You don’t need fixing…

Recently, I was meeting with a client (let's call her Lucy), a very successful salesperson who was lamenting about her lack of follow through with leads. 

She knew it would positively impact her bottom line if she followed through. Knowing that made no difference in her actual performance. She was quite judgmental about herself and all the character defects that she needed to work on to improve. Her list included a fear of success, needing to be more organized, increasing confidence, and her worry about coming across “too sales-y”. Upon further discussion, she stated she didn't have a plan to address these concerns but hoped they'd resolve with time.

This is a common phenomenon among people I coach. Whether it is follow through or closing the sale or some other business activity that will lead to achieving their goal, people have a multitude of reasons for their inability to act. The reasons become responsible for their inaction and so, that's that; nothing else to explore or get curious about. They relate to themselves like a fixed object.

One of the questions I typically ask is, “If all those reasons were resolved, what would you do?” Virtually every time their answer is simple. Some version of I’d take the action, make the call, do the thing. Adding all the reasons for not doing something doesn't make the reasons true. It does, however, add complexity and obfuscates solutions.

In my conversation with Lucy, we inquired into how she had achieved so much success without follow through. She said, “Well, I do follow through at times.” Truth bomb! This is an example of how our brains filter out facts that don't fit our narrative. In other words, the brain sees what we tell it to look for. Lucy decided that having a stack of business cards meant she was bad at follow through; she had a good story as to why and her mind blinded her to the truth:  she did follow through and did it effectively.  As a result, an unnecessary problem got created.

What if having a stack of business cards just means you have a stack of business cards? Period. Without a label or meaning attached, it's merely a fact. If you want to contact people in the stack, it becomes a creative game to play, a puzzle to solve. Most of the time when the story is removed, our natural ability to create and innovate takes over.

In Lucy's case, after our conversation she came up with an idea for a simple solution to spend two hours on Monday mornings calling her leads and making appointments. She's going to experiment with this idea for a few weeks and see what happens. Lucy said, “I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this before.”  I know why. I see it all the time. The thinking we have about the situation looks true, so we believe it. We take our eye off the thing we really want to accomplish and focus on the thought-created story about why we can’t have it.

Without the charge of the narrative, the problem is de-personalized which allows fresh thinking to come forth, solutions get revealed and action becomes natural, almost effortless.

Ironically, a lot of times the solutions are things we already know. They’re common sense. That’s the power of thought. It can blind us from seeing even the obvious.

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lisatcdev


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