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"Lessons from my Father"

Author: Alex Escoto

"Lessons from my Father".
Lessons my Father taught me and how they have helped me to be successful in sales and training.

By: Alex Escoto
Talent & Training Coordinator
SatCom Marketing LLC.

When my Father immigrated to this country, he had nothing more than a shirt on his back and a dream of becoming successful. My Father attempted a few different careers including sales, and even working as a machinist. He always believed that he had more to offer than simply being an employee for someone else; he knew that he needed to be his own boss so he started his own successful restaurant business. My Father is a hard man and believes in honesty to a fault and throughout my childhood taught me many valuable lessons that have helped me grow and be successful in my professional life.

Lesson Number 1: Be quick with your response and be careful with how you deliver it. It is not WHAT you say; it's HOW you say it.

When I was between the tender ages of 5-8 years old, I was watching a television show about animals and their environments. My father, always the comedian, felt it would be funny to joke with me and when a pig came out on the television he quickly turned to me and said "Son I did not know you would be on the television today". Of course after hearing this from my father, I felt a need to reciprocate what many would have felt was an insult. I waited for the right moment and, when they started talking about monkeys, I looked directly at the television and pointed at the monkeys and said "Dad what are you doing on the television". My father always being quick to come back responded ("I always knew you were not my son.")

I remember feeling so small after his response and understood even then that if I had simply turned my head and looked at him and said "Dad I did not know you were going to be on the television today" he would not have been able to respond the way he did. It is not what you say; it is how you say it, this lesson continues to be extremely valuable in my sales and training career. You must always remember that the delivery of your message is as important as what you are telling your customer. Always make sure to have great eye contact, always acknowledge the person you are talking with, and make sure to use the right words for the situation. Emphasizing key words in your presentation and speaking with confidence could sway the prospect in your favor.

Lesson Number 2: Everyone is needed; however no one is indispensable. You are not as valuable as you think you are.

In the early years of my Father's restaurant we had an employee that had been with us since the beginning. He had become complacent, lazy and no longer worked as hard as he used to. When my Father informed me that we would be letting him go, I could not believe it. I pleaded with him, "Dad he has been with us since the start. We can't replace him". He turned to me and responded "Son everyone is necessary, no one is indispensable." I know that whoever we bring in will have to be trained and it will take time to get someone to the level of understanding that he has but he can be replaced". We would later find the right person for the position and that person worked for my Father for over 17 years and was better than the previous employee had been.

This lesson taught me that no matter how valuable I may believe I am to a company, I must continue to work hard because if I do not I could be replaced. No one is indispensable. When you start to believe that you cannot be replaced in any position you may have with a company be it sales, training, or management, you are actually becoming more dispensable than you believe you are. Always question how you do your job before you question how other do theirs. Look to constantly improve what you are doing so that you can continue bringing value to your company and yourself.

Lesson Number 3: For Every big shot, "there is a big shot and a half." Never stop learning and improving so you can be the big shot and a half.

My favorite sport is boxing. There is no other sport in the world that depends on only the individual ability of the person playing. There are no teams and no matter how good the trainer and once the bell rings there is only one person in the ring and no one to help. My Father and I were having a conversation about a boxer (I cannot recall who he was) I felt he was unbeatable. My Father disagreed and told me very clearly in Spanish "por cada chingon ay un chingon y medio""for every big shot there is a big shot and a half". In a way it was prophetic since in the boxer's very next fight he lost by knockout, and when it happened my Father said "I told you there is always someone waiting in the wings who is better than you and is just waiting for their opportunity".

I remember sitting there for a while and letting what I had just witnessed set in and then it hit me. What my Father was trying to tell me is you should never become complacent and believe no one could do it better. You must always work hard and strive for more knowledge so that you can always be the big shot and a half. I have seen on many occasions sales people that refuse to listen to new and different ideas; since they already know everything they refuse to continue improving and learning. When you follow this dangerous path, it is only a matter of time before the next person comes around and does it better then you have.

Lesson Number 4: Anything that another person has done you can also do. There is no such thing as I cannot accomplish the task before me.

When I was younger, my Father loved to work on projects in our home. At any time we could begin replacing the floor in our kitchen, or building a wall in our basement to create new bedrooms for our expanding family. My Father always made sure that his children were there to help and learn since he did not believe in paying others to do the work that he could do. One day we were working on a vehicle that he wanted to repair when he suddenly had to get up to run an errand and told me that when he returned I needed to detach a part from the vehicle and to have it done by the time he was back from running his errand. No matter how hard I tried I could not loosen the part and when he returned I had yet to complete the task given to me. He asked "why is it not done yet"? I responded "Dad I cannot do it, it's too hard". He became upset and told me "that is BS anything done by one person can be done by any other person, there is no, I cannot do this it's too hard". He proceeded to tell me what I needed to do in order to accomplish the task he had given me and the next time he returned I was able to remove the part.

I learned that everyone can be taught and can complete any task that another person had done before them. If someone else had made a certain number of sales, created a report, brought forth new initiatives, or trained a group of 30 people I could do it also, never give up. When I first became the Training Coordinator for the company I currently work for, I had no prior training experience and was only given the materials and asked to perform. It was not easy, frankly it was scary. I could have easily given up and said "this is too hard I can't do it". Instead I remembered this lesson and put my mind to work and continue to improve on my abilities to this day.

My Father will always be my hero for showing me how to succeed in everything I do.

I will always be indebted to my Father for teaching me these lessons. I have applied them to every aspect of my life and it has allowed me to always open doors that others may have felt could not be opened. He taught me how important it was to never give up and always strive to do better. Take a moment to think about the lessons that your parents taught you that have helped you to be successful. We sometimes forget how big an influence they are in what we accomplish. If my Father had not taught me these lessons, I know I would not be where I am; I hope that sharing these lessons may also benefit you in some way.

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About the Author
Alex Escoto is currently serving SatCom Marketing LLC. as their Talent & Training Coordinator. Alex Is constantly looking for ways to improve on his abilites and for ways to improve the effectivness of sales people and their training. If there is anything he can do to help you and your company improve please contact him at 651-354-5847 or follow him on LinkedIn.