This post was written by Praxis participant Mitchell Broderick, who is working at the Advantage Media Group.
Our inaugural Praxis class is right around the halfway marker. Prior to launching, I had my expectations of what I wanted to get out of this risky, scary, and potentially incredibly rewarding experience. With those expectations in mind, I’m ready to hold Praxis accountable and see whether or not it has been successful in helping me get what I wanted. There are at least five things I see as having been gained: discipline, selling, entrepreneurial teamwork, and riding the Struggle Bus.
Employment at Advantage Media Group (my Praxis business partner) has provided me insight into what I now see was a lack of work discipline and has also helped provide the framework for me to find solutions to address and improve upon this discipline. I went from working two service jobs and part-time as a real estate agent to a job that requires me to sit down all day and methodically prospect for new clients and affiliate leads, interview hot leads over the phone, head direct marketing campaigns to qualified leads, and that’s only the beginning.
Going from these three totally-different jobs to something completely new has not only given me a sense of greater discipline, but also a sense of flow. I love the new work I have found and can better reach that all-important state of flow when working, where hours will pass by and it will seem as if time has stopped.
Had I developed this discipline prior to any other jobs I’ve led, it’s very likely I would have risen in the echelons at those jobs and began catering to an even higher-level clientele. The discipline that Advantage has helped me develop is inevitably going to be of vital importance as my career progresses.
Sales, sales, sales!
I have always thought of myself as a salesperson and would go as far as to say that everyone is a salesperson. During my time in the service sector and my time in real estate, my primary job was to make customers. One of the primary benefits Advantage has been able to offer me is world-class communication training. No other sales training on the planet compares to the on-going training Advantage puts our sales organization through.
I have been able to apply what I have learned not only to selling our product, but also to every other aspect of my life. I’ve learned the importance of letting your prospect do most of the talking (listening), of always having an up-front agenda in every encounter that sets the ground rules, and of “fighting up front” before two parties waste any time on one another.
Though these tips and skills may seem obvious, I wouldn’t have been able to learn them — at least as well as I have — if it weren’t for being placed directly into a sales environment and getting the professional training that comes with creating value for my business partner.
At Advantage, I’ve been not only invited to participate in brainstorming sessions on how we can grow the company, I’ve been expected to participate. It’s exciting that in many cases my input has both been taken into account and implemented or it has successfully kept us from adopting a policy that wouldn’t have worked. My sales colleagues and I are in weekly meetings where we must perpetually think up innovative ideas to prospect for and close qualified leads. We must be entrepreneurs for the company. We must be intrapreneurs.
An entrepreneur isn’t simply someone who starts a business venture. The word is a measure of creative problem solving and intelligent application. That said, entrepreneurialism is not something one either has or has not. It is a learned and practiced skill. Advantage has been instrumental in helping me flex this muscle daily, giving me the stamina and wits for what may come after both Praxis and Advantage.
The Struggle Bus
This is no doubt my largest deliverable from Praxis. While I have been improving month after month at Advantage, with sales numbers climbing, some months have been, well, bad. There have been very difficult conversations during my weekly meeting with the CEO, where I am held accountable for lagging numbers. I must promise to make the necessary changes and improve or I’m due for evaluation and consequence. These hard times are, among my generation, often alluded to as “The Struggle Bus.”
The Struggle Bus is most vital to me because of the necessary role of hardship in personal development. While I’m being lectured by the CEO, I’m not thinking that I’m failing at my job, but about how awesome it is that I’m getting this experience. My boss cares about my growth, is honest and candid with me, and says what needs to be said in order to motivate me to develop-you guessed it- discipline, communication skills and the entrepreneurial mindset.
Why Praxis Is The Answer
We’re often unaware of what we lack, while being fully aware of lacking something. For me, being a Praxis participant has provided internally-vital intelligence. I recently told my boss during an evaluation, “if you were to fire me today, all of this would have been worth it. How much I have developed, the skills I have attained and the training you’ve put me through, all culminate in a person twice as talented and driven as I was when I started- in six months!”
I realized just how well the Praxis team had paired me, and my fellow participants, with our business partners. With the skills I have acquired, I could return to selling real estate and be more successful, faster. I could go serve tables once again and turn that into a coaching/speaking business for servers. Praxis and Advantage have helped me illuminate the opportunities I knew were there, but didn’t know how to optimize. For those considering Praxis, a good metric to determine if it’s a fit is in your answer to this question: What do I lack and how do I realistically see myself gaining it?