By Christine Harrington
This blog post is one of a series that features insights from certified Peak Performance Mindset trainers and experts. – Sales 3.0 Conference Editors
It starts out harmless enough. An occasional slip here and there. You know better and, in fact, you pride yourself on your ability to keep it under control…most of the time. However, over time, the occasional slip becomes an everyday occurrence. Now you’re fully out of control.
What you’re about to read works for all areas of your life…but, if you harness it, it will propel you in selling. You see, if selling was simply a process to learn, and nothing more, then everyone would have higher sales. However, you need only look at your sales team to realize just a quarter of them are top performers, half are mediocre, and the rest have one foot out the door. If selling is as simple as learning a process, then there wouldn’t be a shortage of sales professionals. How many on your team have already come and gone?
Research by the National Science Foundation discovered that, during an average day, the human brain creates 60,000 thoughts. And this will come as no surprise to learn that 80 percent of those thoughts are negative. Is there any wonder why negative thoughts sabotage your day? How many of those thoughts created cold call reluctance or presentation fears?
Please keep reading – this is not another article on positive thinking. I’ve had enough of those, too. But to change behavior, you must first recognize it and understand it. What you are about to learn is based in science – not some namby-pamby stuff. After all, aren’t you ready to harness those fears so you can get higher sales?
The National Science Foundation discovered that, in order to develop a flourishing well-being – both physically and emotionally – you must achieve a 3:1 ratio. That is, a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts and emotions.
Here’s the rub…with 60,000 thoughts floating around all day in your mind, the majority of those thoughts don’t see the light of day in your awareness. Have you ever woken up in the morning and didn’t “feel” quite right? All day you just seemed out of sync? Or, during the day, some small voice has nagged at you? Because of “life” bumping into your mood, you dismiss the feeling and get on with your day. Then, during a sales call, you blow it and can’t put your finger on how it happened.
Negative thoughts creep into your subconscious like a slow-leaking faucet. Drip, drip, drip until the leak becomes a constant stream. Only then does the negativity flood your awareness – leading you to the realization why your mood is so lousy.
I like Gerhard Gschwandtner’s description of positive thoughts: “Positive thoughts are like migrating geese that fly in a V-formation, headed towards a specific destination.”
Imagine, for a moment, that V-Formation of positive energy headed right for your prefrontal cortex! That wonderful area of the brain that captures and enhances thoughts to lift your mood and your performance! But you have to be self aware in order to send the thoughts there.
How can you do this?
You can catch and redirect negative thoughts by increasing your awareness. So here’s a question…how often do you let a mood linger? Do you take time during the day to go deep within to understand what’s driving the mood? My guess is you don’t – because past experience tells you the mood will pass over time. Right?
What happens if the mood lingers for days? Often you assume it may be a slight depression – so you accept it without reflection. After all, most people experience slight depression from time to time…isn’t that what you hear?
Note: I’m not referring to clinical depression. That’s a serious condition and should be treated by a mental health professional.
There are a few action steps you can take immediately to increase your awareness before the drip of negative thoughts disrupts your day or days.
- Practice mindfulness once a day by paying attention to your negative thoughts. Keep a notepad handy and write the negative thoughts down. This will help give clarity on your negative thought patterns.
- Five-minute cold showers for five days straight! Seriously. This is a challenge I give my private clients to bring awareness to all the thoughts racing through their mind during the cold showers. This challenge will shine the light on those negative thoughts and will increase your awareness.
“Potential” is a dangerous word. If you’re not stepping into your potential, it’s because you haven’t cleared your internal roadblocks. The result? Your sales performance suffers. Peak performers are acutely aware of their thoughts – both positive and negative. And they can redirect the negative thoughts by focusing on hopeful, optimistic, and self-enhancing thoughts. This takes practice, but, more importantly, it first takes awareness to be able to minimize the creation of negative thoughts.
It’s important that you practice self care in all areas of your life. When you’re tired, eat poorly, and associate with Negative Nellies, your defenses are compromised and the negative thoughts will start to creep back in. Peak performers have the edge because they’re dedicated to proper rest, exercise, eating clean, and surrounding themselves with like-minded people.
That’s how you protect and help flourish the one organ in your body that controls your performance in all areas of your life! Take care of your mind and your mind will serve you well.
Sales is mostly a mind game you play against yourself. The mental game of sales isn’t about finding your potential; it’s about creating your performance. And that, my sales friend, is how you turn thoughts into higher sales!
Christine Harrington is The Savvy Sales Lady. She is a facilitator for Peak Performance Mindset workshops and a personal sales coach who helps sales professionals develop and improve their sales performance.