Ah, football season. The sun is spending less and less time overhead, the leaves are turning different shades of orange and brown, and “cool” fronts (or what passes for cool fronts in southeast Texas) are lumbering their way south to give us respite from the oppressive summer heat. Football season also brings us that gridiron institution that rewards us for making it through the first work day of the week: Monday Night Football.
This past Monday’s match-up saw the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos taking on the Toilet Bowl-bound Oakland Raiders. ‘Match-up’ might be too strong a term for this episode; it was a match-up like an armless man boxing an in-his-prime Mike Tyson is a match-up. He sliced the black and silver’s defense like a master surgeon performing a routine appendectomy. Manning and his receivers worked together like Duane Allman and Dicky Betts trading licks and locking into a shared vibe during a live performance of “Whipping Post” back in the day.
Peyton Manning. You remember him, right? The NFL’s and the Indianapolis Colts’ #1 draft pick from the University of Tennessee back in the 1998 draft? Arguably the best quarterback of the last 20 years and one of the all-time greats? The guy who is that rare breed that never stops learning, never stops trying to improve himself, and never stops enjoying what he does?
During the aforementioned Monday Night Football contest, a one-on-one interview with Manning was broadcast. He credited his success to his family, coaches, friends, and the cast around him on the field, past and present. On the field and off the field, he’s a leader. So how does he prepare himself for each contest? He does what he’s always done: He mixes it up and he keeps it fun.
- Fancy footwork
Manning uses a particular drill to hone his footwork and to keep his football instincts sharp while his focus remains on what’s happening in the field of play. Snaking in an out of what looks like foam speed bumps, Manning averts his gaze to an imaginary play developing down field. His attention is up and out, not down. This drill may seem a bit silly to some, but tell that to Peyton and he’ll point to his four MVP awards and his Super Bowl ring. (And since he’s a nice guy, he’ll let you slink away without further shame.) In sales, you must be able to do three things: sell, sell, and think on your feet. Focus on what’s happening in the bigger picture in front of you, not what is happening in the background.
- Stay in the pocket under pressure
When you’re the most marked man on the field, you better have the trust and the support of your teammates around you, particularly the five bulls on the offensive line. As quarterback, Peyton has 11 guys gunning to ruin his day on every play. Blocks must be executed, holes opened, passes caught— all while several wrecking balls have you as the building they are dying to take down. Manning has absolute confidence in those around him. He knows they have his back, just as he has theirs. How? He never takes a practice off. He never misses a meeting. He never gives less than his all on every play, from a 3rd and Forever to a kneel down. He leads by example because, when it comes down to it, he has to be able to depend on others to help him do his job. And when you see a guy busting his ass day in and day out, you can’t help but want to go to war with them. During my time as a sales manager, this was crucial. I had to focus on the task at hand and eliminate the peripheral stuff. I had to be there for my sales team, encouraging them, coaching them, and celebrating with them. I had to show them that I was willing to do whatever it took for the team to succeed. After all, if I don’t have their backs, why should they have mine?
- Change Up
Having a game plan is great; it helps you focus on what you need to do to complete a task. But in life, as in football, sometimes you have to deviate from the x’s and o’s you drew up during the week leading up to the big game. Manning is famous for his ability to change a play at the line of scrimmage or simply call an audible to change the play up. He might as well be the offensive coordinator for his team. And why not? He has mastered the art of situational play calling based on what the defense is showing— his conversion rates after calling an audible are legendary. The guy knows the playbook, but he also knows how to use it. He knows, as you should, that one has to be willing to adapt to an ever-changing climate. If something isn’t working or if you notice something could be done better, change your play. Call an audible.
Many a writer has made football an analogy for life, with its highs and lows, touchdowns and knockdowns, and endless learning and preparation. Sales and football also seem to be inextricably linked in many ways as well. Football is a grueling, winner-take-all battle; sales is a cutthroat exercise in forming partnerships and winning over clients. Some games you blow out your opponent, some games you’re on the wrong end of the final box score tally. But with the right focus and the right preparation, you and your team can hold court in your profession and maybe even achieve the equivalent accolades of one future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback named Peyton Manning— and have a little fun along the way, too.
You can re-visit all of the basics by viewing my Sales 101 blog.
It’s Friday, so Apple must have released a new gadget or a new operating system. With its latest unveiling, the iconic fruit has given Applephiles an almost new device, from new colors and fonts to its feel as you navigate around its mazes of technical wizardry.
With a new operating system comes new challenges: learning the basics, navigating through the various menus, adjusting settings, etc. As a service to you, we’ve taken the highlights from this update and have compiled a list of the basics and a few surprises contained within iOS 7.
What Has Changed
Much has changed, in fact. With the iOS 7 update, you basically have a new phone without having to sign a new contract or without having to leave your home or office. Samantha Murphy Kelly, on Mashable.com, provides us with a nice overview of what to expect from this new OS. Below are the highlights from her highlights, highlighted for you.
1. The overall look
New colors, new fonts, new sounds, and a new feel— all have changed to make a “cleaner, sleaker (operation)… Just about every nook and cranny in the whole house has been renovated.”
2. The control center
You wanted a hub where everything could be easily accessed, and Apple has given it to you. From music settings to alarm settings and back through to Airplane mode and beyond, the common stuff is here— and it can be accessed when the lock screen is activated.
3. Gestures, slide to unlock
More gesture-focused than ever, the iOS 7 has taken some of the mundane and tedious tasks and made them easier and, well, more fun. For instance, no longer does the user have to slide their finger across the bar at the bottom of the screen to unlock the phone. Just swipe it!
Apple has opened the vaults and is offering plenty of new and vivid pictures for your phone’s backdrop.
5. Photo organization
With phones becoming the depositories for photos that boxes and plastic tubs used to be (and with no tangible product to develop and store, we take more pics than ever), organization is a key issue that Apple has tackled and, it would seem, done a swell job at making the process easy and, well, easy. With pics and videos placed into groups based on time and place, accessing the 983 pics and the 45 minute video you took at your child’s first school play are easily accessed and enjoyed with family and friends near and far.
6. New ringtones
According to Ms. Kelly (and more than a few Apple users I know), the iWhatever is not known for its plethora of catchy and memorable ringtones. No longer. Apple has consulted with someone who understands that ringtones and wallpaper are the two most important features on any phone.
More than once in my life, I have accidentally pressed a button or by dumb luck just happened to pick the right combination of buttons only to have a new feature or a once unknown shortcut revealed to me on my phone or on my remote control. We’ve all done this at one time, as Aaron Souppouris of theverge.com notes in his article about the hidden gems contained in the new iOS 7. Here are a few he found by accident on purpose. Or was it on purpose by accident?
1. Know when that message was sent
No longer will the exact time a message was sent be a mystery. The sleuths at Apple have allotted you an easy way to know exactly when your husband sent that text saying he would LOVE to go see the latest romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock simply by swiping the message bubbles to the left.
2. Take control of your apps
iOS 7 has given your iGadget the ability to download updates in the background while you play another level of Candy Crush, ensuring that your apps are always up-to-date and ready to go. And given that it’s useful but not particularly data friendly, as Aaron notes, Apple allows you to pick and choose which apps you wish to be updated in the background.
3. Always be updating
Tired of trudging to your virtual car, driving to the virtual Apple store, and manually updating your apps? Apple feels your pain and no longer do you have to exert 5 calories to do this every time an app gets an itch for an update. Your new iOS will now automatically update every app, and you can switch this feature off when you’re using cellular data.
Stop them watching
While it may seem strange that a marketing company would reveal a way to STOP receiving messages, we wish to remind you that we’re consumers, too, and we, too, tire of ads for “enhancement” pills and “this weird old trick” that will save you millions on your auto insurance. Under the Privacy tab, this feature can be activated and enjoyed with the lack of ads you’ll receive.
With 200+ changes to the old operating system, the iOS 7 gives you, in essence, a new phone. Improvements to old features mixed with new and more easily accessed features make this a welcome update that is sure to satiate the rabid appetites of the fans of all things Apple.
And it’s free.