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I'm one of those salespeople who haven't spent $20.00 this year on a book or seminar to improve myself. I just don't want to go to the trouble. I believe that I can learn sufficiently on the job, and I'm tired of going to school. Should I feel bad?

Now that's an honest question. Should you feel bad? My knee jerk reacting is to say, "Of course." But, on further reflection, it depends on your approach to your job, and on your aspirations for yourself. First, a definition -- "mastery." You achieve "mastery" of any profession when you are in the top 5% of performers in that profession. Pursuit of mastery is the continuous striving to achieve and then to remain in the top 5% of your profession.

I believe that every serious professional salesperson ought to strive for mastery. If that applies to you, then you want to become as good as you can become. If you want the greater sense of fulfillment, the greater degree of respect, and the increase in economic status that mastery brings, then, yes, you should feel bad because you are not acting consistently with your aspirations.

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So, from one perspective, I have to say, Yes, you should feel bad. But it is not an ideal world. And, realistically, only about 20% of salespeople have such aspirations. Most are content with the status quo. Most just want to do their job, go home at the end of the day, and be done with it. If that's you, then I guess you are living a life consistent with your values, and that's OK.

The difference is what you want for yourself and your family. If you are perfectly content with your situation and your results, if you do not want anything that can be achieved by higher performance, if you don't want to become something better than you are, than you are perfectly content, and contentment is the enemy of growth. If you want to be or achieve something that you are not now, that discontentment should lead you to the realization that you must change if you are going to achieve something more. And that realization should stimulate you to invest in more heavily in your own development.

So, which are you? Content with your situation, or discontent? The answer to "should you feel bad" depends on your position.

Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B salespeople, sales managers and business owners to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He's authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. To access Dave's training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center. Visit www.davekahle.com to check out a seminar near you.

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