While on a call recently, a coaching client asked me a very good question. It was a question that started my journey, which ultimately led me to Gremlin-Taming®. This client had noticed recently that he was feeling particularly good for no apparent reason. While at a birthday party being held in his honor, he noticed that he felt a massive sense of appreciation. For one thing, he was alive. He also noticed that he was in the presence of people who loved and cared for him. People who had taken the time out of their life to spend time with him. He also was aware that he felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the person that had welcomed him to this planet— his mother.
He told me and the others on the call that this experience was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable of his life, and then proceeded to ask me something like the following:
But how do I work through being on the unenjoyable end of the imaginary continuum when I am not getting the results I want in my business? In other words, when I find myself uptight and ruminating about outcomes and future plans, how do I get myself back to feeling centered and at peace and that all is right in the world the way I did while at my birthday party?
The Imaginary Continuum
Imagine a continuum bounded by extremes. On one end of the continuum is you feeling centered and at peace. Taking in all the air that you like and exhaling fully and completely with very little tension in your body if any at all. Your spotlight of awareness is firmly rooted in the present moment and you are creatively indifferent. In other words, you are open to direct experience uncontaminated by your thoughts about the experience or by your gremlin and his antics.
On the other end of the continuum is you feeling hurried, frantic and rushed. Your breathing is shallow and quick. There is a lot of tension in your body. Imagine your hands are up to protect yourself from an attack that is either real or perceived. And your gremlin is more likely than not on the scene wreaking havoc— not enjoyable at all.
At any given moment, both you and I are placing ourselves somewhere on this continuum moment-to-moment, breath to breath. Sure, things might happen that move you to the uptight end of the continuum (i.e. a deal falls apart, a client questions your character, a buyer’s agent calls you six times in two hours on an offer they just submitted, you don’t hit your stated goals for the month); however, how long you choose to stay on there is entirely up to you.
Regulating where you are on the imaginary continuum is a skill. And like all skills it requires practice.
I suggested to my friend the following to work through a business/sales gremlin attack and bring himself back to the enjoyable end of the continuum.
1. Awareness: Become aware of how you are contributing to your own discomfort and/or how you are creating your own misery. (Or as Rick Carson would say, pay attention to how you may be jamming your thumb in your own eye).
Oftentimes in this context, it will come in the form of imagining terrible, catastrophic outcomes. Another popular option where self-contamination is concerned is to compare yourself to others. It might go something like this:
“Sally is crushing it right now. She is hungrier than you and doing more business than you. You are not a top producer, you are just an amateur.”
Scaring yourself or putting yourself down are both eye-jabbing tactics that zap your internal energy and are sure to result in one thing: Staying on the uptight end of the continuum.
2. Action: Keep doing the things you know that get you the results you are after.
In my experience with myself and others, once the first signs appear of an outcome not going the way they would like, they stop doing the important things (i.e. making calls, staying on schedule, etc.). Your gremlin then begins to deploy two of his most potent contaminates— doubt and fear.
The derivation of the word doubt is to be uncertain. The derivation of the word fear is uneasiness caused by the possibility of danger.
Your gremlin is adept and skilled at deploying these contaminates with deadly accuracy and surgical precision. I find that the antidote for such assaults in the world of selling is action. The opposite of uncertainty is certainty. There is certainty in following a schedule and certainty in doing the things that are necessary in the business of selling.
3. Appreciation: The tendency as top-producing sales people is to get so laser focused on goals and objectives that we lose sight of the ability to appreciate that which we already have. This is an area in which I continually put forth effort to improve by doing things like the following:
– Simply noticing things like the food on my plate prior to eating it.
– Looking out my window at a sunset.
– Pausing in a moment of appreciation for the home I get to live in.
– Looking at my wife and children and feeling grateful for them and my ability to enjoy them.
These all serve as a type of ointment for my sometimes un-relenting ambition