Guest Post By: Steve Reiner
Your heart starts beating faster; you’re sweating; you can actually feel your blood pressure rising. If somebody was observing you, they might think you’re about to start your first day of Navy Seal BUD/S Training by the way you’re acting. But for a lot of us it’s much worse than that. No it doesn’t entail dodging bullets and jumping into a freezing cold ocean. Rather, it involves picking up the phone and dialing up prospective clients. Some people refer to it as prospecting. Others call it the phone approach. Most agree it’s the most stressful part of their job. But why is that? Why do so many sales professionals grapple daily with call reluctance?
It’s the fear of rejection; the fear of failure; the fear of not being perfect; the fear of not being successful. Whichever fear you can relate to the most, it can become a very emotional experience which can literally stop you in your tracks from doing the very thing you need to do make you successful. So what are you going to do about?
Motivational speakers will tell you not to let your emotions determine your actions but rather make your actions dictate your emotions. So we hear things like, “Act enthusiastic and become enthusiastic; let your motion create your emotion; fake it until you make it; do it scared and face your fears.” So you force your way onto the phone, praying the person on the other end does not recognize your anxiety, hoping that you experience some level of success so that you can get the momentum going, making dialing easier and less painful. But there’s a problem.
The next morning you’re back to square one having to do it all over again. The momentum you picked up yesterday doesn’t necessarily carry over to today and once again you find yourself having to push through the resistance, face your fears and act enthusiastic in order to become enthusiastic. Pretty soon you start waking up to the question, “Is all this stress really worth it?” You’re tired of being on the rollercoaster; the mental effort is exhausting; the progress seems short lived and not sustainable; your effort doesn’t feel authentic and everything feels forced. But it doesn’t have to be and the good news is it’s not about acting differently – it’s about thinking differently.
It’s about operating out of your purpose rather than your emotion. When you operate out of your emotion, you’re condemned to a rollercoaster life of highs and lows, depending on how you feel about a situation in the given moment. Your feelings come from your thoughts and if you’re thinking about how unpleasant it’s going to be to get on the phone than naturally you’re going to feel scared, anxious and stressed and your actions are going to follow suit. However when you learn to operate out of your purpose, everything changes. Now your actions become seamless and sustainable; with your purpose triggering your actions, as you become inspired, your actions become elevated; as you become fearless, your actions become energized. When our actions come out of our purpose, we’re no longer having to survive our circumstances but we’re able to thrive through them. Rather than having to deal with adversity, we’re able to embrace it. Rather than having to get through it, we’re able to transcend it. But how is this possible and what exactly does it mean to operate out of our purpose?
Your purpose is the cause for how you live your life. It’s the belief for why you do everything. Unfortunately most people have never taken the time to truly identify their purpose and therefore they often feel like they’re running on a treadmill; just doing everything they can to keep their head above water. However when we have a compelling purpose for why we exist, now all of a sudden we have an extra bounce in our step; we become inspired to work towards a cause the fuels us, that empowers us, that equips us to keep our perspective, no matter what the circumstances.
Now if you listen to different trainers you’ll hear some say there is no right or wrong purpose; it’s whatever inspires you for how you desire to live your life. After being a producing coach for over 25 years, however, and experiencing what truly inspires people to live with great energy, passion and significance, I’ve come to conclude that if your purpose is not about serving others, then it’s a weak and shallow purpose that in the end will not truly empower you with the tools and motivation to live out an inspired life. Of course that’s just my humble opinion. So what does this life of purpose look like?
My purpose is to equip people to be fearless, calling out greatness in everybody I meet. The reason this purpose means so much to me is because I used to live in fear for the first 21 years of my life afraid to ever step out of my comfort zone and do anything to really stretch me and as a result, I felt like I was just treading water, stagnant, scared, depressed, anxious and very unfulfilled. Thank God I met somebody in college who saw something in me that I did not see in myself. It was the first time somebody saw me not for who I was but for who I could become. It was the first time I ever had anybody who really believed in me. He helped me get on a trajectory in which I was pushing through my comfort zone, transcending my fears and accomplishing things I never dreamed possible. It was through this experience where I developed the purpose to equip people to be fearless, calling out greatness in everybody I meet. The reason this purpose means so much to me is because I think about where my life would be now if I had not had that role model. Without my purpose as my GPS for how to live my life, it would be very easy to revert back to my old ways: scared, depressed, anxious and unfulfilled. Instead, my purpose causes me to step up my game, to be the man I desire to be, to live out a cause that’s bigger than myself. So how does one’s purpose help to transcend call reluctance?
When your purpose, for example, is to be a positive difference maker, you’re no longer thinking, “I hope I don’t get rejected; I hope I don’t fail; I hope I make this sale.” These thoughts come out of a self-centered focus in which it’s no wonder you’re fearful to get on the phone because you’re drawing your identify from a scary place – what people think about you; you’re trying to gain your confidence from your production – something you have no control over. When your emotions are driving your behavior and you’re focused on yourself and trying to control something you have no control over, it’s no wonder why we have call reluctance. However, when your purpose is to build others, instead of saying, “I hope I don’t get rejected,” you’re saying, “I can’t wait to positively impact this next person.” Rather than saying, “I hope I make this sale,” you’re saying, “I can’t wait to provide value to him.” Instead of saying, “I hope I don’t fail, you’re saying, “I can’t wait to bring the thunder and make a difference in his life!” With your purpose guiding you, rather than your emotions, instead of saying “I’m nervous to get on the phone” which causes you to avoid it like the plague, you’re instead saying, “I’m fearless on the phone because of the service I provide” which triggers you to dive on the phone with passion, energy and excitement. But is this too good to be true?
After coaching hundreds of clients over the years, I’ve witnessed people who let their emotions drive their behavior and dread prospecting transform into people who became inspired with a compelling purpose who learned to actually enjoy prospecting. But even beyond that, I’ve experienced clients who lived out of their emotions who were plagued by stress and knee-jerk reactions who, once armed with a great purpose, began to not only work with more passion but to live with more passion as they focused on a cause bigger than themselves.
Steve Reiner, a partner at Southwestern Consulting and 2013 Coach of the year, is a Peak Performance Coach with over 24 years as a producing sales leader. He is an expert at helping people remove the emotional hurdles that prevent them from excelling in business and in life.