Did you complete the mission or blame the circumstance?

by Jen Gluckow


SITUATION: Flat tire? Too much traffic? Rain, no cabs? Snow? Train delay? Doctor ran late? Dog ate your homework? What circumstance got in the way of completing your mission that you conveniently used as an excuse to:

not make the meeting?

be late for an appointment?

not get the project done on time?

not deliver the goods?

not make or be late for a service call?

STORY: Every week I run a networking meeting in New York City (feel free to visit, make new connections, and potentially gain new business!).

Since I travel a lot for work, getting back to New York City on Monday nights to run a 6:45 AM meeting is not always easy. If youre a traveler, you know the airlines dont care about your agenda or where you need to be by when – they care about themselves. Most airlines offer the worst customer service on the planet – stay tuned for lessons learned from airlines.

A few weeks ago I was stuck. It was 10 PM and I had been at the airport for eight hours through multiple delays. I boarded the plane only to be brought back to the gate, wait two more hours, be told all flights are cancelled, and be given my bags. All my backup plans from other airlines were cancelled too. Now what?! Ever been there?

I had a choice: I could have easily stayed in Pittsburgh overnight and explained to my meeting attendees that my plane was canceled due to weather, or I could have done whatever it takes to get back to New York City in time for my meeting. I made it my personal mission to stay calm and make a new plan to make the meeting.

CHALLENGE: Whats your mission?

Make the meeting, finish the project, deliver service, make the sale, form the relationship, build the relationship, offer the best service, get the customer what they deserve, get a referral, get a testimonial?

TAKE ACTION: Well, it turned out, if I caught a bus and spent the next eight hours driving through the night next to a smelly person, I could make the meeting.

And I did.

I arrived 10 minutes early looking like I rolled outta bed…The truth was I just got off the bus and went straight to the meeting.

CHALLENGE: Ask yourself, “Whats stopping you? Do you take responsibility and do whatever it takes or do you make excuses and blame the circumstance?”

Way too often, I hear salespeople blame – blame the company, blame the product, blame the service, blame their boss and the worst – blame the customer. He didnt call me back. Or, He didnt respond to my email. Or, They think our price is too high. Sales people (not you, of course) blame everyone except themselves.

Your challenge is not to blame, but to accept your responsibility and make it your mission to find out their reasons. Why do they want to buy?

Your challenge is not to blame, but to accept your responsibility and make it your mission to deliver as promised. When something goes wrong, ask yourself: What happened? How can I fix it? Stay clam – getting angry kills creativity. Ask yourself: How can I take responsibility and get the job done? How can I take responsibility for the future?


  • Read A Message to Garcia. After you read it, re-read it. Be inspired. Make it your mission to do whatever it takes to make your mission.
  • Preplan for backup what if? Plan B?…Plan C?…Plan Z?
  • Stay calm, and think clearly.
  • Take action immediately.
  • Feel the HIGHEST sense of accomplishment and achievement.

EPILOG: Yes, I changed my clothing in the ladies room before the meeting, and yes I told an abbreviated version of the story as an example to those who use lame excuses not to attend. Also note, this was a HUGE accomplishment for me, and regardless of the obstacles and no sleep, and smelly people on the bus, a GREAT feeling of achievement. I wanted to scream, I DID IT!


With co-host Jeffrey Gitomer, we bring in top sales professionals to give you the best advice to kick your own ass.