun. I, I just think that’s how life was meant to be, you know, if you have to do something, might as well just to enjoy it.
So, um, again, I think that kind of, uh, answers a little bit of your question, but ultimately, don’t feel like you have to fit someone’s mold. You can change the mold a little bit to find a compromise where they’re happy and you’re happy.
Fabian: Well, I think continuing on that part, before I hear your next key takeaway which I know we’ve probably already touched upon, but is really the topic of sales. What I mean by that is I feel like a lot of people don’t even know that that kind of job exists and let me share a little bit about that. So my dad being a Mexican ambassador and a diplomat and working for the foreign service, wanted me to follow in his footsteps. Which I get, I mean, he has connections, he can teach me, he can mentor me, he can guide me, he can make recommendations and it can help a lot. But I just thought about having to move again every two to three years and I’m like, yeah, absolutely not, I’m not going to do that. So I really couldn’t, I didn’t find what I really liked and enjoyed after college. I mean, I took business, I took communication. I know I loved like classes where like debate, public speaking, advertising, marketing, but I never really was aware of sales.
And I know that my cousins that had moved from Mexico to the United States were in sales, but I didn’t really know exactly what they were doing as like a teenager. So I remember when I first started looking for jobs that really would make me excited and passionate. I wasn’t finding anything, like I would do something and I’d get bored because it was so easy. I would perfect it right away and I was working way harder then the other people, and I’m like, I’m getting paid the same as them and they’re just slacking off. And then, like, that was a huge thing, which it’s crazy think now that we do sales. It’s like, I found this timeshare marketing slash sales job and it was ridiculously challenging, but it was talking about travel, getting people excited about that. And that was my life, so it was amazing. And I could meet literally like a hundred people a day and get to stop them, talk to them and convince them, Hey, you should probably consider this. And, you know, forming relationships, friendships. It was absolutely insane. It kind of was like an unlock for me and I’m like, this is something that I could do. Plus the harder I work, the better I do, the more money I make. That’s awesome. So that’s kind of how I got into sales.
So I’m curious about you because, um, there is also a part about burnout that I want to get into after. Cause you mentioned that and I think that’s really important because again, now I’m not doing it. I mean, everything is sales. We talked about it, but in a way I burned out as well, but I want to hear kind of like, what was your journey into sales and what would you say was the part that burned you out?
Michael: Yeah, man, that’s a good one. So, um, I think everyone as they’re teenagers has that person who just nags, well, what are you gonna do when you grow up, what are you going to do when you grow up. You know, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I ended up, you know, moving right as my senior year. So I ended up going to a community college, getting my associates degree first and, you know, it was just a broad business degree. Uh, and then it transferred to Wayman Marietta, it’s a college here in Virginia and I went to the business block and, you know, it’s at the point in time, I’m like, I’m getting business major. This would be perfect, going to be doing some business. Yeah. And you’re like, I know exactly what I’m doing now. And you’re like, I don’t know what I’m doing. Um, so what do I got? Finance isn’t for me, you know, accounting is not for me.
So I went in, uh, they had just gotten rid of an IT degree and they had this consulting degree. I also had a marketing degree, so it was like a double major within the business school, but I actually loved this new consulting degree they had, process management consulting is what it’s called. So we did Excel database management. I learned how to like, actually, I’m one of those guys who loves Excel and just like loves learning V lookups and, and an awesome table. So, I can talk your ear off on that and you don’t want to know, but I hated the actual like, uh, data management, so I could never be like that guy. So, um, that part was cool, but then also like marketing, I liked the creativeness of it.
When I graduated though, all the jobs were up and up in Richmond here. And so I started actually working for a technical recruiting company. You know, it’s around that same time that I met my now wife and her ex boyfriend, like all most of her ex-boyfriends were like in healthcare sales. She would always be telling me these stories where like they’re watching ESPN every afternoon and just like just working about two or three hours a day and would show up to their hospitals and you know, get their devices. I was like, man, what if someone gave like 110% to that? Like, they’d be making so much more. Cause I already knew that they made a decent amount at what they were doing.
So I had a mentor at the time, shout out to Chris Sweeney he’s, he’s been awesome, sat down with him. He had a very glorious career in health care sales. I said, I want to get into healthcare sales. I know I would crush it. I love the healthcare aspect of it. Um, what should I do? And he said, if you could sell a commodity, you can sell anything. So whether it was, you know, Paychex and I ended up selling copiers for about two or three years, actually I think it’s close to three or four. Which is way longer than I thought I’d be selling copiers, but I was successful at it. And one of the things I found out while I was there, is I really liked the document management software that was on the copiers that could help businesses be able to be more organized instead of just print. It’s not all just printing. It’s like, I want to be more organized. I wanna be able to scan into something that is able to, you know, um, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to bore you with that. But the point is, is that I found that the lane I was in and I founded the sub lane that I actually found very passionable. I don’t think that’s a word, but give me some grace here. So I found the, the lane that I was passionate about within the larger lane that I was supposed to stay in. And so, you know, I, I made my number by selling document management software and I was the only one who was selling it.
That’s kinda how life is, you find the joy in the variation of the larger thing that you’re having to do. And so, from that perspective, I liked the software part of document management. So when I moved into healthcare sales, I was looking for software, healthcare sales and so I found the company that we worked at and was successful there and I’ve stuck with it. I like the software, but I also like being able to make an impact on people’s lives. I’ve further tweaked and now I’m finally where I am, but I, I started out here and then I finally got here.
And I think that also kind of goes into the part B of your question, which is how do you avoid getting burnt out? For me, it was like, I had to find that sub lane, I had to find what I’m passionate about. I like to gamify everything. So for me, it’s like, you know, I told you in February, I was like, I’m going to reach out to 1000 prospects this month. I’m just going to do it, it’s going to be a challenge. Maybe in March, I don’t do any and it probably would be better for me to reach out to 500 and 500. Absolutely probably, but for me, like that was the goal and I was going to stick to it. It had already come out my mouth, so I had to fully commit to it.
Um, but I mean, these are like the challenges, you find a way to gamify something, you find a way to find joy in something. Whether it’s, you know, something that you enjoy, like for you, for arts, it might be making a clay pot. There’s that, those things in life, you don’t have to do everything the way that everyone tells you. But there are certain things you have to do, you have to probably pay rent and you probably have to, you know, get a house. But if you like a tiny house, get a tiny house, like no one has to tell you what to do. Um, you just, you know, find what you find joy in and don’t worry about making other people happy.
Fabian: That was a great answer. I mean, the first thing that sticks out to me is that you kind of got into this from other people telling you. I mean, I always find it fascinating to hear how salespeople got into sales, because I don’t think like most people start off, I’m going to be a salesman. Unless your dad was, I feel like that’s not really something that most people think. I know I always was like, I would love to get paid to talk to people, but everyone just kind of laughed at me when I was a kid. They’re like, yeah, that’s not a thing, you don’t just get to get paid to hang out with people. I’m like, yes I do.
But I think that I really resonate with the fact that you said you kind of like had a mentor and that’s kind of what happened to me as well. That I had my, my cousin who was doing medical device sales. And he, I kind of saw how he did and what he did. And I’m like, man, that’s really cool. I’m like, that’s awesome that this company trusts him to like travel to places and represent the face of the company. I know he was making bank too, that was motivating and inspiring. So it was kind of through him where I also started realizing that. So it’s interesting that we both had like this mentor figure that kind of encouraged us and guided us along.
One of the parts that truly, truly resonated with me that you said near the end was the part about challenging yourself. And I think too many people almost feel the need and I would love to hear your opinion because I know I keep talking about it on the Chaminger podcast, is people almost feel this need to not change. Like they are who they are, they figured themselves out when they’re like 28, or 30, or whatever, whatever age, it doesn’t matter. And that’s who they are. They befriended like 20 different couples and families. And they all know them as that person, there’s literally no way that they can change from that.
Now all of a sudden, two years later, let’s say you are now a drummer in the band and you changed your hairstyle and you no longer wear dress shirts. People are going to be like, well, what happened? Like we don’t like you anymore, what’s your problem? And like, you’re still the same guy, you still talk about the same things. We had a conversation like this. You would be able to talk about all this, but people are like, Oh no, he’s completely different. Like what the heck? Like they almost like demonize it. And my question to you is I feel like too many people stop challenging themselves. They figured it out.
I know at that software company that we worked at, I mean, things changed with the pandemic. But before then, I feel like I had come to a point where I finally figured it out. Like there was this repeatable process that I could do that could pretty much guarantee a sale, as long as they have money. You know, like I could have a process and they would respond well to it. But then I’m like, well, the pandemic forced so much change, product change, and you had to learn how to sell something else. It was very exciting actually for me to re-challenge myself, but I know a lot of my coworkers just ended up doing the same exact thing and they were struggling and I’m like, well, this is a new challenge, why don’t you, um, rise up to it? And it, that causes so much change. So I just, I guess what I’m trying to ask is If you embracing challenge was something that always came naturally to you, because I feel like I know a lot of people that don’t like that they want it to be easy, they want their job to be on autopilot. I feel like once they get to that point, that’s when I get bored and I want to do something else or I want to constantly improve because if I’m already succeeding today and I figured it out, well, I could get better. You know, I could challenge myself. Like, let’s say with this podcasting, I’m like, well, how can I figure out how to do more episodes? How can I reach more people? How can I increase the exposure? Like we might be killing it today, but why can’t we kill it even more tomorrow? You know? So I’m curious to hear about that.
Michael: Yeah, I think, I think people don’t like change in general. In fact, even I’ll be honest, I don’t always like change it to start. To me it’s like I was telling you about earlier, there’s things that I’m not good at that I’m aware I’m not good at, and I’m not going to try it until somebody says, Hey, let’s all start doing this. And I’ll say, all right, you know what? I know that I’m not naturally good or gifted at it, but I’m actually looking forward to finding that little sub lane that I, I do enjoy. And so for me, it’s like, it’d almost like a curiosity joy of like, I know I’m going to like some facet of this new normal, I’m kind of excited to find out what that is.
I think from that perspective, you have to be able to adapt. I mean, I think in, especially in sales, I think sales would probably be one of the most adaptable parts of business out there. Same with marketing too. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about, you know, we’re day traders of attention. Uh, and you know, one of his claims to fame was that, he was, you know, one of the first to do like Google ads back in the nineties, when everyone wasn’t doing that, then everyone was doing it. And he had wine.com and then when everyone else was doing it, then he got into Facebook and then everyone was on Facebook then. Everyone who, back in the nineties, was mailing things to people’s homes. Now, no one was mailing, so he’s like, I’m going to go back there and now I’m going to start mailing people things. So it’s kind of like, you have to do the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing, or you’re not going to get the attention.
So, you know, I’ll be honest, you know, that this morning I checked my Vidyard and like the last three videos had zero views. Meaning that the last three prospects I emailed out, didn’t see it. So I said, Hey, you know what scrap where I thought this AB testing was going, I’m going to go back to where that best practice was. So I looked back and I literally watched the last video that somebody watched. I said, why would someone watch this? What was different about this than, than what I just tried? That is something you have to realize is like, Hey, I’ve gotten too far away from that best practice. I do need to back up, get back to my roots, get back to that center and then start back out from there.
I think though, if, if you aren’t in that growth mindset, you’re going to probably think that way where you’re going to say I’m going to keep doing what I know. If people are really like that, um, they may not enjoy sales because you, you really have to adapt. I mean, there are so many other things you could do every day that, that you don’t have to change. You can, you can keep doing the same thing every day.
What I love about sales is that you can be creative. You can try things that are new and honestly, the new things are celebrated. When I talk to people about Vidyard, they’re like, geez, you know, no wonder I’m not closing deals. I’m like, Hey, I’m not guaranteeing you close these deals, I’m just trying like, this is one thing that you can have under your belt. One piece of your arsenal that you can, you can try. And if it doesn’t work for your audience, like may not work for, uh, you know, if you’re selling bulldozers, it’s probably not going to work for you. They might not have like a laptop in front of them or something, they can just click on things.
So, I don’t know. It’s, it’s things like that where things don’t always work for everybody the same. Um, but I think to your original question is for those people who, um, are close-minded and kind of have that static mindset, I can’t give you advice on to how to think outside the box. All I can recommend is try something new that you enjoy, and if you enjoy it, enjoy getting better at it. And I think if you, if you enjoy it and you enjoy getting better at it, I think change will be much more welcome today than, than it has been.
Fabian: I think, well, one Vidyard, would love to talk to you guys. I think that’s so cool, by the way, that they have, um, a video thing. For example, I know that I always just completely kicked ass with customers. Like they loved it when I was there in person and you can hang out with them and just because of my Mexican German heritage, I would always be like, at the end, like, Hey man, I’m a hugger. And like, people would be a little uncomfortable at first, but now they’re like, Oh, are we already at the point where we were hugging? And I’m like, okay, I get it. And then, you know, that, that was just completely different about giving me their cell phones or whatever. And people are always really shocked. Like how do you get this super cold person, dude? That was something that I really could fully embrace in person. And then you go full digital, it’s a little more challenging to do so, so kind of eliminating that barrier.
And there’s just something different about like, if, you know, I just think back to, I got a Peloton recently so that I could exercise at home, because like you said, the gyms being closed. And like after 50 rides, you get a message from one of the instructors on video by email, they’re like, Hey, congratulations on your 50 rides. We appreciate you. Thanks for being part of the family. You’re making progress. Remember to check back to where you-, you know, just something like that. And yes I know that it wasn’t just made exclusively for me, but the fact is that they had that video message. It, it hits differently. I’m like, I know what they’re doing and it’s still hit differently. So imagine if someone who’s not aware of what is actually happening in the background and why they did that, how they did it. That’s just crazy to me. And I think that’s a really cool thing that just sets you apart because at the end of the day, people pay attention to things that are different. So I love that.
And then two, I, just kind of want to summarize, because I know it’s been a great conversation, but it sounds to me like from everything we’ve talked about, I would say that another key of advice that you would have is approach this growth mindset. Don’t be static, embrace growth, embrace change, and just really get comfortable with being uncomfortable because it puts you in scenarios and situations where you can actually improve.
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