By Steven Feldshuh
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East
Lately, I've listened to a lot of negativity coming from all corners: the news makers on TV and radio, the White House, Congress, Facebook, Twitter, and friends and family. It seems I can't avoid reading something that portrays our country, our administration, our government, our press and our neighbors in a negative light.
I have years of sales training and have taken courses on personal development; I believe I'm a levelheaded person. I've tried to be unfazed by today's environment, but I often wake up with a knot in my stomach. Proliferating disruptions are affecting my level of work and the manner in which I conduct my work. When you are blitzed daily by what you hear, read and talk about, it has a tremendous effect on the outcome of your days.
At home this past weekend, I realized it was time to pull out some old tricks I had used early in my career to build books of business. Yes, today's news does seem overwhelming no matter which side of the fence you stand on, but it doesn't have to be that way. The difference with the negativity today is that it comes from every conceivable direction. To calm down in the past, I could simply walk away from the TV or turn off the radio.
Now we are all faced with disturbing postings on social media, which I thought would be a nice way to connect with old friends, post pictures and potentially grow my business. Instead, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms have become forums that don't play by any rules I had envisioned. I've seen my family, friends and acquaintances post things they would never have said previously in public.
Conversations have devolved. If I took everything on these social networks seriously, I'd curl into a little ball and go to sleep. Based on a simple political comment I made on an old friend's website, people I didn't even know blasted me and called me all kinds of names. Their hostility was palpable.
I concluded thereafter that I had to limit my exposure and turn off the media somewhat to be able to turn on my enthusiasm. What is going on in our country is significant, but I realized I needed to disengage from the fray of traditional and social media before starting my work day.
So as someone who is typically very involved in the world around him, I figured this wouldn't be an easy task. Obviously, escaping the world's events just doesn't work. But, as a salesperson, it's absolutely necessary that I be positive. So how does one remain upbeat in order to drive success in business while encountering the current craziness at various junctures during the day?
First, I have to thank the founders of Amway. At one point or another, many of us in the baby boom generation were introduced to the Amway business model. Though I lost interest in selling soap, I did learn a lot from attending the company's conferences and listening to tapes made by some very successful people.
In the Amway approach to business, focus was paramount. Being tired or not finding prospects was no excuse. You spent the time prospecting until you achieved your goals. If it meant not sleeping, you didn't sleep. Since I do enjoy my rest, that part didn't work for me, but I did learn an enormous amount about success from this organization. In particular I learned the key to maintaining a positive attitude was listening to the tapes, yes, tapes (probably CDs and MP3 recordings now) telling stories of how people succeeded in a very difficult business.
So my first suggestion is if you can order any of the Amway success stories on CD or however they distribute them today, do it. They are true life stories and very inspirational. Amway preaches a strong work ethic and continually reminds people to not let any noise get in your way to success, a message that is highly applicable in these times.
Yes, preparing yourself to embark upon each day with a positive mindset is ever so important right now. At Barnes & Noble over this past weekend (yes their brick-and-mortar stores still exist), I did a bit of digging and found an entire section devoted to the power of positive thinking. It contained hundreds of print books, audio books and CDs on the transformative benefits of positive thinking, healthy eating and relaxation.
My favorite books were on conquering fears. Believe it or not, after many fruitful and rewarding years in sales, I still sometimes don't want to pick up the phone. My takeaway from Barnes & Noble was the audio books. Instead of getting into the car each morning and turning on a news program, I decided it would be better to pop in a CD on relaxation or positive thinking. Either will do the trick, because they block out the noise. I originally was going to list specific titles herein, but figured you can browse online to get those. I also recommend going into bookstores to find resources that will work best for you. Each of us responds to different voices and techniques.
I have other suggestions to help you get fired up each day. We all should exercise daily even if it is only for 10 minutes. I have found doing strengthening and stretching exercises are the best when stressed for time. The stretching loosens up the body and the strengthening makes you feel you can conquer the world. Feeling physically stronger makes the day easier to handle. Whatever form of exercise you choose, it needs to become routine.
Also, surprise your better half and your office mates by dressing up a bit more. I am in the habit of wearing jeans to work, but when I put on a pair of slacks and a nice shirt, I feel more positive and ready to face a potential client, even if it is over the phone. When people ask why you are dressed up, just tell them you never know who you are going to meet.
In addition, we've all heard the recommendation to keep a reminder in front of you for something you want. I remember being taught if you want a different car, have the picture of the car you want with you. If you want a bigger home, cut out a picture of your dream home and post it where you'll see it often. Those things work. I also like to have photos of things that make me smile. Think about a photo of a baby you love smiling or your cat or dog up to mischief. If you find photos that always make you smile, spend time looking at them.
Just remember to be successful, you need to focus. As over-stimulated as we are becoming, this may require some creative techniques.
Steven Feldshuh, President of Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions East, has 18 years' experience in sales and ISO development. Directly prior to joining MCPSE in 2012, he was President of Payment Partners. In his current position, Steven devotes the bulk of his time to assisting agents in building their portfolios. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212-392-9202.
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