Dan Moore – Harvard
It has been a privilege to work with outstanding college and university students for the past 37 years. Thinking back on my own six summers of selling, starting after my first year at Harvard, virtually every aspect of my life since then has been flavored by some of the lessons from those years.
Some lessons, unfortunately, have to be learned over and over again. Currently training for my first full marathon November 6, 2011, I set out three weeks ago for an 18-mile training run. Having completed 9 half-marathons, and having trained pretty consistently, I took this particular challenge too lightly. I didn’t get enough sleep, I didn’t hydrate properly, I didn’t eat enough beforehand nor bring enough nutrition with me for the run, and started late in the day when the temperature was rising through the 70’s.
About mile 12, I started to hurt, much more than I ever expected. By mile 14, I was starting to get into trouble. By mile 16, I was walking as much as running, and having real difficulty. When I finished the 18 miles, it took a long time for my heart rate to slow, my complexion was ashen, and I was dizzy and not able to stand without help. It was a scary moment. No, it was a scary hour of recovery.
It brought me vividly back to my fourth summer selling books, in 1977. I had completed three superb summers, being a Top Experienced Salesperson each year, and was much sought-after at seminars and meetings for my wisdom about sales and success in life. So, as I got ready for that summer, I took it lightly, expecting it to be even easier and I would again end up on top. As a result, I didn’t prepare myself physically, mentally, or emotionally for what I knew logically was going to be another difficult and challenging summer.
If a person combines proper preparation plus commitment with a difficult and challenging situation, they will come through it okay. If they combine poor preparation and marginal commitment with a difficult and challenging situation, they will be hurting. And that summer was my worst summer out of six. Financially, it was terrible. Professionally, it set me back two years. Personally, it was the best thing in the world that could have happened to me. It burned into me the ever-truth: proper preparation prevents poor performance.
Yet, what is it about us as humans that we still need to keep learning the same lessons? I am happy to report that in 1978 – my fifth summer – I correctly prepared, and everything went well.
And, I am also happy to report that the week after my 18 mile debacle, I ran 20 miles – properly rested, nourished, hydrated, and acclimatized – and everything went well.
Proper preparation promotes powerful performance.