Monday Challenge: The Idea Notebook

Monday on VineThinking is all about a tweaks, pushes, and challenges to help you get better at what you do in the wine sales world. This week: The Idea Notebook.

It’s an innocent enough idea. Today, go and buy a notebook. A nice one. I prefer Moleskine Cahir Journals or Fabriano Ecoqua Stapled notebooks myself, for they slide easily into the work bag and are pretty clean and unfussy yet well made. Whatever works for you, get one today.

Now here’s the exercise:

Page one: Put your name and phone number on it, in case you leave it behind somewhere.

Page two: Today’s date, and write about your personal struggles in sales. What are you bad at. What do you wish you could improve about your job abilities? Write about the angst, the frustration, the toughest parts of the job.

Page three onward: Put a category header on the top of the page, and use that page to write down ideas as they come to you to help solve problems within that category. Page header ideas include: sales techniques, retail displays, in store tastings, working with the boss, territory time management, training restaurant servers, saving money on gas and other expenses, work/life balance, selling more expensive wine, selling more volume, breaking into unsold accounts … and the list goes on and on.

During the upcoming week, focus on putting ideas in the notebook. Ideally, take 30-45 minutes in the middle of each workday to go through the notebook and jot down ideas. No idea is too strange. Nothing is impossible. The goal is get your brain thinking in terms of problem solving, even if the solution is outlandish. This is time well spent, for it will pay off huge in the coming months.

The goal of this Monday Challenge is simple: face your fears and frustrations, and have a system in place to work on replacing those fears and frustrations with success and business building. If you use this notebook correctly, it will become a habit to work problems out in this fashion plus it will give you a way to sense your progress. In other words, a month from now you’ll read the page your wrote about personal struggles and realize you’ve got this under control, that you’ve grown, and that you’re better at your job than you used to be.

It’s all about cataloging ideas, archiving ideas, working on ideas, reflecting on ideas, and using ideas regularly.

Be a problem solver, not an order taker.


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