When I was a child I used to play chicken with myself. I was convinced there were bears under my bed so used to take a flying leap from the edge of the rug to avoid being eaten. Moving to the lofty heights of the top bunk didn't really improve matters as the Bears remained under the bottom bunk so I had leg it up the ladder as fast as I possibly could, jumping over the bottom two steps. Get to the top and let out a big sigh of relief.
I don't remember when it changed but I got to the point where this seemed a ridiculous way to behave, so I started forcing myself to look under the bed to prove there was nothing there. Gradually this thinking progressed into other situations that made me really uncomfortable or afraid, so I would force myself to do whatever action was required and do it immediately. In the internal battle of wimpy voice vs assertive (get a grip) voice, wimpy increasingly lost out. And of course the outcome was never as bad as I feared. If it had ever turned out there were bears under the bed I would have stopped this very quickly! I did it with all sorts of ridiculous things, walking into dark spaces, being brave with spiders, putting my hand into deep pockets that could have had all sorts of things lurking in them. Anything where wimpy stuck her hand up and suggested it wasn't a good idea, or could be postponed. None of these were big life moments, more those small seconds where I had to choose between wimpy or get a grip.
Somehow without even realising it as I got older I lost that mentality and started taking the easy path, giving in to the part of me that really didn't want to do those things, or at least postpone them (in the hope they would disappear). I would instead be left with a niggling feeling that I had wimped out and beat myself up about it which made me feel worse than if I had just got on and done it.
In fact it was only a couple of years ago that I remembered that I ever had that 'get a grip' mindset when I heard a colleague (Andy Mcreadie) talking about in selling and life in general how the hard thing to do was invariably the right thing to do. At that point I was procrastinating about a few elements of prospecting that I really didn't want to do so avoiding doing them consistently so it really resonated, albeit in an uncomfortable, self-realisation way.
Unfortunately just remembering wasn't enough to get that Teflon mentality back. But it did at least start by driving a much greater awareness of when the wimpy voice was kicking in and it surprised me how often that was happening. As many of you know if you strive to get better every day then the activities of growing a business and selling involve a lot of discomfort, no matter how experienced you are. Gradually with this awareness has come a greater ability to override that wimpy voice. I'm far from perfect but as I see myself as a work in progress, provided wimpy isn't winning when it really counts I don't have to beat myself up when I do slip up. A far more relaxing way to live.
I was on boarding a new client recently and learning about what motivated him. He told me that he does something every day that makes him uncomfortable. What a great motto to live and learn by.
I meet a lot of salespeople who tell me that have 20 years in selling, digging further it turns out they have had 1 year of selling 20 times over, because they are stuck in a comfort zone, don't make themselves sufficiently uncomfortable so can't be learning and progressing every day.
What about you? When was the last time you did something in business or outside that made you uncomfortable, but you did it because you knew it was the right thing to do? If it wasn't in the last week I challenge you to consider whether you are in a comfort zone. What happens when that wimpy voice kicks in, do you override and do it anyway, or push that action to the bottom of the To Do list for yet another day?
Do you need to start looking under the bed for bears more often?