Be Resilient Like Sam-I-Am!


Sam I am

Dr. Seuss can teach us all how to be more resilient. With two young boys, it has been a thrill to be re-acquainted with one of the best children’s books of all-time.  The famous refrain “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam-I-am!”  from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham rings true today as much as when the book was first printed on August 12, 1960.

Sam-I-am invites his “client” to a buffet of green eggs and ham and receives a clear, resounding “NO!” In total, Sam-I-am gets rejected 69 times. 69 TIMES?!  Each rejection becomes only more emphatic than the preceding one. It is only after the grand 70th ask, that Sam-I-am convinces his “client” that green eggs and ham are exactly what he needs. Not only did Sam-I-am make the same ask 70 times over, but he also did it with flair – in boats, cars, trains, houses and even in the dark.  Each new ask on the same theme (my “client” will like green eggs and ham) was presented in so many fun and interesting ways.

2014 is a new year and a time for looking forward.  We make plans and resolutions, refine goals and think of ways to improve aspects of our professional lives.  Whether it is elevating individual or group achievements, inspiring employees, getting a promotion or more interesting work, closing more business or exploring a new career even into retirement, there is always an opportunity to aspire to.

After several weeks of working towards these new goals, it will only be natural to encounter resistance. Prospects, clients, vendors, colleagues, subordinates and supervisors may not be as excited about your efforts as you are.  The organizational dynamics, culture, social norms and ways of working may not easily accept change.  This exact moment is where I challenge you to find your inner Sam-I am.  Here are some ideas on how to find joy in resiliency, so you can achieve your goals:

Don’t Stop! Ever! – Are you prepared to find 70 different ways to achieve your goal?  Sam-I-am is resilient as ever.

Set a Clear Goal – Sam-I-am was on message throughout his 70 asks.  It was to get his “client” to try green eggs and ham.  When you are leading, managing and working with teams, are your goals/asks equally clear?

Selling is Asking Questions – Sam-I-am never stopped asking questions of his “client”. The more the “client” said no, the more that Sam-I-am learned about his preferences.

Change is Hard – Don’t expect your stakeholders to “get it” immediately.  Understand that different people process new concepts in different ways.  Be patient and enjoy the process.

Maintain your Composure – While his “client” got emotional quite quickly, Sam-I-am never lost his cool. Recognize that your stakeholder might be under competing pressures and may not respond calmly to your requests.

Identify all Available Resources – We live in a world with limited time and resources.  Sam-I-am was able to use boxes, trains, boats, goats, foxes, houses, mice, and trains to communicate his ideas.

Rejection is Not Personal – Sam-I-am does not take rejection personally. He deflects the negative response and moves on.

Propose Alternatives – Sam-I-am found new situations and environments for his “client” to “consume” the green eggs and ham.

Here’s to your resiliency!

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