Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Pause & Refresh

I've talked to quite a few commercial/fleet managers lately who are trying hard to keep a positive spin on things in this seemingly downward spiraling economy. One of the first things to slow in this kind of economy seems to be "high ticket" items like cars and trucks. Whether it is a personal vehicle or a service body for a business, a lot of people are making do with what they have while they see how its all going to turn out.

You pick up the paper and all you can see are worrisome thoughts being expressed as "reality." The more worrisome the title of the article, the better the draw. Newspapers live for hard times to report. People just can't seem to get enough of it. Then, you turn on the TV and it is constant coverage on many channels, especially the news channels like CNN, CNBC, Fox, Headline News. They've got this expert and that expert and this opinion and that opinion and they roll it over and dissect it and work it until it is completely exhausted. It is as if that will help in some way. We justify watching it or reading it so that we can stay informed because we have to know what is going on.

Then you come to work and hear it from your co-workers, your employer, the vendors. Everyone has an opinion about it. "Hey, did you hear about the stock market crash?" "Ain't it too bad about the retirement plans of that company that went belly up?" Ain't it awful? Yes, it is downright ridiculous how awful it is. I sure don't want that happening to me! Man, I have to watch out! I'm getting older you know and what would I do?

So, when I'm talking with the commercial/fleet manager, I can feel the disparity of what they want versus the way things are and though they think they are good at keeping the positive spin on things, it shines right through. We don't believe it ourselves. How can we believe a positive spin with all this turmoil in the economy? It's hard enough just to get out of bed and face the world sometimes.

I feel it once in a while now, but less every day. For what it's worth, I will give you some very unpopular advice and see if you get any value from it:
  • It is easy to get information overload, especially when it comes to bad news. I stopped reading the paper many years ago. Frankly, I haven't missed it at all--or I should say that I'm glad that I have missed it! It is almost impossible to not get some news. As soon as you log on to the Internet, you will see plenty there when you aren't even looking for it. So, when it comes to bad news, the less I see of it, the better my life is. You really are in charge of what you let into your brain. Taking charge of that is an intelligent thing. Accepting responsibility for what goes in is very reasonable. I was travelling with a friend and business associate the other day and we were coming into a large city and there were large cranes all over the place building skyscrapers. There were plenty of cars and trucks on the road and I said, "you didn't read the paper, listen to the news, or watch any TV today, so if you were looking out of the windshield and making a judgement about the economy, what would it be?" He said, "I would say that business is very good and the economy is growing." That would be reality from that perspective. Reality is just a judgement; an interpretation of events or situations. So, the advice is to stay out of information overload. Control what goes into your brain. No one else can do that for you, but you can.
  • Pay attention to your physiology. Stand erect, sit erect with shoulders back and head up when possible. It is almost impossible to be depressed and stand erect. You have to slouch to be depressed. You have to be in a certain position. You've been there and you know what I am talking about. Anthony Robbins taught me this, but he is absolutely right and all you have to do to change the way you feel is change your physiology. I know it sounds too simple, but isn't that what's cool about that? It is simple. Nowhere is it written that it has to be hard. Exercise helps immensely. Pay attention to how your thoughts change when you change your physiology.
  • Be thankful. You have so much to be thankful for, but you have to remember to keep that gratitude at the front of your mind. Say how thankful you are for things as they happen. I thank God all day long and just before I go off to sleep for the very long list of things each day that I have to be thankful for. You can thank the Universe, or just say thank you to the air. The act of openly being truly grateful is such a great feeling and feeling good is what you so desperately need all day long. Think about it. When times are rockin' and rollin' you're feeling much better and have a very positive outlook on the future. Live is good, right? You can truly feel that way now as you begin to look for things to be thankful for all day long. Have you ever looked back on something that was interpreted as a negative event, where it turned out that this was the best thing that could have happened because it opened up something else? We've all had those. You need to be thankful for everything because you just don't know from your present perspective what the benefit will be, but you know it will be there.
  • Be flexible. Act like a tree in the wind. A tree moves with the wind. If it didn't, it would break. But the tree is flexible in the face of the wind, so it doesn't break. I have learned to go to Plan B, C, D, E or whatever I need to without hardly even thinking about it. You do that by being a tree. This plan didn't work out, so I go straight to plan B. I got to the airport in Seattle the other evening and wanted to check in for my flight. I find at this time that I booked the wrong day on the return flight. It is for tomorrow. No problem. I go to the counter and discuss it after waiting in line. I can go get a room and stay another day! I was having such a great time, I almost did that anyway! It wasn't the slightest problem. A few minutes delay, but I had plenty of time. I have really been learning to "go with the flow" of things and not "swim upstream very far." Let go of being upset by any changes that happen because if nothing else, you will find the changes were the better thing to happen when you look back on it. I see people get upset about the smallest things. Stress. Who needs it? Not me. I'm a tree!

With what I've said so far, if you do these things, your business is already improving without any effort whatsoever on your part. Isn't that cool? Now, I'll mention some things you can do to improve business. We might have to call these "work." But, we'll do it in a lighthearted way.

  • Now that you've taken control of what goes into your brain, let's take more control of your business. Begin to visualize what you want. Play with it. See it as clearly as you can see it. Visualize it often, but if the picture begins to change to something unwanted, let it go and come back later. See your customers coming in and picking up their new SUV, Plumber Body or whatever you are wanting to sell. See it happening. Don't force it, but hold it as long as you can, then let it go. This should only take a very few minutes each day. The value of this is that you are seeing things the way you want them, even if it is a fantasy. Dreams do come true you know, or have you forgotten that? See things the way you want them regardless of your current reality. Think of it as practice just like you are standing in the batters box at the World Series and you're watching that 95 mph fastball coming into the perfect part of the strike zone and you're brimming with confidence and excitement, and whack! It's a long, high drive over the center field fence! It's a home run and the bases are loaded! You just won the game! That's powerful visualization--and it works powerfully in your business life.
  • Talk to people. This is a good time to follow up with your existing clients and see how things are doing with their vehicle and more important than that would be to just thank them for being your customer. You might mention that anyone they know that might be in the market that you would take the same great care of them. A couple of minutes on each one should do the trick. Follow up is very important and will reap many rewards. One is that you will see how successful you have already been! You have a lot of customers!
  • Do some marketing every day. Send out some nice inexpensive mailer, or send some email thank you notes, or offers. Call some referrals. Go visit a few good customers and on your way in or out, stop and say hi to a new prospect or two. One of the lessons I learned about multi-level marketing was that the key to success there was consistent effort. You don't have to call 50 people today. That's a scary number. Just call a few, but do it every day. That is the key: consistent effort. Throw some spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks.
  • Have some fun. Go play golf with a client. Stop by the batting cage at the park after lunch and hit a few homers. Try to do something unusual that is out of your routine. When times are not as good, it is better to avoid as much routine as you can. It can lull you into a blank stare. Walk backward a few feet. It doesn't have to cost anything, just do something for fun. I used to walk into the business office singing Jingle Bells in July. That always felt good and it made them laugh and everyone felt better. It is all about feeling good, so find some little things that feel good and do them. Mix them into your day.
  • Get out of your office. Stop staring at the computer. Stop listening to other people complain. Get outside. Go visit potential prospects. You will find them everywhere. Hand out some cards. Just have some fun with it. You could say, "You're probably not in the market for a car now or soon, but when you are, I want your business!"
  • Now is a great time to clean up and put things where they need to be. Get more organized. You can work on some projects that you have been meaning to get to. Now you have the time. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about taking the time. You need this, so allow yourself to do it and enjoy it while you do so. Get your database up to speed. Whatever has been languishing, let's get it done now.

The day is over now. You've made a great deal more progress than you were making before. You are developing a grateful attitude about everything around you and all the events that unfold. Go home with joy in your heart that you have given value today. Go home refreshed and tomorrow you will get the opportunity to get better at it and find more joy. Sales will begin changing for you. They may not for those around you, but they will for you. You've probably heard it said that attitude is everything. They are right. It is everything. But, attitude is just your response. You've always had it, but it might not have been a good attitude or even a positive attitude. It might have been a negative attitude. You get to choose. Events cannot choose for you because events don't make attitudes, only your response is your attitude. Choose wisely. Choose joy.

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