February 2, 2010

New Ways to Win with Wayne Dyer

By james b. crawford

Dr. Wayne Dyer, fresh off the plane from Florida, strolls casually into the hotel lobby, a travel bag slung over his shoulder. Though his face, like his best-selling books and cassettes, is known the world over to millions of people, and today marks the first leg of a book tour for his already hot-selling You’ll See It When You Believe It, there is none of the fanfare or hoopla, none of the press agents, limos or camera flashes commonly attendant on celebrities. Dressed in shorts, jogging shoes and a sports shirt, Dyer looks like any of thousands of other tourists who are arriving in late Spring in the nation’s capital. The desk clerk checks him in like an ordinary guest. Once you get to know Dyer, you realize that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here is a man who seems not the least bit affected by public adulation. Fame has not altered him. Through the years of international lecture circuits, talk shows, and translations of his work into nearly as many languages as there are cultures, Dyer has never recognized any boundary between the spirit he calls his "self" and the millions who comprise his audience. Outwardly, he is as plain, friendly and accessible as your next door neighbor, and in talking to him one-on-one, you quickly see that there is no dichotomy between public and private man. He is the same off-stage as on, at once quietly intense about his beliefs, totally unself-conscious, humorous, and interested in you, a man who talks to and with you, never at you.

He is the tall affable chap in the open-necked shirt, asking about your wife and children like an old friend leaning over the backyard fence to exchange small talk.

No Turning Point

In the years since Your Erroneous Zones was published, Dyer has spawned dozens of imitators, yet he remains the acknowledged Father of Motivation. Perhaps more than any other man of his generation, Dyer has managed to embody the spirit of the times, or even lead it a little. His true genius may lie in his ability to anticipate the mood of the people, so that he appears not merely timely, but prescient. Time and again, the arrival of a new Wayne Dyer book acts like a magnetic pole of the spirit, tugging our storm-tossed lives onto a firm course. Dyer is at the helm, pointing us in the right direction.Dyer is the first to acknowledge that the course has altered over the years. In Your Erroneous Zones, he wrote about managing one’s emotions, then progressed to the concept of self-actualization in The Sky’s the Limit. His focus turned outward in later works such as What Do You Really Want For Your Children? and in How To Pull Your Own Strings, which explore the complex interactions with family and business associates. Considering Dyer’s work as a body of thought in evolution, You’ll See It When You Believe Itrepresents a journey into exotic, uncharted lands. For while earlier books called on us to optimize our potential as human beings, this new one urges that we seek harmony between ourselves and the world around us, meaning our fellow man, the planet and the universe. Paradoxically, the seeds of this latest book may have always been present in Dyer. The voyage of internal discovery he leads us is more one of revelation than revolution. Asked if there was ever a turning point in his life, a moment or event that crystallized his thinking and made him the man revered by millions the world over, Dyer laughs and says that, no, he has always been the way he is now, even as a child.

Practicality Of The Spirit

If this sounds a bit mystical-well, it is, and Dyer makes no bones about it. Quotes from the great spiritual and metaphysical leaders of the age, and ages past, leap from the pages of his book and lace Dyer’s conversation: Schweitzer, Thoreau, Christ, Buddha, and a score of Hindu swamis. As he speaks, Dyer moves easily from the challenges of the moment to discussions of the Bhagavad Gita or a discourse on Abraham Mazlow and Albert Ellis. The talk is fluid, lightning-paced, yet well-knit into a cohesive whole that underscores the point Dyer wants to make for the decade of the 1990s: We have entered into the Age of Spirit. That, in essence, is what You’ll See It When You Believe It is all about: the new spiritual revolution, what it is, what it means, how we can tune in, and most importantly, put this realization to practical use.

Practicality is a key word. Dyer’s excursions into the metaphysical have a point, and that’s to help us squeeze the most living out of our lives everyday, to enjoy our families, improve our relations with colleagues and customers, and as salespeople to realize our full potential. In a world filled with white-collar number crunchers urging us to fight and compete, Dyer takes the novel stand that competition is an antiquated notion, the wave of the past, an unnatural, even unhealthy, aberration. The dog-eat-dog mentality is anathema to Dyer, who asks that we consider whether its long-term effects are really worth it."You have to look at the pay-offs for living that way," he says. "What’s it doing to your blood pressure, your heart, your ease, harmony and ability to love? If you’re always in a hurry, always trying to get ahead of the other guy, or if somebody else’s performance is what motivates you, then that person is in control of you. People who are always striving never arrive and are never fulfilled."

New Sales Consciousness

We’re sitting in Dyer’s ground level suite in a suburban Sheraton. Dyer is a tall, athletic man, a bit more sombre-looking than the grinning chap whose face adorns all those book covers. He looks 10 years younger than his 50 years, and his youthful appearance is reinforced by his casual clothing. It’s the day before Earth Day, and Dyer’s mood is buoyant. As the archangel of change, he’s feeling the satisfaction of one who has lived to see major, positive changes happening in the world around him, a living, breathing catalyst who sits calmly in the vortex of upheaval watching as the world grows into the ideas he has espoused for a generation."There’s a shift in consciousness going on, and it’s reflected in events and in the new leaders we’re getting – extraordinary men and women who have that consciousness and vision. The president of Czecho-slovakia is a poet and playwright who a year ago was in prison. There’s a novelist running for president in Peru. Eastern Europe has thrown off Communism, and there are demands for change in China and in Africa."

The upheaval, Dyer believes, is reaching right up into the world of commerce, affecting industry and sales. People whose lives previously revolved around the acquisition of material goods are taking a hard look at themselves, and opting for a simpler life that brings them into closer connection with their fellow man and the planet. The same salesman who’s carving out his territory Monday to Friday is recycling his garbage and picking up cans along the side of the highway on weekends. That salesman is also examining his motives for choosing a career in sales – is it just for the money, or for the love of what he’s doing?"What are your priorities – to collect a lot of stuff? Do you understand in a larger sense that you can’t own anything, that there’s a lease on everything you get, that the suit you’re wearing today will adorn somebody else in a metaphysical moment?"In the pursuit of the bottom line, we have to ask if we can be the kind of person who only cares about things, if we can balance the many good aspects of capitalism and yet have a conscience. I believe the answer is yes."

Oneness … And Cooperative Selling

Dyer’s views on selling and business are a natural outgrowth of his philosophy of "oneness." Simply put, he believes that all of us here on earth are part of a greater organism. Competition does not get much play in this world view, he reasons, or it shouldn’t. Using the analogy of the human body, Dyer feels that it’s unhealthy, even impossible, for one part of the anatomy to oppose another. Every cell works in unison with its counterpart. The uncooperative cell is an anomaly, a cancer. In the absence of cancer, the cells are joined in a harmonious balance that benefits the whole. Dyer calls this harmony "oneness."If we can bring this concept into our lives as salespeople, it’s possible to see that competition is an illusion. You don’t have to sell against somebody else when you are so supremely good at selling for yourself and your company to benefit the customer. You don’t have to reach into your salesperson’s bag of tricks to nab the sale at all costs when you truly believe that you’re working for the customer, that your interests and his are the same.

"In order to be good at selling, you have to fall in love with what you do, and then sell that love," says Dyer. You don’t sell your product, because every product in the world has some validity, and there is another product out there that will satisfy the customer’s need just as well.

"The most successful salespeople in the world are the ones that have the most serenity," he adds. "They’re working for the customer’s quota, not their own. Uppermost in their minds is the question, `How can I serve you?’ "Dyer sees the spirit at work in everything we do in sales, whether making the presentation, prospecting, or performing follow-up customer service. The difference between superachievers and average performers is enthusiasm, or what he calls "the God within."

"When you are filled with enthusiasm for what you sell, and can convey that, it doesn’t matter what product you’re offering – the people will want it."

Dyer’s concept of "oneness," applied to sales, is a logical extension of the ideas he developed over two decades. First work on yourself and your attitude. Then externalize it. Apply what you’ve learned along the path to self-fulfillment so that you can better serve your customers. Make cooperation and service the rule in all your business dealings.

Personal Transformation

All well and good, but is it do-able, can we simultaneously drop the deeply ingrained desire to compete and be successful in sales? How do we begin the personal transformation requisite to feeling the sense of "oneness" that Dyer describes?Dyer believes that personal transformation results from the simple act of being willing to recognize our higher selves. "Be willing and forget determination," he says. You can’t will yourself to succeed any more than you can force a plant to grow. But if you water the plant, provide it with the proper nutrients and sunlight, it will grow all on its own. Trying to change in order to achieve success is as pointless as tugging on the shoots of the plant. To those among us schooled in the American Way of hard work and competition, this may be a little hard to swallow. From the earliest age we’re taught to sweat for what we get. The idea that success will just come to us if we let it seems almost heretical.Looking at this side of Dyer in light of his grounding in Asian philosophy makes the concept a little easier to grasp. His views on "willingness" or openness to change are akin to the Zen notion of "satori," or instant enlightenment. Many Buddhists believe that self-actualization results not from years of study and meditation, that is from striving, but from the lightning quick realization that we are already perfectly functioning, fulfilled beings, that each of us already has all he needs to be happy and whole. This sudden awakening of the self to its innate riches is what Dyer is talking about. But where does one begin? "By recognizing that who you are is not your form, that you are more than the body you occupy," Dyer says. "Recognize that what makes you human is not this form, but the invisible intelligence that suffuses you-mind, spirit, God, whatever you want to call it."

Abundance In Sales

So what’s the payoff? Is there any real-world profit in all this talk of "oneness" and mind, or does Dyer feel we should all cast off our possessions and become monks? Dyer responds there is practical merit in what he says."All successful people know how to focus their minds on what they want," he says. If success is what you’re after, then, you’d better understand that the mind is what you’re all about. Dyer believes that if we focus on abundance, we will realize it, hence his book title, You’ll See It When You Believe It. Conversely, concentrating on the negative aspects of life will produce more negativity, both in your mind and actions.

"The antecedent to every action is a thought, and what you think about expands. If you think about scarcity, convinced that you can’t close a deal or that the customer will never buy, then your mind will focus on that. If you focus your mind on the negative, that’s what you’ll achieve. So ask yourself how much of your mind you’re devoting to what you’re missing."Every problem you have you experience in your mind. The solution to the problem is in the same place, and it won’t go away just because you change your external circumstances. If you want abundance, think abundance."

Dyer offers some solid tips on visualization to help you realize the results you want. Your actions, he says, come from your images, so it is critical that you choose the mental images you want. In a sales situation, concentrate on the many benefits your product will bring the customer, and see him in agreement with you. Imagining a lost sale can actually precondition you for failure, and set up the behaviors that lead the customer to turn you down. Forget trying to change your behavior, Dyer urges. Instead, work on those things inside your consciousness that lead to the behavior.Second, "Tell yourself that everything you visualize is already here." The opportunity to make thought a reality is up to you.

Don’t be constrained by thinking that your dreams are impossible or unrealistic. Simply act to make them happen.Finally, forget about perseverance and personal drive – they don’t help you understand the visualization process or bring it into your life. Instead, recall Dyer’s concept of "willingness." Be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream. Often we hear those who fail say, "I gave it my best shot." What is invariably lacking, says Dyer, is their willingness to do whatever might be necessary in order to succeed. “This is the single most important aspect of visualization and imagery," says Dyer. "Everything that you can picture in your mind is already here waiting for you to connect to it. What needs to be added is your state of willingness." You needn’t climb a mountain of obstacles and work yourself to death in order to find abundance, according to Dyer. All you have to do is see what you want, and be open to letting it happen. Be prepared for what you find. Abundance may amount to material wealth, or the much more satisfying riches of peace, self- assuredness and harmony. Dyer would argue that you can’t really enjoy the former without first attaining the latter. He likens the experience of reaching this state of awareness to walking through a gate into a beautiful garden. "I passed through the gate many years ago," he says with a smile. "Once you enter, there’s no going back."

Let Your Purpose Find You

Earth Day 1990. Twenty-four hours have passed since I interviewed Wayne Dyer, and I’m sitting with 1,000 other people in a high school auditorium waiting for Dyer to arrive and begin a three-hour talk. A woman walks on stage to introduce Dyer, and as the curtain flips aside we can catch a glimpse of him in a striped sweater and the trademark open collar shirt. She finishes what she has to say, and, calling for a warm welcome, glances back to the curtain where she has left the honored guest speaker only moments before. No Dyer. The applause reaches a crescendo, but still no Dyer. Suddenly laughter ripples through the crowd. The renowned Dr. Dyer has slipped to the other side of the stage and is peeking around the curtain, the bright light bouncing off his beaming smile. He tiptoes up behind the woman and gives her a big hug. The audience goes wild, loving him for his boyishness.As Dyer launches into his monologue, my mind is drifting back and forth between the present moment and the hour I spent with him the day before, piecing it together, looking for the thread that links the man and his work. For all his books, tapes, for all the inspiration he has given so many, I see that Dyer’s greatness is that he has never lost touch with the child within. Inside the man, the boy remains intact. It’s the secret behind his alertness, enthusiasm and eagerness for life.

Like each of us, Dyer has surely experienced disappointment, hurt and disillusionment. No one is immune to these. Yet they have never dulled him, and that’s what makes the difference. That’s why he’s on stage, and we’re sitting here listening to him. He has honed life’s tests into a unified positive and purposeful outlook that has meaning for many.

"All my experience – the many jobs, the divorce – I celebrate all of it as blessings that taught me how to survive. My life has been a journey, all exquisitely choreo-graphed, or I wouldn’t be here.""We all have a purpose. The point of your metaphysical journey is to let that purpose find you."Among the faces in the crowd are people I know – a nurse, a secretary, a sales trainer, a real estate agent. All practical, sensible folk.

What has drawn them here today? When they return to their jobs tomorrow, what fragments of this afternoon’s talk will they carry back with them? A reporter who has grown a little skeptical with the years, I reflect disconsolately that as the week wears on Dyer’s inspiration will fade and we will once again find ourselves clawing at one another in a world where struggle and competition are the norm.

As I’m thinking this, Wayne Dyer repeats a phrase he used the day before, and the words resound as though spoken just for me."If you want abundance, think abundance."The call is strong. It’s the pull of this idea that has brought such a diverse group into this assembly, and it’s immaterial whether we decide to follow wholeheartedly today or follow only part of the way. In due time, we must take his path because we know Wayne Dyer is right.