Yoda was Wrong

Photo Credit: Wookieepedia

One of the most frequently quoted movie lines in business circles comes from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Jedi Master Yoda instructs Luke Skywalker to use The Force to raise his spaceship out of the swamp. Luke sighs and says, “I’ll give it a try.” Yoda responds, “No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

With all due respect to George Lucas, Yoda was wrong. There is a try. And it’s vital to your sales success.

“Doing” implies completing, accomplishing, succeeding. But succeeding at anything, especially sales, typically requires many attempts. Many failed attempts. Accomplishment results from study, practice and yes, failure. In other words, you can try without doing, but you can’t do without trying.

Why is this distinction important?

Because we can’t control outcomes. We can only control our own efforts. This is not to say you shouldn’t exercise every effort to create the outcomes you desire. But if you judge yourself solely on your results, you’re going to be awfully frustrated and you’ll quit long before you should.

Give yourself credit for your efforts, even if they don’t result in successes. (And if you’re a sales manager, VP or CEO, give your salespeople credit.) Failure is part of the process no matter who you are. Every great quarterback has thrown a lot of interceptions. Every great actor has appeared in at least one turkey. And every great salesperson has blown their share of deals. The important thing is to learn from the experience and move on.

Or as Yoda might put it: “Try you must. Fail you will. So try again you must.”