This is one of a series of blogs written specifically for those people in small businesses who are responsible for winning sales. These people will often have other roles and responsibilities which requires them to be very time-efficient during their selling activities. Larger businesses are likely to employ one or more full-time salespeople and this blog series is also written to help these people.
Last time, we looked at how to drive the negatives out of your life by concentrating on what you want out of life rather than what you don’t want. Life can throw up some difficult challenges for everyone, so it is important you learn to control how you respond to these circumstances. This time, we’ll look at a couple of things you can do to keep the negatives at bay and focus of getting what you want in life.
Mix with positive people
We looked earlier at some of the differences between positive and negative people in terms of how they respond to situations. Look to surround yourself with as many positive people as possible. Associating with positive people will make you more positive, optimistic and upbeat.
According to Brian Tracy, you should choose your friends and associates very carefully indeed. It is believed that Sir Winston Churchill once said, “the pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity while the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. The minds of positive people will focus on solutions and being around them will encourage your mind to do the same.
One of the biggest pitfalls for positive people, because they are optimistic and solution oriented, is for them to think they can help a negative person to become more positive. For some reason, this rarely works out. These negative people often seem to respond positively at first but over time they plant the seeds of doubt in the mind of the positive person. In fact, the negative person eventually drains away all the energy from the positive person, who gradually becomes tired, lethargic and pessimistic.
You must be extremely selective about the people you engage with and avoid associating with negative people.
One way to benefit from other positive people is to form a Mastermind group that meets regularly to network, share information and help one another. This group of positive people will be invaluable to you when you do have some seeds of doubt put into your mind. There can be lots of energy when a group of positive people get together which makes activities like brainstorming incredibly productive. If you do decide to form your own Mastermind group, take it slowly at first and get everyone in the group comfortable with each other. It is only when each member can be inter-dependent of the others will the full benefits be realised.
Take positive actions
Undoubtedly, everyone has a huge to-do list, so there should be plenty of opportunity to take action. In fact, you’ve probably got far more to do than you have time available. It is important to find a way to sort out the key tasks, the high-value tasks, from the rest. Many people spend all their time dealing with low-value tasks giving them the feeling of “running to stand still”.
Several techniques exist which can help you. Firstly, Stephen Covey makes distinctions between Urgent and non-Urgent; Important and Unimportant tasks. Typically, Urgent tasks force us to react and non-Urgent tasks require some proactivity. You need to focus on dealing with tasks that are Important – both Urgent and non-Urgent. You must use all your skills to minimise the number of Urgent tasks that appear on your to-do list (through planning etc) so you can spend more of your time on the non-Urgent (less stressful) tasks.
Firstly write down your to-do list. Separate the tasks into Important and Unimportant. Then take the Important tasks and separate them into Urgent and non-Urgent. As you have more tasks on your list than you could possibly complete, just leave the Unimportant tasks on one side.
The Important / Urgent tasks are the deadline driven tasks that need your immediate attention.
Take action straight away to deal with them. Hopefully there won’t be too many in this category, so prioritisation is unlikely to be needed.
For the Important / non-Urgent tasks, give each of them a target completion date. You use this when managing your to-do list to ensure you complete the task before it switches from being a non-Urgent into an Urgent task, which will increase your stress levels. Next, prioritise your Important / non-Urgent tasks and work on the most important one until it is completed (or you reach a point where no further progress can be made), then move on to the next highest priority.
Review your to-do list daily to ensure priorities are always up to date and you know what your highest value task is for that day. This is taking positive action and getting some momentum behind these important tasks will add to your motivation. This in turn will help you to maintain positive thoughts in your mind.
- Become conscious of your thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, consciously replace them with something positive.
- Learn to accept you will encounter problems and setbacks in all aspects of your life. Look for the lessons you can learn from each experience and avoid making the same mistake again.
- Classify your to-do list tasks as either important or unimportant. Transfer the unimportant ones to another list and focus all your efforts on undertaking the high-value, important tasks.