Last blog, we were discussing how to break out of the state of being stuck mentally in a Southwestern context. We talked about using the phrase, “What would it be like if I could ________ (insert impossible thing)?” By pretending you have the skill or ability which you currently believe you lack, your brain opens up to possibilities. You automatically imagine what it would be like.
Dealing with stuckness during a Southwestern summer.
I travel to many weekend meetings during the summer. On Sundays, I always meet with Southwestern students–many of whom are struggling–with their self-imposed limitations, with their belief levels in selling, with feelings of frustration because they’re not hitting their goals. Invariably, they’re in a mental “death-loop”: their self-talk is negative, which leads to a mental image of what they don’t want, which leads to an outcome or action that confirms their self-talk! A self-fulfilling sales prophecy that is limiting.
We’ve all done this in some way if we’ve sold with Southwestern: You look at a house and think to yourself: “I know I’m not going to get in.” You form a mental picture of this negative outcome. You muster up the courage anyway, knock and shock–you didn’t get in; then you tell yourself: “See! I knew that wouldn’t work.” We don’t get what we want; we get what we picture.
So my PC (personal conference) might sound like this:
Me: “Tell me what’s happening.”
Student: “I just can’t get in doors. People don’t let me in. Ever.”
Me: “Really. No one ever lets you in.”"
Student: “Well…some do.”
Me: “Tell me more.”
They go on to describe their stuckness in great detail. Using all kinds of universal statements, like “everyone”, “no one”, “always” and “never”. First person, present tense, with emotion. All their assertions reinforce what they don’t want!
I finally counter with a key question: “What do you want to happen?”
This usually brings an abrupt halt to their sad monologue. Southwestern students who are locked into their mental morass are not often looking for solutions, and the new question interrupts their train of thought. They are wallowing in self-pity and a vicious self-defeating cycle. After I ask, “What do you want to happen?” they typically give their right answer. Example: “I want to get in doors so I can make a sale.”
My reply? “Great, let’s talk about how to do that.” A how-to question allows us both to explore options and think about what the Southwestern student can do differently to reach a different outcome. Most people who are suffering from stuckness are in the “why-question” mode: “why is this happening to me?” or “why can’t I get in doors?” Breaking their state a bit with an entirely new question–”what do you want to happen?”–can launch the conversation into a much more useful area: the how-to-fix-this area.
If you’re selling (or studying or working out or feeling bad about yourself) and you’re mentally stuck, you don’t need me to PC you. Ask yourself, “What do I want to happen?” or “How do I want to feel?” Your brain will begin to give new & improved answers. Thoughts? Comments? Southwestern veterans, chime in and let me know if this makes sense!