When someone outside of my organization recently asked for time on my calendar, I couldn’t help but wince. Do I say no? How can I politely convey that I’m just stretched too thin at the moment? We all know that time is a precious commodity. We are all juggling multiple responsibilities and commitments, and the thought of adding one more thing to our already-packed calendars can be daunting.
This specific request left me thinking maybe I should reconsider how to move forward in similar situations. I decided to start experimenting with setting aside time for those who ask for it. Despite my initial hesitation, in the last 30 days, I’ve found this practice to actually be time well spent. I’ve been able to gain valuable insights, fresh perspectives, and innovative ideas that help me in my role at Jacaruso. I’m here to tell you today that I believe there’s value in spending time with the people who ask for it and while I recommend you use your discretion, allocating time for impromptu interactions can remarkably benefit your organization too.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Unexpected Nuggets of Wisdom
As a salesperson, the last thing I want is another sales pitch. That might seem ironic, but it’s true. When I get a meeting request, my immediate thought often is “what are they trying to sell me now?” Does this ring a bell? Of course, it does. But I’m challenging myself to re-frame my perspective and consider a different approach. Instead of seeing another meeting request as an unwelcome addition to my never-ending to-do list, or an email as an interruption to my workday, I imagine it as an opportunity to connect, share ideas, and foster a culture of collaboration. Personally, I’ve discovered that approaching these situations with an open mind, even when the information might initially appear irrelevant, I always gain a new nugget of information. Sometimes it’s a valuable takeaway that is worth its weight in gold.
Access to New Perspectives
We all have a comfort zone. It’s not uncommon for salespeople like me to step outside of my comfort zone to find new business, close a sale, or even attend a networking event where I don’t know a single soul. When we spend time with people who ask for it, especially outside of our own organization, we often open ourselves up to see a new perspective. The individuals you engage with may bring varied backgrounds, experiences, or skill sets. It’s an opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge that enables a deeper understanding of your industry, customers, and competition.
I recall going to an event recently that I was very nervous to attend. It was my first time attending this event with an audience I worried might not share common interests, and it was thousands of miles away from home. Surprisingly, the conversations at that event were among the most productive I’ve had in a while. They challenged me to think differently, gave me access to a new perspective, and offered insights that are now helping me make more informed decisions. The networking wasn’t so bad, either. It was time well spent.
Enhanced Personal Growth
Engaging with those seeking your time doesn’t just benefit your organization—it’s a pathway to personal growth. Every conversation, each interaction presents an opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and enhance your understanding. Our growth hinges on new ideas and fresh perspectives that challenge our assumptions. Little did I know that accepting that meeting request, stepping beyond the confines of what felt familiar (like saying no to an additional meeting when I’m swamped!), would pave the way for new opportunities, professional development, and personal growth. In the past 30 days, that single meeting facilitated valuable connections within the industry, ones I’d been trying to establish on my own. It opened the possibility for exploring partnerships I hadn’t previously considered and led to other referrals. All this reinforces a single notion: growth happens when you leave your comfort zone.
The next time an opportunity arises to spend time with someone seeking your insights or just looking to connect, consider saying “yes.” You may be amazed by the wealth of knowledge and valuable connections awaiting you. If you’re eager to explore new connections or conversations, reach out to me. I’d love to make some time for you.
Vice President of Sales, Jacaruso Enterprises