Toxic self-talk habits that prevent sales success

In my last blog, I explained that your sales performance will always be undermined by distractions:

Sales Performance = Sales Talent + Knowledge + Experience – DISTRACTIONS

These “distractions” are the unconscious, insidious causes of underperformance and loss of confidence. Regardless of your talent, skill set, knowledge and experience, these distractions will always undermine your performance.

Much research in the past 20 years has uncovered specific destructive self-talk patterns that lead to career underachievement.

It all started with the work of Psychologist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, writing about distorted thinking patterns, and has most recently been modified by Dr. David Burns.

The first step in changing these self-destructive conversations you have with yourself is to recognize which of your self-talk patterns are toxic. Once you identify those habits, the next step is to challenge and modify them, which I will cover in the next article. The good news is that with practice, you can learn to recognize these habits and modify them forever!

Toxic Self-Talk Habits that Prevent Sales Success

  • Toxic Self-Talk Habit #1: All-or-Nothing Thinking

In this example of toxic self-talk, you view your world as strictly blackor white, good or bad. Such thinking involves attempting to always be perfect, which is obviously impossible. You inwardly describe something you don’t do perfectly as a failure.

Example: You have an unproductive week prospecting for new clients and you tell yourself, “This week proves that I am a failure when it comes to generating new business.”

  • Toxic Self-Talk Habit #2: Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization occurs when you exaggerate an unfortunate situation and you believe that is the beginning of a never-ending pattern of repeat episodes. The tip-off to this kind of thinking is the frequent use of words such as “never, always, all, every, none, etc…” These absolutes are exaggerations of reality and using them in your self-talk is extremely self-defeating.

Example:A producer has difficulty asserting himself with a very aggressive client and concludes that “I will always have trouble asserting myself with difficult clients and I’ll never be able to correct this flaw that I have.”

  • Toxic Self-Talk Habit #3: Jumping to Conclusions (Catastrophising)

The tip off to this pattern of self-talk is the constant use of “what ifs.” You take a situation or event and blow it out of proportion by assuming that a disastrous outcome is on its way. You come to expect a catastrophic conclusion, as if you have a crystal ball into the future and (of course) you usually expect a negative outcome.

Example:What if I can’t build my book of business as quickly as my colleagues? My boss will be very disappointed in me, I’ll have to quit this job and look for another career.”

• Thoughts or comments on this article? Please visit this thread focused on Dr. Jack’s series of articles:Battling Your Own Internal Critic

More from Dr. Jack Singer:

  • Toxic Self-Talk Habit #4: Magnification

In this distortion, you take things out of perspective and intensify what is really happening. You use dramatic words, like “awful,” disgusting,” and “terrible” to describe situations that are rarely that dramatically bad.

Example: You attend an office meeting where you learn about new governmental compliance and fiduciary requirements that will require extensive paperwork. You tell yourself, “The amount of paperwork required to just do my job is terrible. I’ll never be able to keep up with the requirements.

  • Toxic Self-Talk Habit #5: Mind Reading

This is a very common pattern. You come to the conclusion thatsomehow you have an ESP-like understanding of what people are feeling and thinking about you. Usually, you conclude that “They are thinking or feelingsomething negative about me,” even though you have no real evidence to support this conclusion — you just “feel” it, so you believe it to be true.

Example: Your manager comes to the office and is very short with you. You say to yourself, “If he is irritated it must be because of something I’ve done (or not done correctly). He is probably going to let me go soon.”

Now you have 5 examples of the most common toxic thinking patterns that sabotage performance. In my next blog, I will show you how to change these patterns for good!

Remember this: The conversations you have with yourself are either self-destructive… what I refer to as your “Internal Critic” — or they will propel you to greatness… your “Inner Champion.” The choice is yours.

• Thoughts or comments on this article? Please visit this thread focused on Dr. Jack’s series of articles:Battling Your Own Internal Critic

More from Dr. Jack Singer:

Dr. Jack Singer is a Professional Sport Psychologist, speaker, consultant and “Success Acceleration” Mentor for producers. He is the author of “The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide.”To get every day started in the right direction, regardless of your challenges, here is a link for a free download of “Dr. Jack’s 5 Step Mental Toughness Routine” that is used by professional, world and Olympic champions: To learn more about Dr. Jack’s keynote speaking, his mentoring services for producers and his unique, referral-generating program for your next Client Event, contact Jack at:[email protected], call him at 800-497-9880 for a FREE consultation and read morea

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