If you are like most people, your first response to the idea of embracing discomfort is probably, “Why exactly would I want to do that?” Our minds are not wired to naturally welcome uncomfortable or seemingly perilous situations. The lower center of our brain suggests quite the opposite: run away!
So why embrace discomfort? In a word: opportunity. Sales-boosting opportunity. Life-changing opportunity. Studies consistently show that the most successful salespeople in the world embrace discomfort. In fact, they thrive on it -- that’s what sets them apart from the pack.
Consider the observation of John J. Ratey, MD, in his book A User’s Guide to the Brain: “The physical and mental responses to fear were so important to the survival of primitive man that they remain very powerful and long-lasting to this day. Unfortunately, this adaptive response is not always appropriate in today’s world. Our civilization has evolved away from the need to over-respond, but we still do.”
Discomforts, even in sales, fall into this “response-to-fear” category. Our brains are wired to understand fear as a threat and act accordingly, with little to no conscious effort on our part. While our higher reasoning skills allow us to discern the difference between the threat of a saber-toothed tiger and the comparatively mild discomfort of dealing with a non-responsive customer, the primitive part of our brain registers both situations as threats, thus triggering what psychologists call the flight instinct. This instinct is one of the forces that compels us to flee from a threat -- any threat. When we place discomfort in the category of “fear,” we are naturally tempted to avoid it at all costs.
Here is the good news: You’ve got it in you to embrace discomfort and thus to do amazing things. And to succeed, you can -- you must -- embrace discomfort. You have the power to do this. You can make bold choices. This fact is proven over and over by the most successful salespeople. They are not freaks of nature nor have they been injected with some kind of Stepford Wives sales chip. They are made of the exact same stuff you are.
Easier said than done, right? Here are the steps to take to prepare you to embrace discomfort:
1. Identify the uncomfortable moments. Think about the moments that cause even the slightest knot in your stomach. The cold call. The price objection. Asking for the sale. Follow-up. You know what the moments are.
2. Plan your response before you face the discomfort. Most people are reactive to their discomforts -- top professionals are proactive. They decide in advance how they will respond.
3. Rehearse. Like an actor in a play, put yourself in that moment and go over it again and again. State your response out loud. Feel it. Breathe it. Live it.
4. Keep calm and be bold. When you anticipate and prepare for your discomfort, you will be ready when it bubbles up. Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. You’ve already made your decision on how to respond, now you simply need to carry that decision out.
When it comes to sales, one doesn’t have to go looking for uncomfortable situations to embrace. Discomforts abound in the sales world. So, the question is, how strong is your desire to excel?
Be bold in the face of discomforts and watch your productivity soar. More importantly, be bold -- and you can change your customer’s world.
Related: 5 Ways to Boost Your Willpower