Lake days are often the best days.  Sunday, we had friends up to our lake house and enjoyed swimming, sunning, and a few adult beverages.  

After lunch, we moved to the Splash & Chill Island aka Relaxation Station to get wet and cool off.  I moved my iPhone and Bluetooth speaker nearby on the dock so we could enjoy some tunes.  

Splash & Chill Island

What a great day!

About 6PM, I excused myself to prep for cooking dinner. I didn’t want to destroy the vibe for our guests, so I left the phone and speaker on the dock.  

Big mistake. 

Apparently, a big gust of wind blew through taking with it some floats and my speaker and precious iPhone 13.  

Yes, they must have been swept up with the floats – note the wings on the floats – and fell into the lake.  Only when I returned to the dock and asked, “uh, where’s my phone and speaker?” did everyone realize there was no music playing.  It must have fallen into the lake. 

Evidently, the wings are functional.


For better or worse, my iPhone is often attached to me – it’s my work tool, my calendar, my reminder, my friend.  Ok, that may be too much.  Still, I jumped into the water – it’s only 8-10 feet deep there. Maybe I could find it.  

Nope, the water was too murky, I couldn’t see.  

Crestfallen, I went online and ordered a new phone. Dang-it, I have damage, not stolen or lost, insurance.   We are lucky.  We can weather these self-induced unfortunate events, but still, I now had to spend several hundred dollars because of my boneheaded mistake.  


Still sad, I woke up the next morning to a beautiful calm day at the lake wondering if I could get back in the lake and find my electronics.  

Problem:  How can I retrieve my phone from the lake? 

Issue:  Too murky and I can’t see the lake floor?

Issue: Where can I buy a snorkel mask in Blairsville, GA?

Issue: Where do I start if I do find a mask? 

It was a beautiful calm morning.  The iPhone 13 is touted as water resistant to 6 meters.  What’s a few more meters? I told Mrs. SalesReformSchool that in between my zoom calls I was going to try to buy a snorkel mask and get back in the water.  After all, it’s likely in 8-10 feet of water, and I’m a good swimmer.  She thought I was crazy.  She often thinks my ideas are crazy.  She’s probably right, but if I don’t try, I’ll think about it for a long time. 

I can obsess, at times. 

Struck out at Walmart. No mask.  Someone suggested Tractor Supply.  Nope.  Dejected, I  drove past a CVS.  Wait, they often have water toys and floats maybe they have a mask.  

Can you believe it?  They had one.  

I love CVS

I get my confidence from my mother who taught me, “reach for the roof, you may end up on the ground, but reach for the stars, you may end up on the roof.”  This week, the “stars” was retrieving my electronics and everything working; the roof was retrieving my electronics and at least getting a new iPhone after paying the much smaller cost of the deductible. 

I get my problem-solving from my father and my grandfather (his father-in-law) who could fix anything. “Grampa Max” owned an auto repair shop and Dad worked for him a bit in his teens and early 20s. There, he saw the problem-solving master in action.  

How am I going to do this? 

Ok, I’m a relatively strong swimmer and in good enough shape to get to the bottom of the lake and look around.  I figure my stuff would be just off the dock, maybe two or three feet away, and couldn’t have flown more than two or three feet into the water. They probably just dropped in. That’s a maximum nine square feet to search.  Spread your arms out wide, that’s about three feet, so a three feet square is NO BIG DEAL.

On my first dive – 



While this is not in the same galaxy as say breaking a four-minute mile or climbing Mount Everest, I can tell you the exhilaration and happiness was real.  

Well, if I found the speaker, how hard can it be to now find the phone.  So, I problem-solved a little more.  I started along the dock for the next dive. No luck. Moved out a little further.  No luck. Now, I am breathing a little heavier.   After catching my breath, I dove down a third time and there it was. 

My beautiful iPhone 13!

I did it.  I figured out how to get my stuff out of the lake.  I stuck to it and didn’t give up. 

I know:  This isn’t a story about solving world hunger or global warming. Still, let me have this moment. 


We all face small problems or unfortunate events in our day to day lives. To thrive, we have to problem-solve and persevere through life’s up and downs.

I’m thinking today about my clients’ sales careers.  Are they exhausting all the problem-solving alternatives before giving up on an opportunity?  Are they working through – persevering through – hiccups and bad luck or bad decisions? 

I’m thinking about my clients who want to hire sales people.  Are they asking candidates to describe times they have solved a problem in their personal or professional life to see if they accept things as they are or work through and overcome challenges as they arrive? 

I’m thinking about young people who are just starting out in their sales or even non-sales careers.  Are they coming up with solutions to problems or just accepting (or worse complaining about) the ways things are? Are they cataloguing in their heads these seemingly small, yet insightful, events in their lives that prove their problem-solving skills and grit? 

So, this Labor Day weekend, stay cool and relax maybe in some water.  Think about your triumphs large and small and how you solved a problem and persevered.  Just make sure to secure your electronics and leave your mobile phone on land!

P.S. After a day of drying out as recommended by Apple, the iPhone is working flawlessly. The speaker was supposed to be waterproof. The manufacturer is replacing it.

SalesReformSchool: Food for Thought

Talk about perseverance.  I consider Serena Williams one of the most underrated superstars of the last 50 years.  She’s also amazingly centered about how to make career and personal life decisions.   Here’s Williams in her own words describing her retirement decision-making process. Catch her this week for the last time at the US Open. 

SalesReformSchool: Extracurricular

Often when solving a problem, I think of the first incarnation of the MacGyver television show which ran from 1985-1992. If you don’t remember it or are too young, every week Richard Dean Anderson playing secret agent MacGyver would use his resourcefulness and grit to defy death and save the day.  He was the first hacker before we knew the word, but used everyday common household items instead of a keyboard.  You can enjoy it again or for the first time in several ways.  

Good Selling!