I recently ran the Tough Mudder race to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.  It was one of the best experiences of my life thus far.  Throughout the race I could not help but compare it to starting a sales career or business.

There are 3 lessons that helped me cross the finish line, each of which I have incorporated into my business.

Lesson 1 – Ask for Help

The first lesson that I learned early on in the race is to use your team.  Just to get to the starting line you have to scale an 8 foot fence, and as the race goes on the fences get taller.  If you try to take on too much you are risking injury and thus not finishing.

Failing is simply not an option so utilizing teammates is a must.  This is also true for sales and business although from my experience and observations people do not ask for help nearly enough.

Take a look at the amount of talent around you and ask if there is someone around that may have advice that could propel you farther than taking on a task yourself.  If you answer yes to this, simply ask them for advice.  Teamwork has become a buzzword among companies but I rarely see it actually happen.

“If I have seen further it is on the shoulders of ye giants.” -Isaac Newton.

Lesson 2 – Get Dirty

The hardest part of the Tough Mudder was an obstacle, a mud pit with live wires carrying 10,000 volts of electricity dangling over it.  You have to crawl through the mud pit and do your best to avoid the wires.  I can tell you from experience that they give you a pretty serious shock; it is definitely something worth avoiding.

There are many things in a sales career that most would like to avoid.  If you do not put in the time and effort necessary to succeed you simply will not get there.  A typical sales obstacle is the phone.  In order to make it you have to have great phone skills and the only way to improve is practice.

You must get dirty to win, both in the race and in business.  You must put in the effort that others simply are not willing to.  Know that people are going to say no.  Search for no’s rather than avoiding them.  If you do this you will earn your share of yes’s along the way.

Lesson 3 – Never Give up

Everyone was a sorry bunch by the end of the race.  It was beyond being tired.  We had just gone 12 miles up Beaver Creek Mountain through mud, over walls, through tunnels, and of course 10,000 volt wires.  We were completely drained both physically and mentally.

Success in sales and business takes blood, sweat, tears and time.  Your path may change a myriad of times but the vision remains.  There are times that you may think of quitting and getting a ‘regular job’.  There is no shortcut to success.

Bill Bradley the hall of famer basketball player says it best, “Ambition is the path to success.  Persistence is the vehicle. “

If this race sounds up your alley check it out here.