The Lessons of Halloween
The end of October brings with it one of my favorite holidays on the calendar—Halloween, of course. The crisp autumn night with yellow leaves scattered on the ground… little ghosts and ghouls haunting the neighborhood streets in search of candy… artfully carved pumpkins on every porch, glowing like spectral apparitions. Anyone who has kids (or has been a kid!) is likely to experience a flood of eerie nostalgia when this time of year arrives.
But why do we have Halloween, aside from boosting candy sales? All holidays and their respective rituals are meant to teach us something – lessons that can be applied to our daily lives year-round. So what can the sales professional learn from a night of trick or treating?
During Halloween, it seems as if the world around us turns into something ghastly and frightening. Every front yard is accented with headstones, cobwebs, skeletons, and all manner of imagery designed to signify danger. But the purpose of the holiday is not to frighten people into staying home. Quite the opposite – on Halloween, we are meant to venture out into the spooky, scary world; to throw caution to the wind and revel in our peril; to face down the ghosts and knock on the door of that haunted old mansion. Why? For the promise of a Halloween treat, of course!
Let’s apply this idea to our professional lives for a moment. To the risk-averse, the frights found in neighborhood Halloween decorations pale in comparison to the terrifying possibility of failure. What if this plan doesn’t work? What if I embarrass myself? What if I’m not good enough? These thoughts are more spine-tingling to many of us than any ghost story conjured up in gothic literature.
Halloween teaches us that the sweetest rewards are to be gained when fear is at its zenith. Confidence, fortitude, and a strong constitution are required – all of which, by the way, are characteristics of a successful sales professional. Moreover, the core of Halloween is a spirit of adventure – and that is the spirit that should remain with us long after the legion of pumpkins has been composted and all the decorations have been put away.
You may find that a small injection of risk into your life can take you places you never imagined. If you make that big leap into the unknown – whether it’s opening your own business, approaching an intimidating sales client, or even taking the plunge on a new educational program – who’s to say where you’ll end up? The possibilities are limitless, and so are the opportunities.
There is only one certainty on Halloween, and in professional life: If you stay locked up at home, your only reward will be an empty sack. So go out and have some fun!
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