How To Stay Motivated

Hooray! The Client Said No!

You walk out of the office; shoulders slumped and head hanging low. The meeting did not go the way you had hoped. Shoving through the glass doors and exiting the building you heave a sigh, the words of your prospect still ringing in your ears, “No, we’re going to pass.”  Motivation is dwindling fast. For a moment, you think about blowing off your last appointment of the day and heading back to the office and in favor of catching up on paperwork.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way?  Imagine getting a “no” from a prospect and then pushing through those same doors happy, excited and energized.  Imagine actually thinking to yourself, “Hooray, the client said no!” In order to tap into the “power of no” there are five key strategies you can apply today.

1) Change your mental model of “success” and “failure.”  Most people operate with the following mental model: 

SUCCESS (Yes)   <--  <--   YOU   -->  -->    FAILURE (No)

They see themselves in the middle, with success on one end and failure on the other. They do everything they can to move toward success and away from failure. But, what if that model was wrong?  What if that model was reconfigured?   

YOU   -->  -->  FAILURE (No)   -->  -->   SUCCESS (Yes)

What if, rather than seeing failure as something to be avoided, it became a “stepping stone” on the path to success? Put another way: Yes is the destination, but “no” is how you get there.  To achieve significant success in today’s world, top performers do not see success and failure – yes and no – as opposites, rather opposite sides of the same coin that depend on each other.

2) Intentionally increase your “failure rate” – go for “no”!  There is a story about a young man who asked Tom Watson, the prominent CEO of IBM, how he could be more successful.  Watson responded, “Double your failure rate.”   Watson wasn’t trying to be funny.

Success is, to a large degree, a numbers game.  As such, one of the fastest ways to increase your success is to intentionally increase your failure rate. In other words, increase the number of times you hear prospects say “no” to you.  Of course, increasing the number of times you hear “no” will eventually increase the number of times you hear “yes.”

3) Create “no-awareness” by counting your “no’s”.  Here’s a question for you: How many total “no’s” did you personally obtain yesterday?  Last week?  Last month?  How many for the year?  Do you know?  Well, you should!

Most people, if they actually counted the number of times they hear “no” during a typical day or week, would be shocked to see how low that number actually is.  If you don’t know your number, it’s time for you to start counting every “no” you hear, because the very act of counting your “no’s” will increase your “no-awareness” and that, in turn, will enhance your “no-focus.”

4) Celebrate your failures, not just your successes.  When was the last time you rewarded yourself for failing?  Probably never!  That needs to change. It’s natural to be excited about our successes and to celebrate them, to reward ourselves for the achievement.  But, if the key to success is to increase your failure rate, then it only makes sense to celebrate your setbacks, too!  When someone turns you down, celebrate it!  Instead of mentally punishing yourself for not succeeding, buy yourself an ice cream cone and say, “That ‘no’ put me one step closer to success!”  If you did, maybe failure – and the word no – would no longer have negative hold on your thoughts and emotions.

5) “No” doesn’t mean never, it means not yet.  Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success is simply showing up.  While the power of showing up should not be underestimated, the reality is that showing up – in and of itself – is usually not enough.  The key to success is to show up, and then to keep showing up!  In a word: persistence.

Is this to suggest that when someone keeps telling you “no” you should stay at it forever?  No. Though Winston Churchill famously declared one should never, never, never quit… knowing when to quit is an important skill.  The problem is most people think that time has come long before it actually has!

How do you know the perfect time to quit?  Unfortunately, there is not a definitive number of “no’s” at which one should throw his/her hands up and go home – after all, every situation and every prospect is different.  So the answer always begins with an analysis as to whether the person you’re trying to sell to is a qualified buyer.  If they are unqualified (they neither want nor need what you have to offer), then you should pack it up and move on.  However, if they do need what you’ve got – even if they don’t want it yet – then pursue them for as long as it takes!

So the next time you walk out of a prospect’s office having collected another “no,” remember these five key points and say, “Hooray! I just got a no!” Because when you increase your failure rate and go for “no,” the “yeses” will eventually come… they always do!

Attitude - A True Story

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say.

When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man. " I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

"Don't Let A Slow Start Get You Down"

If your new business is off to a slow start, don't be discouraged! Nearly every business takes a while to build up steam, and many of the slowest starting individuals wind up being the most successful over the long haul.

Many self-made millionaires will tell you they nearly went bankrupt before they turned the corner, and a lot of now-giant corporations were one deal away from going under in their early days. Virtually every book you might read on entrepreneurs details multiple examples of successful individuals barely scraping by and seemingly heading toward failure when they were first starting out.

Then there are the people you won't read about very often, people whose ventures also looked certain to fail. You won't read about them because, unlike the success stories who kept going despite the obstacles, these individuals gave up. They went back to working for other people or living off the dole, and faded into permanent obscurity.

At least in the short run, this often seems like the easiest path. But, really, how easy is it to start all over from scratch with a new business you hope (but don't know) will do better, or find a well-paying job in this economy? Not very.

As for the success stories, they kept going. They kept pushing forward, refusing to quit, until finally their efforts paid off. Word of mouth brought new business, the economy changed, they saw the opening they were looking for or got the break they needed. And voila! Suddenly, instead of struggling to pull themselves up a cliff with exhausted and trembling fingers, they had crested the summit and were rolling downhill with unstoppable momentum on their way to financial security, and ultimately to wealth and luxury.

I know you have the courage, resourcefulness and desire to keep pushing forward, and I have every confidence in you. It's hard at first, but with each small, short-term goal you achieve, you build momentum for the next milestone. Soon, you too will be rolling.

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