I’m going to ask a question to which I already know the answer. But I’m asking it anyway. Have you ever hated doing something? Maybe it’s something boring that turns into pure drudgery. Perhaps it’s something you just flat don’t want to do. There may be a certain amount of procrastination involved. And in some cases you look for a way to hand it off to someone else or even ignore it completely. I don’t suppose that ignoring it makes it go away though, right?
Of course we know that this is all a mental game. That which we don’t really want to tackle is the product of our state-of-mind. Unfortunately, whatever it is we are dreading is usually something that really has to be addressed. And when we don’t, our negative mindset compounds and we resent the whole situation even more. There is a better way.
Here’s an approach that has worked for me. I “re-frame” and “lean-in.” What in the world does that mean? Let’s break this down into two parts. The re-framing element is all about stepping back and going at it a little bit differently. Think about the obstacle as a big hedge. We need to get from one side of the hedge to the other. But we keep running into a certain section of the hedge as hard as we can and it won’t budge. All that happens is that we come away with scratches on our arms and legs. Re-framing has us step back and study the hedge. By becoming more aware, we notice a section where the vegetation is quite a bit thinner and are thus able to see how we can get through to the other side.
Leaning-in means that once we have re-framed the situation we go at it with new purpose and vigor. When we see the thinner vegetation in the hedge we get up a head of steam and burst through to the other side. We visualize our success and aren’t timid or tentative about pursuing it.
This probably sounds reasonable in theory but exactly how does it work in the real world? Suppose we know we have to sell a certain amount of our product to meet our income targets. But to do this we need to “dial-for-dollars” – i.e. get on the phone and make a bunch of cold calls. The problem is that we loathe the thought of calling people to try and make a sale. We tell ourselves that we really aren’t any good at making these calls. We tell ourselves that the customers we are calling really don’t want to have their day interrupted by us. In fact, every excuse in the book is running through our heads. Meanwhile, the phone calls are not being made and cash register isn’t ringing. Does this possibly sound familiar?
What if we re-framed the effort this way? We make the call, but instead of selling we’re trying to understand how a particular customer decides to make corporate philanthropic donations because we’re formulating our own policy in this regard. Without a doubt, this needs to be a legitimate initiative on our part and not a ploy. We get to talk to the customer differently – outside of the “I’m selling” and “you’re buying” dance that is done. Our call is part of a relationship building process.
We lean-in by pushing hard to gather data from a number of customers that we otherwise would be cold-calling. Then we call them back to report the results of our findings. This gives us two customer touches without ever asking for a sale. And as the relationship grows, the customers we call are seeing us in a different light and may even initiate a purchase from us. No longer is this drudgery. Instead we’ve given ourselves a new purpose and now we are excited to make the calls. Most importantly, we have a completely different attitude that is palpable to our customers.
Re-framing and leaning-in are simple tools that we can use to get rid of the negative energy surrounding that which we don’t wish to do, and replacing it with positive energy. As we embrace this new approach our stress and frustration melts away and we can celebrate the conquering of a chronic irritant in our lives.
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This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.