If all goes as planned, by the time you read this I will have a new left hip in anticipation of a Christmas market river cruise on the Danube at the end of November.
This surgery will be my 21st or 22nd since 2006. In truth, I've lost count as we started with fusing cervical vertebrae and worked our way down, including rotator cuff repair in both shoulders and total shoulder replacement in both shoulders.
A health scare on vacation last year ("Treat yourself as well as you do your clients," June 28, 2021) came close to being my last surgery ever.
And as if to keep the record intact, I tore the meniscus in my right knee this year while dismounting a horse-drawn carriage on Mackinac Island. That led to a visit to my orthopedist, who confirmed I would need surgery on my right knee. Oh, and by the way, he added, "X-rays of your hips show bone-on-bone contact in both of them, and we need to replace them, starting with the left, which is worse."
So why am I telling you all this? Because this upcoming Christmas market cruise, which is a follow-up to a prior Rhine-Main Christmas market cruise in November 2018, has been happily anticipated for almost two years. When you've made your 81st lap around the sun, it's good to have things to look forward to.
And if you are a travel advisor, it's all the more important that you have as many experiences under your belt as possible so that you can, as a friend once put it, not only sell the steak but the sizzle. That's one of the main traits that separates really good advisors from so-so advisors.
I'm excited about this upcoming cruise. And I get enthusiastic telling others about almost every vacation I have taken.
One of the best advisors we ever had was successful because you could hear the excitement in her voice when she talked about the package she had found for someone. It was palpable.
She combined that excitement with her competitive closing instincts to exceed sales goals regularly.
Most of us can benefit from that example of enthusiasm, competitive nature and earning more in our careers, as well.
One of the ways we fostered such efforts was to mount a small mirror on each agent's monitor with a tag beneath it that read "SMILE!" Callers can indeed "hear" the smile of the person on the other end of the line.
Another was to provide each agent a copy of what I believe to be the single best tutorial on selling ever written. My copy of the Tom Hopkins book "How to Master the Art of Selling" (Grand Central Publishing, 1988) is dog-eared from being read once a year, every year, a habit we urged all of our agents to develop. Those who did invariably were more successful.
One agent grumped that they had read the book once and didn't need to read it again. I pointed out that Michael Jordan, generally acknowledged to be among the top NBA players of all time, shot hoops eight hours a day. Every day.
It's like this: Honing professional skills is a never-ending process. Enjoying what you do and being pleasant while doing it, combined with a great skill set, makes life much more enjoyable. Looking forward to doing it is the cherry on the sundae.