As a salesperson, you probably spend most of your day negotiating, persuading others and influencing people to take action. But despite these hard-won skills, there’s one negotiation that most salespeople are losing every single day. That’s the negotiation you have with yourself.
You’ve probably talked yourself out of doing hundreds of success-oriented activities throughout your career, whether by procrastinating or focusing on your insecurities. If you’d acted on all these things you should’ve done, your results by now might have been a lot more impressive. But moving forward, you can start talking yourself into key career moves. Today, we’re going to overcome that destructive voice in your head and turn it into an asset.
Change Your Mindset
There are dozens of things you know you should be doing, but have convinced yourself you can’t. Day in and day out, I hear people making excuses and saying things like, “I just can’t talk to people,” or “I couldn’t possibly see myself calling strangers on the phone.” And of course you can’t perform a skill that you haven’t even tried to learn. But that doesn’t mean you’re helpless! Just change your mindset so that instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” you think, “What would it take for me to be able to do this? What do I need to learn? How can I acquire some new skills and experiences to make this learning curve easier for myself?”
You might also be holding yourself back by creating false certainty in your head. Even though nothing is black-and-white, perhaps you’ve told yourself things like, “There’s no way that could happen,” or, “If I talked to those people, they’d all say ‘no.’” Be realistic by understanding that life isn’t that clean-cut. You’re not destined for failure. Replace your certainties with possibilities, like, “If I spoke to those people, maybe some would say ‘yes.’”
You’ll also be much happier and have more positive interactions if you leave behind the judgmental mindset you might have and give people the benefit of the doubt. We often discourage ourselves from taking steps forward in our professional relationships because we think someone was harsh to us one time and allow ourselves to get upset. We think, “I can’t believe they did that.” It’s much healthier to be open to the possibility that this person was going through a really tough time, or didn’t actually mean to upset you. This attitude will keep you open-minded and goal-oriented.
Change Your Words
When people are questioned about their circumstances and their journey to success, they often reach for words that deny accountability and blame anyone but themselves. When you act this way, you’re doing yourself a real disservice. As an adult, it’s your job to take full responsibility for your growth, and refusing to do so will only stunt you on your path to self-improvement.
Many people will respond to a piece of feedback or advice by saying, “Yeah, but…” You should ban “yeah, but” from your vocabulary. Reacting defensively like this means that you’re probably not truly listening to what your critic had to say, you’re dismissing everything they’re saying and you’re looking to point the blame in another direction. You’re not perfect, and if you’re being honest with yourself, you know there’s at least some blame you can and should be taking.
You also need to stop yourself from responding to constructive criticism with, “I know, I know.” What you’re really doing when you say this is being completely dismissive to the valid points this person might be making. You’re failing to give yourself room for growth. Swapping the “I know” with a, “Huh, okay. Thank you,” will allow you to absorb and accept some of the feedback and use it wisely in the future.
Change Your Inner Dialogue
Think of the inside of your mind as a courtroom. There are two lawyers in your head having a debate over whether you should take that crucial but challenging step to move your career forward. One is arguing that you should, and the other that you shouldn’t. If you’re in the habit of limiting yourself, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time supporting the idea that you shouldn’t — that you’re not capable enough, or that maybe you should wait until next year.
It’s time to jump to the other side of the courtroom and fight for your own success. Search for evidence to support the fact that you can do the thing your insecurities might be telling you that you can’t. You’re not going to convince yourself without evidence when you’ve spent a lifetime being persuaded by the wrong side.
Start rifling through your past for the objective truth about your capacity for success. Look for the great things you’ve achieved, the conversations that have gone well, the times you were decisive and the times you performed at a high level. This evidence is what will change your mind and give you the confidence to take opportunities that will fulfill you, enhance your experience and empower you to make things happen every day.
It might seem hard to change your mindset, words and inner dialogue, but you’re the only person who can do it. It’s your privilege and responsibility to start moving forward, so I urge you to take a look in the mirror and start today.