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  • Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Donald Miller says in his book Scary Close, “the root of sin is the desire for control”… and “the root of control is fear.” The fear of losing control is a powerful driving force that causes us to behave in a variety of crazy different ways. For some, this fear manifests itself by self-promotion and being self-righteous with the thirst for winning and being the best, while others might be controlling their image and presenting a perfect front to the world. For some, it’s the pursuit of being right or the relentless domination of others with an iron fist and exerting their will over the “inferior” people around them. The inverse is true when the craving for control rears its ugly head through self-destructive, shameful and guilt-ridden vehicles such as alcoholism, drug addictions, work obsession, food addictions, sex and pornography addictions, and many other self-control coping mechanisms create the illusion of having control in one’s life.

    In the “self-help” industry I often hear motivational speakers, authors, and “experts” promote prosperity and how to be in control of their results. Being in control of results usually involves manipulation. It hasn’t been until some recent events in my personal life that I’ve realized how destructive “being in control” can be. Upon reflection of my life, the more I’ve tried to control uncontrollable things, other people and results, the more I seem to screw up. Yet, everything noteworthy that I’ve ever done has come to me by letting go of the desire for control, focusing on the right activities and trusting God to deliver the outcome how He sees fit.

    letgo

    Don’t get me wrong. I feel that we are all called to take action and use the talents God has given us. However, we need to focus on the diligent activity, not the results. Ultimately, we only have a few things that we should put our focus on and let God take care of the rest.

    Here are 3 areas of daily focus:

    1. Your Attitude

    After the economy took a major dip in 2008, my father was in a board meeting for a Fortune 100 company. The CEO was going around the table reaming all the VPs for their numbers being off target. The gentleman sitting next to my dad was smiling ear to ear as the CEO berated his way down the line of senior executives. Once he set his fierce eyes upon the smiling man, he ripped into him, “I don’t know why you have that silly grin on your face. There is nothing to be smiling about with your numbers either!” Then the man stood up and calmly replied “Sir, no disrespect. But you can yell and scream at me all day long; however, there is nothing you can say or do that will take my positive attitude away from me.” Then the brave bold man confidently sat down. The CEO’s demeanor changed on a dime and he shouted with enthusiasm, “That’s right! We need more of you to have an attitude just like this guy!”

    You determine your attitude every day. Your attitude is a choice.

    2. Your Schedule

    We are called to be productive and serve other people. The best way to serve other people is to be organized, focused and proactive. At Southwestern Consulting, we work with hundreds of different companies all across the country and we find the #1 thing that people need help with is controlling their schedule and time. The best approach is to be diligent and plan how you are going to spend every minute of your most precious resource you’ve ever been given, your time. The key is to not get caught up in the trap of being busy to just be busy. Wasting time and wasting your talents is a waste of your life.

    Be proactive, not reactive. Understand your priorities. Set your schedule and stick to it!

    3. Your Activity

    There is a massive difference between people who “work hard” and people who “work smart”. Typically, people who “work hard” measure everything in how long they spend doing something. They think that a 3-hour meeting is a good thing because the person listened to them gab on for that long. Typically, people who think they “work hard” do end up focusing on results and measure everything they do based on the results they are or are not seeing. Therefore, they do not experience peace and joy when working because they are focused on results, that is something they cannot control.

    The rare individuals who “work smart” are the ones who focus on being efficient and effective. They work referrals/word-of-mouth marketing; they gather intel before engaging someone in a sales situation; they find ways to shorten the sales cycle and are excited about spending less time with people and serving them as fast as possible, and not wasting the prospect’s time, as well as their own time. They focus on productive activity and not wasteful, unproductive time.

    When my wife was a little girl, her father would make her re-vacuum the stairs if she missed a spot. He would tell her, “It doesn’t matter how hard you work up a sweat if you don’t get the job done right. You need to work smart and get the job done right the first time.”

    Letting go of the uncontrollable is a scary thing because in order to truly let go we, first must look long and hard into a mirror and admit what it is that we don’t want to let go of. Most of the time, the people, things or results someone is trying to control are stemming from a much deeper-rooted issue that manifests itself in the form of control. Living in truth and admitting our imperfections, wounds from others, personal sins and mistakes and asking for forgiveness is the beginning of letting go. Next, is putting a plan and accountability in place to change our behaviors to ensure that we don’t keep repeating the mistakes that are causing the need for control. Lastly, we have to fully submit to God all of our anxieties and worries and focus on being thankful and loving those around us. Once we let go all of the uncontrollable, life becomes more fun! The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, and everything tastes sweeter. Just let it go.

     

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks.  Mr. Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Unconditional Confidence

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Do you believe confidence is something you are born with or not? At Southwestern Consulting, we found that confidence can be developed and strengthened through awareness and training. There are 3 Types of Confidence. We all have experienced all 3 types in some form or fashion in various ways. Our goal is to progress through the 3 types of confidence quickly and end up with Unconditional Confidence in every area of our lives.

    confidence

    The 3 Types of Confidences: False Confidence, Conditional Confidence, and Unconditional Confidence.
    False Confidence is saying you can do something, but deep down inside you think there is no way you can actually do the task. It is fake self-talk. A good example is someone whose group of friends talks and acts as though they were superman or superwoman, but when put into an unfamiliar selling situation, they change from superman to super-scared. False confidence comes from F.E.A.R. which is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes we all have false confidence and “fake it until we make it”. However, we all want to move out of false confidence as quickly as possible.
    Conditional Confidence is why a sales job can be frustrating and emotional. Why do you think that selling can be frustrating and emotional? It’s because we develop conditional confidence and attach our self-worth to results (aka whether or not we make a sale). Many people have made one, two, or three sales in a row and their confidence goes way up. Then they go a day, a week, or a month with no sales and their confidence bottoms out. Conditional Confidence hits peaks and valleys like a roller coaster. This confidence is conditional on the outcome or result.
    Unconditional Confidence is the most important type of confidence. It separates all top producers from average. Top Producers who strive for unconditional confidence have that something special—charisma, swagger, or mojo. How do you develop Unconditional Confidence? Unconditional confidence is based on your beliefs and habits. To develop unconditional confidence, you need to know that you do have innate skills and that your momentum comes from your work habits. Every day you can gain more confidence by focusing on the habits that are within your control.

    There are 3 key areas that anyone can control every day:

    Your attitude, self-talk, and energy level. No one can control your attitude besides you. Knowing and believing you are created for a purpose and having positive self-talk is the most important area of focus in anyone’s life. Your energy level is a choice. Your attitude is a choice.
    Your schedule and time management. You determine what time you go to sleep, when you wake up, what time you make your first prospecting call, what time you make your last prospecting call, if you’re going to work on the weekends, or not. You are in control of your time.
    Your activity. No one can force you to work. You have to decide to get as much done as possible with the time allowed. Break your day into goal periods and decide what you are going to do with your time every minute, every hour of every day. Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla, Space X, and Solar City) breaks his day down to 5-minute time blocks that are scheduled before he starts every day.
    The key to being unconditionally confident and having self-worth in business is to not attach your self-worth to how much you produce. Your gauge on whether or not you’re doing a good job is based on work habits – Activity, Attitude, and Schedule. That way at the end of the day, you look in the mirror and don’t ask yourself “did I sell anything today?” Instead, you will ask yourself, “Did I focus on controlling the controllable habits today and do my dead level best?” When you are growing and improving every day in your beliefs and habits, you are creating Unconditional Confidence.

    A good positive affirmation to use when forming unconditional confidence is saying to yourself every day when you look into the mirror:
    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr. Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Control What You Can: Attitude and Effort

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    attitudeOften we get frustrated in life when we try to control things that we actually have no control over.

    We get frustrated when the traffic is bad and we are late to work.

    We get frustrated when somebody doesn’t buy from us, or they don’t show up for an appointment.

    We get frustrated all day long with little things that are happening, that we forget that we cannot actually control some of those things.

    What can we do to keep from feeling this way?

    There are only two things each day that you actually can control. Only two things!

    They are your attitude and your effort. That’s it!

    When something bad happens you control how you react to that something. You can control what attitude you choose to put on. Choose to put on a good one!

    You can also control how hard you work. How many hours you put in. You control how hard you work during those hours, how many phone calls you make, if you pick up the phone and dial again and again and again.

    There are things that you can influence, like how well you have a conversation. You can influence if somebody buys or not, but you can’t really control the outcome at all.

    You can control a lot of what you do in terms of how many appointments you set, etc. You can have a great amount of control over that. Two things we can work on controlling is how hard we work and our attitude.

    If you focus on controlling the “controllables,” controlling what you actually can control, and just surrender the rest, you will have a lot less frustration and a whole lot more peace!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • How to Take the Pressure Off

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

    Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

    It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

    I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

    Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

    1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:

    ♦  During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?

    ♦  If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?

    2. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

    ♦ “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.

    ♦ Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.

    ♦ Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

    3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

    In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

    aa_maslow

    The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

    There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

    1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.

    2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.

    3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

    If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Is Your Non-Verbal Communication Killing Your Sales?

    Guest Post By: Jay Jones

    So you have the perfect sales script, you know it really well and you are still struggling in your sales process. Have you ever stopped and taken the time to pay attention to how you are saying what you are saying? This seems to be the elephant in the room with many salespeople. Quite honestly, after years of coaching many salespeople, I have found that this is one of the least developed skills in a large number of people across all industries. People often fail to realize the power of their non-verbal communications.

    Hand-Over-Mouth-Pondering

    Albert Mehrabian is well known as one of the leading pioneers in the understanding of communication. Mehrabian’s research showed the following:

    7% of communication is in the words that are spoken
    38% of communication is in the way that the words are said (tone, volume, timing, etc.)
    55% of communication is in the facial expressions and body language (which often changes the tone, volume, etc.)

    It is important to note that Mehrabian’s findings specifically applies to the communication of feelings and attitudes. So the questions that I have for you are: What is your attitude and your feelings that are being projected onto the prospect when you are in the sales process? Do you have a strong conviction about the value that you bring? Are you confident in who you are and your ability to deliver an amazing product or service? Are you excited about your product and services? Are you selling with a servant’s heart or can your prospect smell your commission breathe through the phone?
    It is often important for sales people to do a gut check to determine where they stand internally. Sales is a transference of emotion. If our beliefs are creating emotions that are not in alignment with what we are saying, the prospect will know. People buy from people that they like and trust. If you were on the receiving end of your sales communication, would you like and trust you?
    Here are a few suggestions that can improve your non-verbal communication:
    1. Audio record or video record yourself prospecting over the phone or giving your sales presentation. Often we can watch and listen to ourselves and immediately hear or see the areas in which we need to improve the way we sound or look when selling.
    2. Hang up a mirror for phone prospecting. This is an old technique, but still a really good one. When watching our own facial expressions while on the phone, we often start to smile and project our voice better.
    3. Role play with someone that will give you “honest” feedback about how you sound and look when selling.
    4. Work on your self-talk. You need to work diligently every day on what you believe about yourself, your company and your product and services. If you don’t have conviction, enthusiasm and confidence in what you are selling, how can you expect your prospect to be confident and enthusiastic to buy.
    5. Do vocal exercises. Even though you may not plan on trying out for American Idol, it will be helpful to have a pleasant tone and quality about your voice, especially when phone prospecting.
    6. Either own your accent or work to minimize it. If you are someone that has a thick accent, you must learn to articulate your words clearly. Especially on the phone, people get frustrated often times when they cannot understand what you are saying.
    7. Get clear on the self-image that you are trying to project. If you want to come across as a dynamic salesperson, then work to project that self-image though the way you sound and look while on the phone and in person.

     

    Jay Jones is an expert in lead generation and business development. He has worked extensively in the mortgage, real estate, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare and financial services industries. Jay is a dynamic speaker and regularly speaks for company and industry events.