Thinking Out of the Box for the New Year

Problem: Another new year. Will it be more of the same for you? We recently met with a group of salespeople that we have trained for several years. We discussed their results for last year and what their revenue expectations for the New Year were. They explained that management was looking for a 15% sales increase, but that, considering the economy, just breaking even would be a real win. Barriers to success were discussed and, unfortunately, became the main focus of the conversation.

Analysis: We see this all the time. Most people seem to be stuck in neutral, seeing the world with blinders on, expecting a rerun of the past year and hoping for no more than a modest increase. This sales team was focused on how difficult it would be to make their goals, and with this attitude they will probably be doomed to failure. We are a product of our expectations. If we think we can’t, we probably won’t. You’ve heard about self-fulfilling prophecies before. Most people are entirely too conservative in their expectations; fear of failure, perhaps even apathy, is the root of the problem.

Prescription: Think big for a change! Think out of the box!

The really positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangibles, and achieves the impossible. It’s called a quantum leap. Give the following some thought…

  • You don’t have to be content with improving things gradually or incrementally.
  • Historical behaviors can become obstacles to future success.
  • More effort isn’t the answer; more vision is.
  • Don’t limit your desires to things that you think you can have; start thinking about things that you want. Give yourself permission to dream.
  • Suspend disbelief. If you must doubt something, doubt your limits.
  • Doubts are the product of habitual thinking, not accurate thinking.
  • Focus on the ends, not the means. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, only where you want to go.
  • The answers will come to you. You must be willing to tolerate ambiguity and confusion for a while. Have faith.
  • A quantum leap means going into uncharted waters with no guide to follow. You’ll draw the map as you go.
  • There are invisible resources out there that will help you. Paint a vivid picture in your mind so these forces know where you want to go.
  • What’s your risk? Only that you won’t get what you really want out of life. Playing it safe and living with the status quo is probably the surest way of losing.
  • It’s not taking a big chance, it’s giving yourself a big chance.
  • Positive action is more powerful than positive thoughts. Place your trust in the action.
  • Seek failure. It’s a resource, it helps you find the edge of your capabilities.
  • There’s no gain with out pain. Progress often masquerades as trouble. The road will be bumpy.
  • Be aware of your comfort zones. If you’re comfortable, you’re not stretching yourself.
  • Ready, fire, aim! Don’t get bogged down in the preparation. It’s just a stalling tactic.
  • Just do it!

We challenged this group to reflect on several things as they began the New Year, and we’d like you to think out of the box and ask yourself the following four questions…

1. What were some of the things I did last year that were non-productive; things that, given another chance, I wouldn’t do?
2. What will I commit to doing differently this year? (Think out of the box!)
3. Aside from the ____% sales increase that my company has given me, what is my own personal sales goal? (Think out of the box!)
4. If I could achieve MY sales goal, what would be the reward for me?

Now just go and DO IT!

Thanks to Price Pritchett, PhD, of Pritchett & Associates for many of the above insights.