Death of a Salesman: Stop Burying Your Dreams
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Death of a Salesman: Stop Burying Your Dreams

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This Arthur Miller 1949 Pulitzer Prize play depicts the declining days of a failing salesman. Willy Lowman believes in the promise of the American Dream—that a “well liked” and “personally ...

This Arthur Miller 1949 Pulitzer Prize play depicts the declining days of a failing salesman. Willy Lowman believes in the promise of the American Dream—that a “well liked” and “personally attractive” man in business will acquire the material comforts offered by modern American life. He comes to discover that hard work without complaint is the key to success.

In this recent webinar, we used lessons from the play to learn the following:

1. Factors that prematurely kill any dream, vision, or business idea
2. How to get “unstuck” when you have buried your excitement and motivation along with your dream, vision, or business idea
3. How to turn your dream, vision, or business idea into “reality” with measurable outcomes
4. Practical solutions for common obstacles in carrying out your dream, vision or business idea from start to finish.

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Death of a Salesman: Stop Burying Your Dreams Death of a Salesman: Stop Burying Your Dreams Presentation Transcript

  • Death of a Salesman: Stop Burying Your Dreams Webinar Presented by Sheena Lyle, Executive Consultant
  • In this Webinar today we will……. Use lessons from the play to: • Examine factors that prematurely kill any dream, vision, or business idea • How to get “unstuck” when you have buried your excitement and motivation along with your dream, vision, or business idea • How to turn your dream, vision, or business idea into “reality” with measurable outcomes • Practical solutions for common obstacles in carrying out your dream, vision or business idea from start to finish
  • Background of Miller’s Death of a Salesman • Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s most famous work, is a 1949 Pulitzer Play that depicts the declining days of a failing salesman • The play examines the cost of blind faith in the American Dream • Miller charges America with selling a false myth constructed around a capitalist materialism that obscured the personal truth and moral vision of the original American Dream described by the country’s founders.
  • Premature Death Factor One Frustration • Willy Loman returns to his home in Brooklyn one night, exhausted from a failed sales trip. His wife, Linda, tries to persuade him to ask his boss, Howard Wagner, to let him work in New York so that he won’t have to travel. Willy says that he will talk to Howard the next day. Willy complains that Biff, his older son who has come back home to visit, has yet to make something of himself. Linda scolds Willy for being so critical, and Willy goes to the kitchen for a snack.
  • Managing Frustration • Expect frustration – we manage things better when we expect them rather than being “caught off guard” • Focus on what you have control over- frustration exists when things appear out of our control • Self-manage to avoid taking frustrations out on others
  • Premature Death Factor Two – Comparison • Biff and his younger brother, Happy, who is also visiting, reminisce about their adolescence and discuss their father’s babbling, which often includes criticism of Biff’s failure to live up to Willy’s expectations. Willy becomes immersed in a daydream. Willy confides in Biff and Happy that he is going to open his own business one day, bigger than that owned by his neighbor, Charley.
  • Stop Comparing Self to Others • Embrace your dream, vision, or business idea as yours –OWN IT • Don’t worry about what others are doing – “Stay in your lane” • Comparing self to others causes us to compete or conform due to not appreciating our uniqueness • Just like our unique fingerprint, we are not created or designed to imitate others or their dreams, visions, or ideas
  • Premature Death Factor Three- SelfDoubt • Willy boasts of a phenomenally successful sales trip, but Linda coaxes him into revealing that his trip was actually only meagerly successful. Willy complains that he soon won’t be able to make all of the payments on their appliances and car. He complains that people don’t like him and that he’s not good at his job. As Linda consoles him…
  • Turning Self-Doubt into SelfConfidence • William Shakespeare says it best with his statement “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win…..” • Problem-solve when doubt grips your mind…..there is always something you can do to further your vision, dream, or idea • Refuse to worry….you will succeed when you refuse any other alternative to winning….believe in yourself and your vision
  • Stuck Factor One: Regrets • Agitated, Willy shouts his regret about not going to Alaska with his brother, Ben, who eventually found a diamond mine in Africa and became rich. Charley, having heard the commotion, enters.
  • Getting Unstuck: Re-Ignite Your Passion • No more regrets – re-ignite your passion, “the spark” that started it all • Don’t look back – regret has you looking back; you cannot walk forward and backwards at the same time • Ponder on your vision, mission statement, goals, objectives until you are planning ahead/moving past obstacles
  • Stuck Factor Two: The 3 I’s (Inconsistent, Indecisive, and Inflexible) • Act II opens with Willy enjoying the breakfast that Linda has made for him. Willy ponders the bright-seeming future before getting angry again about his expensive appliances. Linda informs Willy that Biff and Happy are taking him out to dinner that night. Excited, Willy announces that he is going to make Howard Wagner give him a New York job.
  • Getting Unstuck: The 3 F’s (Firmness, Flexible, and Finishing) • Exchange indecisive actions and words about your dream, vision, or idea for a firm stance (firm decisions regardless of feeling) • Exchange inflexible for flexible controlling what you can and letting go of the frustration of what you cannot control (people, things) • Exchange inconsistency for finishing what you started
  • Measurable Outcome 1: Set Dates • Map out your vision into specific dates and stick to these dates • Common dates • • • • • • • Initiation date Open House date Date to complete business plan Date to review plan with others Date to solicit/secure funding Date of event to market Date to finalize
  • Measurable Outcome 2: Set Quantities • Set specific goals with quantities (be realistic) • Common quantities • Sell _____ products in one month • Have a total of _____ loyal customers in three months • Increase sales by _____ over the next quarter • Provide services to _____ persons by the end of 2014.
  • Measurable Outcome 3: Re-evaluation • Many people can set dates and specific quantities, but they either never go back and reevaluate or get too discouraged to re-evaluate • Re-evaluation is critical to reassess measurable outcomes and adjust accordingly for further success…..it’s not a win or lose re-evaluation, but a strategizing moment
  • Common Obstacles Encountered •Distractions •Fear •Lack of Knowledge
  • Practical Solution to Distractions • Stay focused • Practical solutions to stay focused • Set aside….block off time to work on vision, dream, idea (quiet place) • Get control over time stealers and time wasters…..unnecessary energy • Prioritize…..learning to say “no” is part of prioritizing tasks
  • Practical Solution to FEAR • You must not be negatively influenced by others fears and attempts to transfer their fears to you in your vision, dream, or business idea • Ward off fear by accepting change and newness. Embrace change • Unfavorable conditions are just an opportunity to strategize so that you are ready to implement once the unfavorable conditions are lifted • rid of excuses and rationalizations to hold on to your fears and be consistent in actions that move you past your fears
  • Practical Solution to Lack of Knowledge • Get around the “right” people to be well-informed and welladvised (i.e. join relevant groups, networks, support organizations) • Share your knowledge….you get more knowledge back when you share yours with others • Develop a sound advisory team (“no man is an island to himself”- John Donne)
  • Homework Assignment – Post-Webinar
  • Follow-Up Services • Please contact me for specific services • One-on-one consultations • Speaking engagements • Change management • Brief Bio As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Social Work, Sheena is a combination of an authentic business leader and a counselor with deep insight. Her leadership approach is “hands-on” with systematic delegation and setting the example. She has an extraordinary style in inspiring her audiences while also providing useful, practical techniques to engage audiences in reaching attainable goals.
  • Thank You for Attending the Webinar