When my daughter was about nine and preparing for school, she stomped her feet angrily and declared, “I hate static cling!” I laughed out loud, struck by the absurdity of this disgruntled pronouncement and I gave her a hug, “Static cling doesn’t care if you hate it. Being upset and angry at static cling will in no way change how it behaves. There is no use being upset. The question is, what can you do about it?”
Getting angry at something you can do nothing about is a waste of time and energy. It just makes you look foolish. The real question is; what can you do about it.
For years, in our programs, we’ve been teaching that if you don’t like something, you only have three reasonable choices:
- Do everything in your power to change it.
- Accept it the way it is.
- Remove yourself from the situation.
However, although it makes little or no sense, many people choose a fourth response – they complain.
There are several common statements that slip into the conversation of the average salesperson:
- I hate traffic jams
- I hate technology
- I hate this lousy weather
- I hate this recession
Like static cling, these are conditions over which you have little or no control. Traffic, technology, and weather don’t care if you like them or not. Consider whether you can do anything to change what is irritating you. If not, accept it or remove yourself, because complaining is negative and demoralizing to you and the people with whom you share your grumblings.
Of course, there are circumstances over which you can exercise some control:
- I hate making cold calls
- I hate being stood up on an appointment
- I hate asking for referrals
It doesn’t matter if you like them or not! Can you do anything to change the situation? If you hate doing what’s required to be a successful salesperson, perhaps you’re in the wrong job. Change.
If you don’t like being stood up on appointments and it happens frequently, ask yourself what you’re doing that may be causing this. Are the appointments firm or tentative? Are you confirming them before you go? If you’re driving a long distance to this appointment, are you preparing a back-up plan, perhaps arranging alternatives if the appointment is a bust? Do everything you can to change the situation.
With allowances for clinical depression, most of us can choose whether to be happy or angry, satisfied or dissatisfied. We can observe the same situation through a different lens and interpret it to make us either happy or miserable. If you want to be happy, make up your mind to be happy. Why would you choose otherwise?