Why I read every day
Twenty-three years ago, I pestered my then-boss to give me a car and let me visit some customers. I had wanted to be a salesman for some time. To many this may sound strange but I knew right from my first job on a market stall, at age 13, that “sales” was for me. I found lots of stuff difficult at school but I knew I was a good talker and I had the detentions to show for it. My part-time job in a sports shop gave me my first exposure to sales reps – they drove around in cars that someone else had paid for, showing people stuff and collecting orders. It did not even seem like a real job.
So I was 21 years old, had a brand new car and a list of people to see. What could be easier? Well, in fact, the first year was hell. There was a lot more to being a salesman than I first thought. It required more planning, preparation and thought than I had ever imagined. Worse than that, people did not give you orders just because you went to see them. I had had some sales training but was out of my depth. My boss was supportive, but he had taken a risk in giving me a chance and I did not want to tell him just how hard I was finding it.
I was given a book, which I think was called “The Sales Handbook”, containing lots of tips and tricks to becoming a great salesman. Things improved, so I sought out more books and while my early reading focused on sales, with time it expanded into marketing, business and personal development. About 10 years ago I started to read for at least 30 minutes every day. I have read some rubbish over the years, but I have also read some great things that have inspired me to develop some useful ways of working. There are many recycled ideas out there and many I disagree with, but even these ideas I find useful, as they often make me more certain of my own thoughts on how things should be done.
Last year I decided to give business books a break and started on autobiographies. I have to admit, I eased myself in with a few business people I had not previously read about, before getting stuck into a range of autobiographies by people outside of my normal interests. I have read some amazing life stories and learnt how spending time outside your comfort zone and in the face of adversity can be good for you.
Has all this reading helped? Well I know it has not hurt me and along the way it’s given me inspiration to overcome some tricky problems and find my own way of doing things. How often do you read?