Paul shares some inspiring advice to help you remain hopeful even when you are struggling.
Your faith (in your success) has to be greater than your fear (of failing).
“Not failing” is not the same as succeeding.
Make your dreams bigger than your doubt. “Dream big enough to make your bones itch.” Tom Reilly
Make your hope greater than your hesitation. Don’t focus on what could go wrong, but on what could go right.
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How do I remain steadfast through struggle?
(Transcribed from podcast)
On today’s show, we’re going to talk about the one secret ingredient that is going to help you become a more successful salesperson. And it’s not—. I’ll tell you what, it’s not one of those characteristics that is often talked about. It’s about being steadfast, resolute. Resolute in your pursuit. That’s what it means. How am I to remain steadfast?
And let me share with you what prompted this question. I was working with a sales team recently, and one of the new salespeople, he’s not new to the industry, so to speak, but new to the company, he said something that is so true. He said, “Man, it’s hard to be new. It’s hard to be new to a company. It’s hard to be new to a territory.” (And that’s what he’s facing.) “It’s hard to be new to an industry.” And it is so hard to be new, and the reason why is because all of the effort, everything you’re putting in initially, isn’t going to come into fruition and the timeline that we would like. There is a broad chasm between our initial effort and the results that are generated. So how do you remain steadfast during that time? We’re going to get into that question today.
Before we do, though, I do have to talk about the true Tough-Timer characteristics. And this is in Selling Through Tough Times. We looked at these seven characteristics of tough timers. Again, tough timers—those are the individuals who just, man, they don’t even slow down when they face tough times. They almost generate more momentum. They push through, they don’t make excuses. They find a way to not just survive but thrive. That’s what tough timers are. And one of the seven characteristics of tough timers is being steadfast. Steadfastness—that is critical. That is a part of tough timers and how they succeed. So, you can read more about the tough timer characteristics in the book. Pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times, wherever you get your books. I’ve said it once. I’ll say it again: the worst time to dig a well is when you are thirsty. So now is the time to dig that well, in case we have a tough time coming up. If you’re new to sales, if you’re facing a downturn, this book is your go-to guide.
So let’s get back to it. How do you remain steadfast? Now, I think about some of the most motivated salespeople that I know, and it’s, it’s not always the ones that are achieving success. And when I think about motivation, it’s—. Motivation has to be challenging. You know what I mean? I can’t look at a salesperson who’s achieving success and say, “Wow, they’re more motivated than the person not achieving success,” and here’s why. For the salesperson that is experiencing success, the success they experience will reinforce their behavior. I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier for me to put in the effort if I know it’s going to generate a result that I want. It’s harder, it’s more challenging to put that effort in when I am unsure of the results that it’s going to generate. And so, when I think about some of the most motivated salespeople, it’s those salespeople who are willing to put in the effort when they do not see that initial result.
So we’ve got to remain steadfast. We’ve got to remain steadfast through that period where there’s a gap between our effort and the results. Okay? That’s when being steadfast is critical. So I’m going to give you three ideas today to help you become more steadfast.
First one, your faith has to be greater than your fear. Your faith has to be greater than your fear. I want you to really think about this for a moment. This is what I call a gut-check question. Think about your motivation here for a moment. Are you more motivated by the fear of failure or by your faith in your success? What is more motivating, the deep faith you have—the deep belief—or is it the fear of failing? And it may be a little bit of both. I know many successful people who are motivated by fear. The reason they get up earlier than everyone else is because they’re terrified of failing. The reason that they work so hard is because they’re terrified of failing.
But think about that for a moment. I mean, that’s just a tough way to go through life, to go through your career is to say, “You know what? I’m going to let fear motivate me.” Now, I don’t want to say that fear is a bad thing. The fear of failing can be good because the fear of failure compels us to act, to work harder. But that fear can only take us so far because it, it almost creates some self-limiting beliefs within us.
So here’s something to think about. Are you going to wake up every day and say, “Today, my goal is not to fail.” Think about that. What if you woke up every day and said, okay, today my goal is not to fail. Not failing is not the same thing as succeeding. Instead, begin your day with a series of positive affirmations that reaffirm your current success but also point to your future success. One thing you may do is take a look at where you’re at. This is about, you know, June about halfway through the year or so. Take a look at your success and say, “Okay, this year, wow, I’ve already achieved so much. I’m going to achieve even more the second half of this year.” Your deep belief, your faith in your success is going to carry you so much further. So let your faith be greater than your fear.
Here’s your second tip to help you remain steadfast through your struggle. Make your dreams bigger than your doubt. Are you dreaming big enough to make your bones itch? That’s a question that my dad would ask me growing up, me and my sister and my brother: “Dream big enough to make your bones itch.” What a great expression. You think about that. How excited you get when you have that big dream. It’s inspiring. It’s, man, it energizes you. You have so many hours a day where you daydream, where you think of your goals. It doesn’t take any more energy to dream bigger. So why not do it? Dream bigger. It is inspiring.
But what’s interesting is, sometimes our dreams get shattered by the doubt that exists in our mind. Because sometimes, we let our doubt outweigh our dreams. And when I think about dreaming bigger than my doubt—. I thought about this the other day. I was driving to the golf course, and I saw an advertisement, a billboard for the latest lottery. And it was up to $200 million. And so, when I see that, I do what most of you do: for a couple of minutes, I imagine what it would be like to win that $200 million jackpot. And I was thinking, you know, about the vacations, about all the stuff you’re going to buy, how easy life would be, and all that good stuff, whatever. But then reality sets in. The dream is gone.
Think about how often that happens with practical, with realistic dreams. We think about our aspirations in our career. We think about aspirations for our business, our performance as salespeople, and then somehow doubt starts to creep in. And what’s interesting, the bigger we dream, the more likely doubt is to creep in. And that doubt is the anchor of reality. I don’t know why that happens, but it’s like our mind is trying to set our expectations properly. And here’s what I would encourage you to do. Yes, dream big enough to make your bones itch, but make sure you’re dreaming big enough until doubt starts to creep in.
And at that moment, at that moment you start to sense that doubt, where you start to talk yourself out of the dream that you’ve been thinking about, ask yourself, “Okay, I feel that doubt creeping in, but why is it impossible?” And only spend a moment there, but then ask yourself, “Okay, how is it possible? How can we make that happen?” And think about that dream for a little bit. And then you start to dream bigger, dream even bigger on top of that when the doubt starts to set in, because what you’re going to do is raise that threshold. You’re raising that threshold of where doubt is going to creep in. You want to keep pushing yourself mentally to the point where you can continue to dream bigger and bigger and bigger. And then, once the doubt creeps in, you’ve got to question it and you’ve got to challenge it.
I love Walt Disney, by the way. And in my office, my daughter made me this, this little picture with all the Disney signs on it and that, you know, Mickey Mouse, all that good stuff. But it has Walt Disney’s, one of his most famous quotes, handwritten by her. And it says, All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. So, dream bigger. Dream big enough until the doubt starts to set in. But then question that doubt and dream even bigger on top of that. The bigger you dream, you’re raising that threshold of when doubt is going to settle in. You’re challenging it. Think bigger, man, nothing inspires like a big dream.
And the final tip here to help you remain steadfast through your struggle: make your hope greater than your hesitation. Hope is interesting. Hope is not a given. I talk about this in Selling Through Tough Times. Hope is not cheap. And I mean, it’s not cheap because it’s hard to find. You’ve got to work for it. You got to find it. It doesn’t come easily. In fact, hope is often the hardest to find when it is needed the most. And what happens is, when our hesitation is greater than our hope, when we’re nervous, when we’re anxious, we tend to pause. We just kind of wait things out.
I remember thinking about Dr. Seuss’s All the Places You’ll Go. In that book, they talk about the waiting place and how you just sit around and wait for things to happen versus make things happen. You know, that’s often a result of facing a situation where your hesitation is greater than your hope. And it could be because of fear, doubt, any number of things. But when your hope is greater than your hesitation, you get progress. And so, as we’d remain hopeful, as we look to progress forward, we have to have hope. It’s part of that ingredient.
You know, rather than focusing on what could go wrong, focus on what could go right. That’s one of the reasons hesitation will creep in is that we’re too focused on all the things that could go wrong versus the things that could go right.
For example, right now, I know salespeople everywhere are dealing with price increases and they’re hesitant to go in there and talk about it with their customers. They’re hesitant to push through that increase. And part of the reason why is because, geez, what is the customer going to do? “They’re going to, they’re going to go to my competition. They’re going to look for cheaper alternatives. They’re going to be mad at me.” Or “I don’t think it’s fair.” All this negativity. They’re focused on all the things that could go wrong versus the things that could go right. What if you viewed that tough situation as an opportunity? That’s going to give you hope, right? Because when hesitation is greater than hope, we pause. But when hope is greater than hesitation, we have progress; we move forward. And so, we need to increase our hope so that we can maintain that level of progress.
That means when we’re in a tough situation, we need to look for the positive outcomes versus focusing on what could go wrong. And, you know, in Selling Through Tough Times, we call that positive reframing. We want to positively reframe any negative situation to focus more on what the potential outcomes could be. And in doing so, we’re almost rewiring our brain to naturally focus on positive outcomes. And in doing that, that’s going to increase our hope. It’s going to keep us moving forward.
So, guys that is the show for today. Again, the idea is we’ve got to remain steadfast. We’ve got to remain steadfast through our struggles. How we do that—we do that by making our faith greater than our fear. We do that by dreaming bigger than our doubts. And also, we do that by making our hope greater than our hesitation.
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Make it a big day.