Oct 28, 2021 • Podcast

Who are tough timers?

Paul shares seven characteristics of tough timers. 

Show Notes 

Resilient – Tough timers push through those tough moments. Track your response to adversity to determine how resilient you are.

Visionary – Tough timers look past the pain of the present. You must have a vision of a brighter future.

Pragmatic optimist – Tough timers embrace the good habits of a pessimist…What does that mean?

Opportunistic – Tough timers can see the opportunity in every struggle.

Are you a tough timer? Tune in to the podcast for the full list of tough-timer characteristics.

Visit www.ToughTimer.com to get started on the 30-Day Tough-Timer Challenge!

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Who are tough timers?

(Transcribed from podcast)

So, just a couple of weeks ago, I was at my kid’s a Fall festival, and someone asked me, “Paul, what is a tough timer?” And the reason they asked, I’m wearing my #ToughTimer t-shirt, so they wanted to know. And I explained to her, “I’ve got a new book coming out, and all that. It’s called Selling Through Tough Times. But to answer your question, you really need to know who tough timers are.” So that’s what I’m going to talk about today: Who are tough timers?

Before we get into that, though, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Starting a podcast doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. In fact, when I first got started, I was thinking about all the things I needed to do, and one of my fellow podcasters and colleagues, he said, “You know, if you really want to make it easy, just give Andrea a call at The Creative Impostor Studios.” And Andrea and her team do a great job with either helping you start a podcast, keeping it going, producing, editing. You name it, Andrea and her team, they’re your go-to resource. So we’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.

Also, as I mentioned, who are tough timers—well, we’ve got to talk about Selling Through Tough Times. The book is going to be released on November 2nd. November 2nd you can get your copy of the book. You can get it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon. Really, wherever you get your books. Pick it up, and this is going to be your go-to guide. I’m going to talk about tough timers and that’s the archetype of that sales professional that not just survives tough times, but they thrive through tough times. So I’m going to talk about what it takes to be a tough timer. In the book, you’re going to learn about how to build mental resilience. And also, you’re going to learn about the six critical selling activities that will help you succeed through any downturn. It’s going to be the sales book of the decade. That’s what my dad said at least. (Laughs) So anyway, pick up your copy. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble—again, wherever you get your books.

So back to that question: Who are tough timers? That’s the question I’m going to answer on this episode. Now I’m going to go through and describe tough timers. I’m going to give you some examples, but there are seven standout characteristics that we use to define and describe who tough timers really are. Now as I go through this, I want you to ask yourself, ‘How many of these words would describe me?’

Let’s begin with the first: tough timers are resilient. They are resilient. That means when they fall down, they bounce back up right away. To be resilient, it means when we face adversity, we don’t slow down, we don’t quit, we don’t just back off and try another route—we push through. That’s what it means to be resilient. And when I think about all the different examples of resilience, one example comes to mind. And I remember, I was talking to my dad about resilience. Specifically, we were talking about rejection, actually, and how you bounce back from rejection. And he shared a story with me.

When he was building up his first training company, he went to go down to a SLU college [St. Louis University], which is where he got his graduate degree, and he was talking to one of the psychology professors down there, and he explained his company. His company is going to help train salespeople. And he was trying to partner with this psychology professor on just some research and data, and all that. And what was interesting is that the psychology professor said to my dad, he said, “You know, I don’t know why anyone would ever want to get into sales. I don’t know how you can handle that level of rejection.” He said, “Tom, how is it that you are able to handle all that rejection?” And my dad just looked at him and simply said, “You know what? I never even really thought about.”

That’s resilience. That’s what we mean by resilient. When you face tough times, when you face a challenge, it’s about pushing through. So, if you want to be a tough timer, you’ve got to be resilient. If you’re trying to figure out how resilient you are, I would suggest doing this. Over the next couple of weeks, track your first response to adversity. And it could be something as simple as you know, I don’t know, maybe your shoelace breaks, or you lose an order, or you lose a customer, or whatever it may be. Ask yourself, ‘What is my immediate response?’ As you track it, you’ll be able to determine how resilient you are now.

Number two: tough timers are visionary. When I say visionary, these tough timers, they have a vision of what their success looks like in the future. They’re able to look past the pain of the present, the pain of the tough time they’re currently facing, and they know, with certainty, that they are going to be successful. They think about that. They have a vision of it nearly every single day. They just naturally view themselves in a successful way in the future. And it’s important to do that, especially during tough times. Because when you’re going through a tough moment or you’re going through a sales slump, or you’re going through a recession or a global pandemic or supply chain disruption—anytime you’re going through tough times, you must have a vision of a brighter future.

And that’s what tough timers have. They have that vision. They are visionary. They see it. They believe it. They know with 100% confidence that they are going to be more successful in the future. Now think about that from a, from just a mental standpoint for a moment—your mentality. If you’re always operating with the idea that “I’m going to be successful in the future,” think about how much more motivated you are to act in the present. You simply are going to act in a way that will lead to your future success. So tough timers, they are visionary.

Number three: Tough timers are pragmatic optimists. They’re not sunshine and rainbows and unicorn optimists, they’re pragmatic about it. Tough timers, they embrace the good habits of a pessimist. And let me explain that for a moment, If you have a team of people, it’s always important to have a pessimist in there somewhere, because they’re the anchor of reality. They can poke a hole in any plan. They can help think of things that maybe everyone else doesn’t think about. A tough timer, they embrace all the good qualities of a pessimist, and they ignore all the negative ones. That means tough timers know they’re going to be successful, but they have the ability to be practical about it. They’re able to address the reality of whatever situation they are dealing with, and they find a way to push past. So again, tough timers, they are pragmatic optimists.

Now, number four: tough timers are opportunistic. And I know, man, you hear that word today, opportunistic, and it gets a bad rep. People look at it and they, they wouldn’t want to be called opportunistic. I think it’s a great thing. I’m opportunistic. Most successful salespeople that I know are opportunistic. Most successful business owners that I know are also opportunistic. Opportunistic simply means you’re able to see the opportunity in all situations and any struggle. And during tough times, you know, like we’re facing now with supply-chain disruption the global pandemic, there are salespeople who are winning new customers. There are salespeople who are seeing a new angle and to visit with a prospect. They’re finding new opportunities, new services to provide. They’re taking this current tough time and they’re able to see the opportunity through all the uncertainty. That’s what it means to be opportunistic. And it’s absolutely critical to your success. And you have to be opportunistic if you want to be a tough timer.

Now, the next one: tough timers, they’re adventurous. Tough timers are adventurous. You know, what’s interesting, with my kids. Let’s say we hop in the car, and they have no clue what we’re doing. Me and my wife, we say, “All right, kids, get in the car,” and they get in the car, and I turn around and I say to them, “Hey, you want to go on an adventure?” They would be a resounding “YES,” because kids, they love going on adventures. They love trying new things. They’re willing to take risks. Now, it’s interesting. You ask a group of adults that same question: “Hey, you want to go on an adventure?” they’re going to come back and say, “Well, what is it?” Or “We’ll think about it.” It’s not the immediate commitment. You don’t sense the excitement. What we know about tough timers, they are adventurous. They’re willing to try new things.

Remember they’re visionary. They believe their success is all but certain. So why wouldn’t they? So why wouldn’t they try a different path to that success? Why wouldn’t they try new things? Why wouldn’t they be willing to take some risks? That’s the exciting part is, during tough times where everyone is hunkering down, holding back, tightening their grip on the status quo, tough timers know that they are going to be successful, so they’re willing to take on more risks. They’re willing to try a new sales approach. They’re willing to step outside of their comfort zone. So again, tough timers, they are adventurous.

Now, number six: tough timers are steadfast. It’s easy to maintain a course of action when your activity is generating a positive result. It’s much harder to remain steadfast on a course of action when your activity does not yield the results that you would like, or yields the opposite of the results you’re trying to generate. For example, you know, you’re trying a new sales approach, and if it’s not working the first few times, if you’re taking chances, you’re getting the opposite reaction that you’re hoping for, it remains more challenging. It’s more challenging to stay on that course of action. So that’s one thing that tough timers are able to do. Tough timers are able to maintain a steady course of action, even if they’re not getting the right results, even if they’re not getting the immediate feedback—that positive reinforcement to keep them going. They know—. Once again, they have that vision. They know they’re going to be successful. And so they just need to maintain that steadfast approach.

Now also, number seven—final descriptor here: tough timers are humble. Tough timers, they operate with a quiet confidence about them. They have a modest view of themselves. And what’s interesting about humility—humility is an important, yet misunderstood, quality in business. When you think about a salesperson—. You think about successful salespeople, oftentimes, this will conjure images of the outspoken seller who’s lighting up the room, who walks in and they immediately command attention, highly ego-driven, just in your face, almost obnoxious, pushy, aggressive. And that’s not always the case. In fact, that’s, oftentimes, not the case at all. And I can speak to experience here because, in working with some of the world’s best sales organizations and meeting top-achieving salespeople in multiple industries, I’m always surprised at how often the top achievers I meet are not the loudest person in the room. They embrace a modest view of oneself. They put others before themselves. And they embrace humility.

You know, what’s interesting is that tough times will humble us all. Especially when we’re coming off a wave of success. Tough times will humble us all. Now, that’ll knock you down—tough times knock you down. And tough timers, with their humble approach, they don’t have [as steep a drop] as someone else who’s dropping and falling much further, because they already embrace that lowly view, almost modest view, of oneself. It’s easier for them to bounce back because they didn’t fall as far.

C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less about yourself, it’s simply thinking about yourself less,” and that’s what tough timers do. Tough timers, embrace humility. And because they embrace humility, they always find ways they can improve. They find ways to help people, and serve them, and they make it about other people.

So, as we go through these words again—the seven words are resilient, visionary, pragmatic, optimists, opportunistic, adventurous, steadfast, and humble—ask yourself how many of these words describe you.

Alright, if you want to learn more about tough timers, again, go pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. It’s available wherever you get your books.

Make it a big day.

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