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Attitude #3: Self-Esteem: Sell Yourself to Yourself
Libraries offer a host of publications on self-esteem, all offering various definitions. In the interest of
clarification, I offer you my definition: "Self-esteem is the conscious appreciation of our own worth and
importance, the reputation we have with ourselves. It is an attitude of acceptance versus envy." Accept
who you are and what you have rather than what you don't have. Learn to be happy with what you have
while you pursue what makes you truly happy.
Self-esteem not only empowers you to feel better about yourself but it allows you to live better. The
level of your self-esteem has profound consequences for every aspect of your performance and your
existence. Without question, self-esteem is the most important of the five attitudes. Self-esteem goes
far beyond that innate sense of self-worth that presumably is your human birthright. It is about
confidence in yourself, confidence in your ability to think, confidence in your ability to cope with life, and
the confidence to recognize your right to be successful and happy. To trust your mind and to know that
you are worthy of success and happiness is the essence of self-esteem. When you trust your mind,
you reinforce your worth and you will more likely persist in the face of difficulties and daily challenges.
Research suggests that individuals with high self-esteem persist at a task significantly longer than
individuals with low self-esteem. This reinforces trust in your mind. If you distrust your mind, you are
more likely to be mentally passive, to bring less awareness than you need to your activities and to be
less persistent in the face of difficulty.
Personal Self-Esteem and Career Esteem

Esteem includes not only your personal self-esteem but your career esteem as well. Career esteem is
how you feel about your job, your company, your boss, your product, or your service. Are you
committed to the career aspects of esteem? If not, you will probably want to take your job and shove it.
Your career attitude will come through loud and clear to your internal and external customers.

If you are not happy with the career aspects of your life, consider finding another job. Get paid for what
you love to do. When you enjoy your job everyone benefits, at work and at home.

Success is often jeopardized by the self-imposed limitations of low self-esteem. Many of us are our own
worst enemies. Perhaps the greatest liability sales representatives have is low self-esteem. They often
pursue sales careers handicapped by low self-images. Low self-image and low self-esteem are further
fuelled by the fact that sales professionals live in a world of constant rejection. We are too hard on
ourselves even before things go wrong. Often negative self-talk”the conversation within our mind”
supports a predetermined outcome: "I can't do that ... I'll probably screw up ... I won't be successful."
And so it goes. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I once heard personal and professional
development expert Brian Tracy say, "We shoot ourselves in the foot and then admire our
marksmanship." [7] You must learn to appreciate your own worth and importance. (We'll get to how you
can do that in a minute.) "Healthy self-esteem corresponds to rationality, flexibility, admitting mistakes,
creativity, and a receptiveness to change. Poor self-esteem corresponds to rigidity, blindness to reality,
resistance to change, and limited productivity." [8] Where do you fit in?
Top-achieving sales professionals have a high regard for self. They believe in themselves and understand
that you only sell as well as you feel. When we feel good about ourselves, our ability to be effective with
our customers is enhanced. However, feelings are not facts. Just because you may feel incompetent
doesn't mean that you are incompetent. Sometimes you may feel that you are not performing up to your
usual standard but in fact you may well be. By trusting your decisions and your judgment, you enhance
your sensitivity to your customers' needs. Your own insecurities may prevent you from focusing on your
customer. Without high self-esteem we live in a house of cards, built on a weak foundation.
Three Ways to Build Self-Esteem

To fuel your self-esteem, I offer three suggestions.
1. Creative Visualization. Use mental imagery to see yourself successfully engaged
in sales situations or personal situations, embracing new behaviors. When you see
yourself actually acting or thinking in a new way, you begin to let go of old
programming. A new reality starts to take shape. For your reality to change, you
must picture and accept yourself taking on the new behavior. Some mental
preparation is required prior to thinking positively. The goal of visualization is to make
the mental practice similar to the physical practice. We must think positively before
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we can act positively.
Visualization means "seeing success before it happens." See yourself on the podium prior
to the event. By visualizing success, top achievers actually increase the chances of it
happening. We move toward what we picture in our minds. A flushing of negative,
self-defeating thoughts must occur before the mind can receive and act on new images of
success. Athletes have been using the advantages of visualization for decades. They
visualize the end result prior to the event itself. They develop a mental blueprint to get a clear
image of what needs to be done. In his book, Advanced Selling Strategies, Brian Tracy talks
about the value of a "mental rehearsal" prior to the sales call. He suggests that "Top sales
athletes can use these same techniques as well to dramatically improve their performance in
selling situations." [9]
One of my earlier experiences with creative visualization was when I was teaching my
daughter, Lynn, how to water ski on one ski. Her earlier slalom attempts had met with
frustration and disappointment. She had fallen several times. (Not to mention that the gas
gauge in the boat was falling as well.) We took a break and sat down on the dock and I
asked her to close her eyes. I then walked her through a mental picture of success where
she could see herself up on one ski. I had her confirm aloud what she saw and how she felt
about it. Well, you guessed it. On her very next attempt, she got up on one ski. It worked!
We were both elated. In fact, she almost fell again as she was filled with excitement and
momentarily forgot what she was doing. As Lynn and countless others have discovered,
creative visualization elevates your readiness to perform. Give yourself a competitive
Balance. A balanced life is another way to foster self-esteem. Goals should not just
be set in the area of business. No one has ever said on his or her deathbed, "I wish I
had spent more time at the office." Top achievers set goals for all aspects of life. If
not, they get out of balance and forget about other dimensions in their lives. The six
components of a balanced life are family, health, work, spiritual, intellectual, and
social. Examine each one and make time for the things and people that really count
in your life. Successful people have come to appreciate the big picture and make a
conscious commitment to personal development. They have learned that becoming a
well-rounded person has as much to do with pursuits outside the office as with
professional development. Success means having "passion pursuits" such as
hobbies, personal interests, sports, or other extracurricular activities outside of work.
These make for a well-rounded salesperson who doesn't live life as a couch potato, a
mouse potato, or a spectator, but as a participant.
The downside is that without a balanced life, we fall into an activity trap, constantly on the
go. We lose our perspective, our energy, and our sense of humor. Life is not that serious;
let's take humor more seriously. Humor prevents hardening of the attitudes. Consider the
mantra: Think fast, live slow.
Work complements your financial goals. To develop your financial goals I suggest you read
David Chilton's book, The Wealthy Barber. He delivers excellent strategies to achieve your
financial goals, all the while endorsing the KISS principle. David's book will also help you get
out of financial quicksand. I'm sure everyone with maxed-out credit cards can relate, they
spend themselves to wealth.
Read, Read, Read. My final suggestion for maintaining high self-esteem is to read,
read, read. Read other resources and materials, listen to audiotapes, attend
seminars, and learn from successful people. You simply do not have enough time in
life to make all the mistakes yourself. Learn from observing others. Don't go through
life learning and training by trial and error. It's too expensive. As a friend once said to
me, "Do as I say, not as I did." Consider this: if you think professional training is
expensive, try ignorance. We cannot learn in isolation. The more intellectual inventory
you acquire, the more resources you can draw on, and the better you will deal with
daily challenges and stress. Strive to become mentally fit by feeding your mind with
highly nutritious mental foods. Feed it mental protein instead of mental junk food like
mindless television shows and radio gibberish. The average North American spends
upwards of 22 hours a week in front of the television and 5“10 hours on the Internet. It
wouldn't take that many hours with a good book to distance oneself from the pack.
Many adults continue to live on a diet of mental pabulum, only digesting what is
absolutely necessary, nothing more. What you take in today transcends into the
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person you become tomorrow.

Build your personal development library at a rate of one new book every month. I suggest you start by
reading Dale Carnegie's classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People. It's a "must read" for people in
all walks of life. To earn more, learn more.
Two Types of Knowledge

Every day we are bombarded with new information, new technologies, and new and improved products,
all representing new knowledge. But in fact, where we are today, technologically, is comparable to
where the aviation industry was in 1950. We ain't seen nothin' yet. I like the statement from author
Warren Bennis: "The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will
be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment." Again we
must unlearn as much as we learn. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to learn how to

My theory is that there are two types of knowledge: core knowledge and peripheral knowledge. During
our lifetime, we acquire core knowledge (math, science, language skills) which remains constant
throughout the centuries (eg., 2 + 2 = 4, and will never change). Peripheral knowledge is the stuff we
learn that reflects current technologies and current philosophies. Peripheral knowledge is perishable; it
comes and goes. We appreciate that it may very well be obsolete in ten years. Newly acquired
peripheral knowledge should come with a "best before" date stamped on it: "For best freshness, utilize
this knowledge before the year 2010." Just as we clean out our refrigerators, we need to purge our
minds once in a while. An example of peripheral knowledge is keyboarding, a skill currently taught in
high schools. Keyboarding is a classic example of peripheral knowledge that is already becoming
obsolete. Keyboards are being replaced with voice recognition and voice-activated computers already on
the market. Many products we enjoy today are vulnerable to technological obsolescence as the lifespan
of products continues to shrink at an alarming rate.
A combination of core knowledge and peripheral knowledge is the key to personal and corporate
survival. As I mentioned earlier, the competitive arena demands acquisition of knowledge, and constant
investment in career development. We must continually search for any intellectual advantage available.
The acquisition of new knowledge fuels self-esteem. However, I caution you, knowing is different than
applied knowledge. In Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich, he makes a good point: "Knowledge
is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action
and directed to a definite end." [10 ] One of my national accounts, Dun & Bradstreet, has a great
expression: "Knowledge allows you to play, applied knowledge allows you to win."

Stay in school by becoming a lifelong student of your profession. Unquestionably, knowledge is the
currency of the future, and today's world takes little pity on those who remain lazy about learning.
Lifelong learning is a form of personal insurance. Protect your future.
Tracy, Brian. Winners Seminar. Calgary, Alberta. 1992.

Branden, Nathaniel. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem. Page 5, 1994. Bantam Books.

Tracy, Brian. Advanced Selling Strategies: The Proven System of Sales Ideas, Methods, and Techniques

Used by Top Salespeople Everywhere. Page 80, 1995. Simon & Schuster.
Hill, Napolean. Think & Grow Rich. Page 75“76, 1960. Ballantine Books.
[10 ]
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Attitude #4: Comfort Zone”Stretch It
As two caterpillars were returning from a day of fun in the sun, they noticed a beautiful butterfly
overhead. One caterpillar looked at his friend and said, "Gosh, look at that. You'd never get me up
This classic comfort-zone syndrome is familiar to most of us. We go through life living within our limited
range of experiences, our comfort zone, hesitant to explore new experiences and venture into the
discomfort zone. The discomfort zone is unfamiliar territory outside of our existing inventory of
experiences. A comfort zone includes life experiences that feel natural, safe, and normal to us. Been
there, done that, got the T-shirt.

To further our understanding of the comfort zone we must discuss our subconscious minds. No doubt
you have some awareness of the workings of your subconscious, as hundreds of books discuss the
subject. My interpretation of the subconscious mind is that it represents an inventory of all our life
experiences, a warehouse full of perceptions, beliefs, and self-images. Our subconscious mind is our
comfort zone.

All our conscious thoughts and daily experiences, positive or negative, contribute to the building of our
subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind thinks in pictures. We become what we see. If we think
failure, we get it. If we think success, we enhance our chances of achieving it. Henry Ford said it best,
"Whether you think you can or can't, you are probably right." Our subconscious mind's impact on our
behavior is so all-embracing that it becomes the single biggest barrier to growth, to stretching. Our
subconscious rules! We minimize stress and anxiety when we act within what is appropriate to our
subconscious. If we see ourselves as losers, then we are. But as Zig Ziglar says, "Failure is an event,
not a person." Remember that.

Most of us are risk averse”we are constantly searching for security, content to live within our
established comfort zones. These life experiences or behaviors have been repeated for a long time; we
take comfort in the predictability of the outcome. We respond within our established repertoire of
behaviors”our comfort zone. Stretching our comfort zone involves embracing a totally new activity,
something never before experienced: bungy jumping, skydiving or, for some of us, making cold calls! It
must be a totally new adventure, never before experienced, to qualify as a stretch. I'm not talking about
going to a new restaurant”that doesn't cut it as a stretch. As the saying goes, even a turtle has to
stretch it's neck out to get ahead.
Venture into the Discomfort Zone

Top achievers realize that growth comes only by setting goals that require them to stretch their comfort
zone. Yes, stretching adds an element of risk. It seems a lot of people don't understand that the
rewards come after the risk, not the other way around. To experience the rewards of life, we must pay
up front. Interestingly enough, we never know when we will be rewarded, but the rewards do come.
Those who don't invest up front always search for the easy way, convinced that it exists. Don't go
through life picking only the low-hanging fruit.

As children we are always exploring, taking risks and trying new adventures. Unfortunately as we age,
we become more rigid in sticking within our comfort zone. If we inadvertently venture into the discomfort
zone, or we are forced into it, we immediately attempt to recoil back into our comfort zone. We cocoon
ourselves in our comfort zone, protecting ourselves against possible failure or embarrassment.

Successful sales entrepreneurs are not necessarily more competent, but they do look for ways to grow
and stretch. They willingly expose themselves to new things by venturing into the discomfort zone. Use
your comfort zone to rest in, not to live in. Use it to consciously relax and reenergize as you visualize
performing your next challenge.

Take a piece of paper or even at the bottom of this page write down the last time you willingly
experienced a stretch. Give it some thought. Drawing a blank? Don't feel bad, most people do. Note that
I said willingly, not accidentally. On a personal note, I would like to share a story where I stretched my
comfort zone. I went skydiving. I climbed to 11,000 feet and jumped out. It was a tandem jump where
the jump master was strapped onto my back and he had the parachute. The two things I liked best
about my tandem jump were freefalling for a full 60 seconds at 125 mph”wow! and the jump master
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assuring me he was anxious for a successful jump as well. You see, sometimes life itself presents us
with challenges that take us out of our comfort zone, forcing us to experience new things. It may be a
spouse, parents, boss, or sales manager forcing us to stretch. Don't be like our caterpillar friends and
wait around to experience a forced stretch. With that thought let me ask you two provocative questions;
1. When was the last time you did a first time?
2. How old are your stories? (Ouch!)

You may not like the answers but your customers expect you to be interesting as well as interested.
Venture out and get some new material.

Tim Commandment #2
Use visualization and SMART goals to stretch yourself.
Ask: What is/was my stretch for the month?

How To Stretch: Two Methods

I offer two strategies on how to stretch your comfort zone. Some stretches are planned, others are
spontaneous (unplanned/impromptu).
1. Planned. Plan to engage in a new activity. "I will set a goal to do X by the end of the


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