Control your ego and end call reluctance

par Jim Ruta | November 23 2015 08:00AM
What’s the winning perspective on a slump? I just went through one and hope I don’t do that again soon.

Slumps, or that time when nothing seems to work and our production falters, can be very hard on a person. That’s when it pays to remember that “Nothing grows on the mountaintop. Everything grows in the valley.”

If you are suffering through a slump, have had some hard times in business or are working through some difficult personal problems, don’t despair. You are in a valley. It’s not pleasant, but it’s in the valley where you will grow the most, personally and professionally.

Most of life’s lessons and changes come to us when we survive tough times, not when we are at the pinnacle of success. When we are at the top of our game, we don’t listen so much and we aren’t as open to new ways of doing things because the way we are doing things is working.

We become complacent. Frankly, it’s that complacency that causes slumps and brings us down from the mountain top. Slumps are a complacency corrector that resets our business for the better, if we play them right.

When life challenges us, we are forced to challenge our business and personal ideas, attitudes, resources and activities. We look for ways of improving what we are doing or doing different things. We look for ways to rearrange what we are doing to maximize our results.

Think about it. How much would you change if you didn’t have to for one reason or another? I promise you, not too much. It wouldn’t make much sense, would it? That’s the good news, or the winning perspective on challenges. Slumps make us think.

Necessity is the mother of invention when you think the right way. Top performers see challenges as opportunities to improve, to make themselves better. When you experience and survive a challenge, you are often immunized from that problem and you won’t suffer from it again. Top performers know they have to change to improve their personal or business lives so they change. They don’t pass the buck. They don’t complain. They don’t make excuses. They make new plans for improvement. They use their troubles to reset their triumphs.

Slumps remind us that it’s time to work on a regular marketing and prospecting system.

They may also remind us that we need a better focus or better audience.

Poor performance can be a function of no appropriate goals and we need them.

Missed goals may show us that we have to work more consistently.

Missed sales remind us that we have to prepare better, present better, close better and be better.

Lapsed business reminds us that we should be doing more service with existing clients.

Family challenges may tell us that we need a life, not just a work to be our best.

That’s growing in the valley. Growing is learning the hard lessons that only tough times can teach us. We likely would not do so any other way. Slumps are not fun but they can be productive with the winning perspective.


How can I find the courage I need to make phone calls and ask for referrals?

You’re not alone in your fear. Sadly, the price of success is the risk of ego damage. When you can control your ego, you will conquer call reluctance, referral reticence, closing shyness and feelings of rejection in general. When you are calling for appointments, asking for referrals and asking for the sale, you are risking your self esteem. That’s potential ego damage and your ego doesn’t like it. Fear is the emotional result.

The trick is knowing when your ego is involved. I got the answer recently while waiting to speak at a US conference. Presenting just before me on the program was Robert J. O’Neill, a US Navy SEAL Team Six Leader talking about what it takes to be a SEAL. He told us that SEALs learn to keep their emotions out of their decisions early if they want to succeed and stay alive. It’s what I’ve had in my Principles of High Performance for years except my version is “Keep your ego out of your decisions”.

Of course, the emotion of fear is ego-driven. The question was, “How do I know when my ego is working against me?” Robert had the answer. I believe it can help you reduce your call reluctance, be more likely to ask for referrals and be more confident and effective.

Rob said you know your ego is working on you when you “dwell” on a mistake, failure or situation. That word “dwell” was eye-opening to me. The fear we feel when making phone calls for instance is preceded by dwelling – replaying past failures in your head, second guessing yourself, getting upset at previous results and worrying about outcomes or wondering why you don’t have another job. When you can’t get the issue out of your mind, you know your Ego is in play. That’s the mind play that’s distracting your talent and killing your business. That’s call reluctance and referral reticence.

The answer is to realize you’re “dwelling” and then stop it. Literally say, “Stop it!” to yourself and you will be on your way to more peace of mind and more success. This isn’t easy and it takes time, but it works.

Most advisors know that ego-driven decisions are rarely in their best interests. This simple way of uncovering when your ego is working you over, distracting you and leading you towards additional trouble is the easiest I know. And, please don’t fall for that ego-excuse “I have a right to be upset”. Just because there may be justification for your feeling, doesn’t mean that it helps. You can either be right or be successful. You choose every time.

Now that you know how to recognize the destructive power of ego when making calls, you can more easily dismiss those thoughts and overcome the reluctance and reticence. Like Rob said, dump your emotional baggage, travel lighter and you will succeed more quickly. For them, it saves lives. For us, it saves livelihoods. Disengage your ego and you will go further than you ever dreamed.