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The High-heeled Approach

A co-worker helped me understand my fascination with shoes. To my male readers, this article will hopefully provide useful insight and inspiration that transcends gender. We typically start each year full of hopes and dreams to make each year better than the last. With only a fraction of the year behind us, take stock of your habits and determine if you are:

  1. On track …. Terrific keep your momentum.
  2. A bit behind …Ok, what needs more attention to get back on track?
  3. Down and out, off track … Get up, regroup and get going!

I am intrigued by the attitudes, skills and characteristics it takes to achieve both personal and professional success. Moving forward and making consistent progress demands relentless focus. Regardless of where you are at the moment, remember who you A.R.E! Develop strategies to help you quickly rebound when life deals you disappointments. These strategies will ultimately define whether you are delighted or discouraged with your progress toward your goals over time.

This is especially true in direct sales where your results are up to you. The good news is that it is all up to you. The bad news can be that it is all up to YOU!

A = Attitude (attract others)

You are your Attitude!

Your success is largely determined by whether you think you can or cannot. There has been a great deal of research supporting the benefit of being an optimist. Research shows that 80% of US population is somewhere between the two ends of the optimist-pessimist spectrum and with focus you can intentionally slide your stance closer to the optimist side of the scale.

We have been raised to focus on faults, errors and what went wrong. Think about it. From school age onward, teachers have been red-lining your papers and pointing out mistakes.

Yet Suzanne Segerstrom, Ph.D., a researcher on the effects of optimism from the University of Kentucky and author of Breaking Murphy’s Law tells readers to increase their optimism and enjoy the rewards associated with it.

Researchers find that our attitude is largely impacted by how we explain or interpret what happens to us, something we call our ‘explanatory’ style. Where an optimist assigns credit to himself as an explanation for positive occurrences; a pessimist assigns blame.

To pump up your optimistic attitude:

  1. Find people to network with who cheer you up and cheer you on.
  2. Keep a list of people who make you laugh or help you maintain perspective.
  3. Take advantage of those who help to protect and preserve your attitude.
  4. When you are down, ask yourself, “What can I do to get over it?”
  5. Also ask yourself, “What kind of meaning am I attaching to this situation?”

Especially in direct sales, understand that a positive position attracts others. Be the person that people are happier to see enter the room instead of leave the room. Do you strive to uplift those around you?

R = Resilient (resilience skills help you rebound quickly)

You are Resilient!

When I think about characteristics of winners in business, entertainment, or sports, the resilience factor is the one trait they usually have in common. This factor often separates those who make it from those who do not. It does not matter if you fall down in business; it matters if you get back up [quickly].

Resilience is the ability to handle disappointment, and bounce back when something does not work out as planned. When a party cancels, a recruit backs out or a sales goal is missed, draw upon your resilience skills. Resilience is also the capacity to maintain high expectations while dealing effectively with falling short. How do you handle disappointment? Do you let it linger longer than necessary? Do you let disappointment drain and defeat you or do you regroup and get going?

The enemy of resilience is a popular pastime which psychologists term, “rumination”. Rumination can be a defeating activity and occurs when there is a pattern of repeating problems or obsessing over situations in one’s mind. Negative ruminating hinders resilience and slows your ability to move on and get back on track and is a common challenge among my clients.

If your internal dialogue begins to resemble a needle stuck on a record, and you find yourself repeating a negative scenario, distracting yourself for 8 minutes will give you relief and will help you interrupt your negative self-talk according to author Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., Women Who Think Too Much.

Exaggerating the situation until you can find humor in the absurdity of your thinking is another way to combat negative ruminating and become more resilient, says Karen Reivich, Ph.D., coauthor of The Resilience Factor. For example, if you are taking a lack of response personally ask yourself, “Are they really not returning my calls because they are trying to avoid me?”. In reality the reason is unlikely to be about you.

Exaggerate the best and worst case scenarios at extreme to help you identify most likely outcomes which are usually in the middle. This strategy helps you gain a sense of control over your thoughts and tap into your own resilience.

To pump up your resilience skills:

  1. Break non-productive rumination by changing what you are doing or thinking about for 8 minutes or more.
  2. Exaggerate your thoughts to include best and worst case scenarios and write down the most likely outcome.
  3. Change your course and stay in action.

Top sellers and Leaders demonstrate finely honed resilience skills by resisting negative rumination. Pump up your resilience factor.

E = Energetic (and Enthusiastic)

You are Energetic and Enthusiastic.

It takes a great deal of energy to run your own business, find a fulfilling livelihood or build a sales team. When your attitude is up and you give off a positive energy, people are attracted to you. Energy and enthusiasm are magnetic.

On a particularly difficult day when I was shouldering numerous work challenges, which felt out of my control, one of my co-workers asked me how I was feeling. I
replied, “I am stubbornly digging my heels in, stubbornly staying focused forward. I am not letting any obstacles or challenges derail my sense of purpose or vision of where we are going.”

Her response was brilliant, she said, “I have learned in business that high heels serve more than one purpose.” I suddenly understood my female fascination with shoes.

To pump up your energy and enthusiasm:

  1. Be determined to not let anything or anyone destroy your peace of mind.
  2. Dig your heels in stubbornly and focus on consistent small actions that lead to big progress.
  3. Take care of yourself first so you are able to help others who rely on you!

Stubbornly focus forward and approach everyone you meet with positive energy.

Remember who you A.R.E.!

The high-heeled approach – be ready to stand tall, step out and proudly sell.

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