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  • Brett Zalaski

I'm About to Be F**king 40.

I turn 40 tomorrow and I was feeling really good about it until yesterday when I hurt a muscle in my shoulder stretching, and then burned a scratch into it using an electric massager. So while my body is crumbling, I'm not necessarily wiser. Terrific combo.

That said, I've been reflecting a lot since this pandemic started about why I've been able to take such a positive and proactive approach to well as to my 40th birthday (until yesterday). As someone who struggles with anxiety, it would have been WAY easier to close up shop and whine about 'no team's hiring sales trainers during this'...and then escape into my own world of pity and fear about turning 40.

But that's not the person I've become...and I'm really proud of that. It's the build-up of all the moments where I did stumble that make me a person at 40, and during #COVID19, that I'm really proud of.

So, how did I get here? What are some lessons I can pass along? Thanks for asking!

  • Your mental health is your biggest priority: I knew something was wrong, friends inquired about me, and I did nothing. There was still a stigma around mental health and I was too proud to lean into help. Then I did, and it started me on the path of getting better.

  • Comparison is the thief of joy: Stop focusing on what those around you are doing or saying. If you know what the right thing is, do that. That's a sales thing AND a life thing.

  • The client is always first: Whenever I felt like I needed to make a sale to a client first, I fell flat on my face. Whenever focusing on their challenges and opportunities was the priority, I was more successful. Long-term sales success comes ONLY from the success of your clients first.

  • Only activity replaces activity: When I started selling we had a phone and JUST got email. Now we have a TON of ways we can connect and communicate with potential prospects. But just because we have more doesn't mean that we can be less active. Activity will always be the great separator from good salespeople and bad salespeople...regardless of what that activity looks like.

  • Be reflective to be active: I've leaned in to my past too often. No doubt. If I'd go back to change anything, I'd go back to make every opportunity feel like a new opportunity. I'm proud of what I've done...and I should always think about how those successes can translate to new opportunities...but they should INFORM that NEW decision. They should not be what I lead with.

  • Hope is a focus, not a feeling: This is a new one. I just wrote about it. But it's been 'behind the scenes' important for a while now. When I'm imparting hope on my clients or young reps, I'm at my best. When I'm hoping something will happen, I'm at my anxiety-driven worst. That's a stone cold truth.

Those are just a few of many...but the most important thing to remember is something that Aerosmith said, '...Life's a journey, not a destination, and I just can't tell just what tomorrow will bring.' When my life was about getting to a finish line I was never going to reach, it wasn't great. Since my life has become about enjoying the moments I get, it's been a hell of a lot better. I wish the same to everyone on the day I become old as f**k.

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