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A Lesson In Sales From Elon Musk: Shift Your Focus Away From What You Want

I'm a big fan of Elon Musk.

Worth $12.7 billion. Founder of PayPal. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

Salesman extraordinaire.

And divorcee.

You can't win 'em all Elon.

Justine Musk, the first wife of Elon, knows a thing or two about wealth and hard work though, and a couple of years ago she posted a response to a Quora thread asking: "Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in all the necessary work required?"

Her response was pure, straight to the point, and a great reminder of the sacrifice it takes to change the world selling your vision.

"No," she answered.

Then she stated that the Quora reader was asking the wrong question.

"You're determined. So what? You haven't been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet," she wrote. "Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?"

She then offered some sage wisdom:

"Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential."

"Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life."

"The world doesn't throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.) The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life."

"There is no road map, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you'll have to figure out how it doesn't apply to you because you're coming from an unexpected angle. And you'll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you."

"Have courage. (You will need it.) And good luck. (You'll need that too.)"

I hope you picked up the lesson there, because it's a lesson far too many people in sales forget:

You have to serve what people want and need, and you'll get any money in return until your customers see the value.

So go forth and serve the world.

People are waiting to buy what you have.

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