When that guy on the freeway nearly ran you into the median the other day (or maybe it was this morning)—were you angry or matter-of-fact about the situation?
Were you screaming obscenities, or was it a more pragmatic, “Hmm, it’s too bad that he’s driving dangerously; I really wonder why he’d put himself at risk like that”?
When it rains does it depress, or captivate you?
When a prospect doesn’t show up to an appointment, do you immediately assume they’re a flake, inattentive, or just generally “a bad prospect,” or do you truthfully tell yourself you understand, because they’re a business professional with exceptional demands on their time, who needs and deserves your best effort to help them?
The answer is, of course, it’s a choice. Your choice.
Nothing ever happens in an emotional vacuum. They daily transpiration of events happens within a set of criteria we choose that filters the “meaning” of them as they happen.
The human race is a race of storytellers. We place every moment in our lives into the context of a narrative. A story. A series of connected events that flow from one to the next.
And in almost every single case, the choice of how we view the experience controls the quality, the feeling, the emotional impact of that narrative.
Escape Velocity’s Jonathan Fields puts it this way:
“Whether we realize it or not, all day long, we’re creating models of the world around us. Taking circumstances that Buddhists would call “empty” and overlaying our filters.
- Moral filters (good, bad, just, evil, worthy, worthless),
- Emotional filters (sad, angry, fun, frustrating),
- Cognitive filters (smart, dumb, rational, flighty),
- Spiritual filters (delivered, doomed), and more.
And, it’s much more those mental models, beyond the circumstances that give rise to them, that determine how we experience the world around us.”
Sales is a challenging, rewarding career – – but it’s not one people take on lightly. The mental energy, stamina, will, and commitment to be a highly successful professional sales person isn’t something most people come by naturally.
But there’s one thing that all successful salespeople have in common, and it’s how they choose to view themselves and their prospects. The narrative they construct for themselves dictates the effort they put in, the skills they develop, and their approach to the people they work with.
This isn’t to say that circumstances don’t occasionally dictate outcomes.
But more often than not, success happens because we choose a narrative that leads to it.