By: Thomas Young, MBA
The most important decision we make in our lives is the attitude we choose to express each day when dealing with people or circumstances. This critical choice determines success or failure in sales and in life. The key is the realization that we choose. That’s right. You purposefully choose your attitude. Choosing a positive state of mind will lead to virtually unlimited success in your career and your life. A negative attitude will lead to unhappiness, poor relationships, difficulty at work and ultimately, poor health. In fact, the most common causes of death in the United States are heart disease and cancer, which are related to stress. Stress is a result of a negative attitude, carried out via perceptions, choices and behaviors.
Where Does Attitude Come From?
One of the most powerful questions I ask during training sessions is: “Where does attitude come from?” Often the group will think for a moment. Many will respond with comments such as, “Work,” “People,” “Traffic” and other examples. Finally, a brave individual will announce, “Attitude comes from within us.” This often leads to a chorus of ah-has as people begin to realize the power in that statement. You determine your attitude. We may blame others, circumstances or events for our situation; however, the key is our response to those things or people.
As you read this article, think about your day. We usually have a series of encounters with things and people whom we feel cause a reaction in us. In fact, we choose that reaction. We can choose to respond in a positive or negative way to these challenges. Your challenge, especially in sales, is always to respond with a positive attitude.
Consequences of a Negative Attitude
A sustained negative attitude will kill you. By far, the worst side-effect of a bad attitude is stress and the top fatal diseases in this country are caused, in large part, by stress. Stress turns quickly into anxiety, depression and ulcers. Now that you know you have the power to choose, why choose negative attitudes? Sales people with negative attitudes struggle and have difficulty closing sales. One common statement coming from negative salespeople is, “I’m not negative, I am realistic.” This is an excuse for being negative. Reality is what you make it. Make it positive.
Rewards of a Positive Attitude
People like to be around positive people. In sales, customers like to buy from positive people who have confidence in what they are selling and help their customers enjoy the buying process. People do not want to be sold, but they love to buy and own. Having a positive attitude will improve your relationships, make you happier and lead to success. The rewards of a positive attitude are enormous, if you are willing to keep your spirits up over the long term.
Everything is a Learning Experience
Everything that happens to you in your life is a learning experience. This is positive. We may have hoped for a different outcome, but face the facts in a positive light and move on. Let yourself become stronger from the experience, rather than weaker, full of doubt and stressed. Experience is just another word for mistake. Learn from these experiences by choosing a positive attitude that prepares you for the next challenge in life, which is right around the corner.
Avoid Negative People
One of the tragic parts of negative attitudes is that misery loves company. Negative people will search out others and attempt to bring them down to their level. This is how negative attitudes spread. Their negative influence feels powerful and they use it as a self-esteem boost. People do this in attempt to feel better about themselves, but the end result is short-lived and unproductive. In sales, it is hard enough dealing with rejection from your prospects and customers. Find positive people and let their attitudes stick to you.
Being Positive is not Easy
In my work as a manager, I have found that there are basically two kinds of people — those who take responsibility for their lives and those who blame others. People who take responsibility for their situations are positive people who see the world as a good place. They have made the conscious decision to be this way. This is not easy; however, understanding these basic principles about attitude are the first steps. Keep in mind, choosing your mental attitude is the only thing you can control in your life. Learn and practice a positive mental attitude, and enjoy the rewards.
Tom Young, MBA is a marketing consultant helping companies increase revenues.