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Finding it tough to stay motivated? Did you get a job in sales thinking it’d be easy and now you keep coming up against the same roadblocks? Feel like quitting? Then you need to understand the Cycle of Performance.
Every time you start something new in life, whether it’s a new training routine, a nutrition plan, a new career, or anything else, your mind begins an unconscious process called the Cycle of Performance (COP).
This cycle has four phases but most people rarely make it past the first two!
The four phases are Inception, Deception, Transformation, and Identity, and there are three things that will help you figure out which phase of the Cycle of Performance you are in. They are Attitude, Competence, and Effort. ACE! You will learn more about how ACE shows up in each of the four phases, but for now, let’s just focus on Inception.
During Inception, you’re excited, confident, and fully committed to making changes and reaching your new goals because your unconscious mind hasn’t started to push back yet. In Inception, your Attitude is high – you’re excited and confident about making changes. You are motivated to do the work needed to create a winning mindset and excited by the possibility of becoming an even better sales professional than you already are. Your Competence – how much knowledge and ability you have – is low, because you’re learning something new! You don’t know what you don’t know. And finally, your Effort is high – you are motivated and ready to take action!
When you reach the Deception phase, your attitude begins to dip and you suddenly feel like your new habits are harder to stick to; your excitement about making changes has faded. This is the time when your effort can drop off, too. You don’t feel like following through because your unconscious mind is much more comfortable taking you back to your old habits where things feel normal and comfortable.
Deception can feel frustrating and like your new plan isn’t working. What’s really going on here is that your unconscious mind is creating resistance to protect itself from change.
Deception shows itself as patterns of behavior. These patterns are not who you are; they are simply behaviors your unconscious mind uses to protect itself from change.
The Deception phase is where you get stuck and revert back to your old habits – not because you want to, but because that’s what your unconscious mind is trained to do. You find reasons and excuses and want to give up.
To move from Deception to Transformation you have to put a lot of time and effort into any new endeavor. Your unconscious mind will try to keep you right where you were, so you have to be persistent to move into Transformation- the time of transforming from the old to the new.
Have you ever heard the story of the phoenix? In myth, it is an incredibly powerful and miraculous creature who grows tired and weary from the difficulties of life. Sound familiar? It knows that it’s time for something new, so it builds a nest and catches fire, burning all the old down to ash. After three days, the phoenix is reborn and rises from the ashes, fresh and full of vigor. The phoenix does not resist the pain of burning in the fire because he knows what is to come in the rebirth. This myth teaches the value of destruction and endings in order to make way for creation and new beginnings.
During the Transformation phase of the Cycle of Performance, you will start to notice that you’re making good progress; you’re becoming more competent. You will also see your attitude improving and your effort increasing.
You must keep going even when you don’t feel like it – especially when you don’t feel like it! Because that is the moment Transformation begins. That’s when you are on your way to instilling new habits that will change your life forever.
During the Transformation phase, your new actions and habits will start to feel enjoyable! They’re fun because they’re part of the person you set out to become to reach your vision. Transformation happens if you keep pushing, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s the phase when you start to notice progress and find that new habits are getting a little easier and beginning to feel a little more normal.
Identity is the fourth and final phase in the Cycle of Performance. You started in Inception, moved through the challenges of Deception, strengthened your habits in Transformation, and next, you get to celebrate as you reach Identity!
Let’s use lifting weights as an example. In Deception, it might feel like you’re just starting to lift weights: your muscles are sore, you’re not seeing immediate results, and you feel like giving up. But if you stick at it, knowing that it’s making you stronger, you can move into Transformation where you’ve gotten into the habit of lifting. And even though it still hurts, you’re committed, you’re starting to see some results, and it’s gradually becoming your new normal. In Identity, you just are that person who is regularly lifting weights, getting stronger and stronger. You don’t think about your muscles getting sore or about skipping a day – it’s just who you are.
As you enter into this final phase, be aware of your internal identity and your external identity; this means, how you see yourself on the inside, and what you are showing on the outside. What you are changing is your internal identity; you’re taking your vision and purpose and making them who you are. On the outside, your external identity has probably been “fake it till you make it,” while behind the scenes you’ve been working on changing your internal identity. When both internal and external identities sync up, you will feel authentic and confident.
Also, remember to stay committed and consistent! This is not the time to quit on everything you’ve worked so hard for. Your identity is created by the things you do over and over because they match what you feel, think, and believe.
Lastly, guard your environment! Be aware of who you spend time with and what you choose to do. If a person, group, or activity doesn’t match up with your new identity, you may need to walk away. If you can’t avoid it, then reduce the amount of time you spend with those people or that activity. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, your vision, and your purpose. Identity is the phase where everything you have worked so hard for finally pays off! Your new habits have become automatic. Once you make it through the hard parts of Deception and Transformation, you can celebrate your success in the Identity phase.
Now that you understand the Cycle of Performance, imagine you’ve decided to begin a new sales process to increase your close ratio. The most important new habit will be making contact and following up. You’ve blocked off time in your calendar to begin your new plan, and you’re imagining winning and being on the incentive trip. You’re in Inception! You’re working your plan every day and feeling confident…then, all of a sudden, after about a week or two, you wake up one morning and think, “I don’t feel good – I really don’t feel like making phone calls today.” Boom! Deception has hit!
Now you have a choice: do you give in or do you stick to your plan? Because you know how your mind works and you knew this was going to happen, you can just laugh at your silly mind trying to derail you and follow through with your plan. When you choose to follow through, you’re heading toward Transformation. When you know something is good for you and it starts to become uncomfortable, don’t stop; keep going! Before you know it, your new sales plan will become a regular routine and you’ll be winning the sales contest. This is when you’ve arrived at the fourth phase, Identity!
To learn more about the Cycle of Performance join the webinar October 29th – Register here! https://event.webinarjam.com/register/125/9vvvmboo
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.