Five Pennies

If you're like me, and I know I am, I hate having stuff in my pockets.  Whether it's my phone, glasses, wallet or just loose change — can't stand any of it in my pocket.   And yes, I've left my phone, wallet, and glasses behind at times. Still not worth it.

Assuming you might feel this way, there's a trick that might be useful to you.  

I was in a professional sales capacity and having difficulty keeping up with my cold calling numbers. This is back in the days of actual, door-to-door, cold calling.   In order to manage my daily cold call goal, I put pennies in my pocket and removed one each time I completed a cold call. If my goal was five that day, then after five cold calls my pockets were empty! Funny how motivation works - the results of increased sales and thus, increased commission was not as motivating as getting rid of those uncomfortable pennies!  Maybe that's because the return on effort paid much faster with the pennies, not sure, but it worked.

At networking events, I might have put five pennies in my pocket with the goal of meeting five decent contacts — and getting rid of the pennies as soon as the goal was achieved — which definitely sped up the process as much as it clarified the goal and focus.

For me, the pennies typically represented a source of discomfort greater than the discomfort of chasing my goal. For you, it might be more about the focus, or the reminder. As long as it motivates action.

How could you use this?  It's all about actions — things you control in order to cancel out a penny.  Some ideas — put five pennies in your pocket and pull one out each time you —

  • Praise or encourage someone

  • Remember someone's name

  • Meet someone new

  • Make a cold call - email, phone or old fashioned door-knocking

  • Say thank you

You could even keep all of them in your pocket until you hit your daily goal.  Might get you to the goal faster. Lots of ways to leverage the five penny philosophy — and it doesn't have to be five or pennies for that matter.

If you want to get crazy...maybe put rocks in your pocket. Whatever it takes to motivate you!