State of mindPeople have differing opinions on what is state of mind; whether it relates to mood, attitude or outlook. People will let their current state of mind affect the way they will handle different situations.  Sales consultants are no different in the arena and actually most sales people let outside influences affect their state of mind all too often.  I believe it’s a combination of all; let me share why.

I’d like to share a story of a friend, regarding his state of mind and how it was able to be changed. Up until 3 years ago Bob’s Type “D” personality leaned towards tendencies of negativity, always affecting his state of mind.  Bob’s mentor would tell him he suffered from what he called “bowel-optic vision”; Bob saw everything as crappy. His love for his profession drove him to be successful in that profession, however; his state of mind prevented him from growing professionally. Bob’s friends and colleagues jokingly referred to him as “Chernobyl” because of his short  fuse, explosive personality and his tendency to melt down handling certain situations.  All of us realize this is a recipe for disaster in the sales profession. How many times as sales leaders have we seen someone with natural talent fail in this business because of their state of mind?

Bob’s personal life was going well; his family moved into their first new home and were looking forward to his daughter’s wedding to a young man they liked. They were even able to move in his mother in law who was ill. I know most guys do not have the best relationship with their mother in law, however; contrary to popular belief he was very close to her. Although his professional growth wasn’t exactly where he’d wanted, he felt his life as a whole was going great.

Then the unthinkable happened; at age 42 Bob suffered what appeared to be a stroke, resulting in the paralysis of his entire right side. Several days later, he started comprehending what was happening around him. One morning his doctor came into his room and explained to him and his wife that their initial examination indicated he’d possibly had a stroke. He expressed to me upon hearing those words and thinking his entire world had just been turned upside down; his heart sank. Bob for several days afterward lied in his hospital bed and reflected on what his doctors had told him. Although he outwardly displayed a positive attitude for his recovery to his friends and family; inwardly he continued his negativity and self pity, blaming God and everyone for his current predicament. After performing a multitude of medical tests with no conclusive evidence on what was actually causing the paralysis, Bob and his doctors became frustrated and started to focus on his rehabilitation.

Bob was moved into a rehabilitation unit by doctors to aid in his recovery and after several months of painstaking physical and speech therapy he was released from the hospital.  He continued his recovery at home until one day while taking a shower; he fell and injured his back sending him back into the hospital. Doctors prescribed morphine to reduce the amount of pain he was suffering from his new injury. Upon being re-released from the hospital, he continued to wallow in a drug induced stupor and self pity. To what he thought was adding insult to injury, his mother in-law who lived with them passed away.  His tendency toward negativity continued and he began to wonder “what’s the point.”  Instead of changing his perspective with a positive mental attitude, he continued his pessimistic attitude and addiction to morphine for another two months.

While sitting in a wheel chair at the neurologist’s office in a drug induced haze, his wife had asked the doctor if he would assist her in filing out some insurance paperwork for Bob’s disability claim.  With less than stellar bedside manner the neurologist turned to Bob’s wife and coldly said; it was not his responsibility to assist her in filing the paperwork.   Returning to their car to go back home, Bob’s wife of 25 years finally broke under the burden of all that had happened over the last months and sat there in the parking lot expressionless and tears in her eyes.  As they drove home, Bob said he started to feel a burning sensation (anger) on how someone would treat his wife with such disdain, this resulted in a state of mind change for Bob. When they arrived home, Bob’s wife took him back into their room to lie down. Instead of continuing his negativity and pessimistic attitude; Bob, through his drug induced haze, finally had clarity. Looking at all the different types of medication he was on; he realized they were inhibiting his ability and success to recovery. He turned to his wife and told her to throw them all away.

Bob explained that the withdrawal symptoms he experienced over those next couple of days from going cold turkey was something he would not have wished upon his worst enemy. Throughout the whole experience of withdrawing from all the medication his new found state of mind never wavered.  He was able to receive therapy at home and over a period of time re-learned to walk, talk and write; basic tasks he had taken for granted for so long. This life altering experience made me realize, that is right Bob is actually me, to no longer look at life in such a negative and pessimistic way. It’s sad it took such a traumatic event to change my state of mind.

The one constant over my years in the auto industry is how sales people dwell on the negative and as I confessed earlier; I was no exception to that rule until the day I changed my state of mind.  How many times as sales leaders and professionals do we see the tempo of our business affected by one individual’s negativity?  All too often we let the actions of one individual determine the outcome of our entire day whether it be a family member, coworker or customer.   As individual’s we need to learn to change how these influences affect the way we perceive things.

The other day I overheard a young sales person complaining about his check to a service manager who is another mentor of mine and a person I consider to be a true professional. Without missing a beat, the manager told the sales person that he wrote his own pay check and no one else. The sales person looked totally bewildered in how the manager could write his own pay check, especially since they work for the same owner.  He continued explaining to the sales person on how they could improve their income and in the auto industry; if someone wanted to increase their pay check, all they have to do is change what they are doing.  The sales person seemed confused in what the manager had just told him and left, looking for someone who would listen to him complain. If sales people would take half the energy they spent focusing on the negativity of their day and focused it on improving their situation, how much more successful would they be in their profession.

There are those few sales consultants who do not let outside influences affect their performances; these are the true professionals of our business. These sales professionals realize there are things they can and cannot change.  They realize no matter what the weather is outside, focus on what is needed to grow their business and truly are an entrepreneur.  They do not see the customer as wasting their time, but as an opportunity and when followed up properly a potential sale.  This sales professional is spending their time generating business for themselves, while the majority of their peers are trying to bring others down around them.  These sales professionals month in and month out are our top performers and earners, unfortunately; they’re the performers we spend the less time with as management.

I’m glad I no longer look for the negativity in things; quite the opposite! I’m looking at each day as an opportunity to improve myself both personally and professionally.  I now analyze how I can turn what I may feel is a negative into a positive situation for me, instead of blaming someone else for something that might have gone wrong in my day. Believe me my life altering event did not make me naive; it just has proven to me, the only person that can change their situation is the person directly involved, which is me.

The point I am ultimately making here is that most of us let our state of mind be shaped by people and circumstances we cannot change. The only things we can change are the things that directly affect our state of mind such as our attitude, mood or outlook on life.

The questions I pose to you:

1.  Is your state of mind where you want it to be?

2.  Are there things you can do to change your state of mind?

3.  Will you take the steps to change your current state of mind if it isn’t where you want it or will you continue on the path of self-destruction?