The Queen of Hearts

In the card game of gin, each player tries to group his hand into three of a kind, or a run of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit, until all ten cards in the player’s hand are part of a straight flush or three of a kind. My grandmother – I called her Nana – was a great gin player. The end of the game would always find her holding the cards I needed to win. When I was seven years old, she taught me that if you are holding a king of hearts, don’t pick up the jack of hearts. The odds of the queen of hearts arriving are so slim you should work on the other possibilities in your hand.

“But what if I don’t have any other possibilities?” I asked her, one day when a series of poor decisions and bad luck had left me with a particularly atrocious hand.

Nana pulled the reading glasses from her eyes and let them hang from the chain they were attached to around her neck. She looked at me appraisingly.

“Then you pick up the jack,” she said.

There will be times in your career as a salesperson when you have nothing to work on. No goal to shoot for, no pairs or runs in your hand, no possible deal on the table, or even the horizon. In those situations take Nana’s advice and pick up the jack. Sink your teeth into the closest thing to potential. Start building something. Pretend it’s real. Work on one of those things that you didn’t work on five months ago because you were too busy. Find something that might have value or bear fruit at some point in the future and build it out. Do something. A door will open because of your diligence. And just maybe, the queen of hearts will walk into your hand.

Leave a Reply