A friend asked how I remain consistently confident when others are indifferent to my message. People in sales often ask the same question. They are befuddled by people they encounter, who can benefit from their offerings, but don’t seem interested.
The key to remaining confident in these situations is recognizing that:
- None of us consistently does what’s in our best interests.
- Logical acceptance is easy to gain, emotional acceptance drives change.
- No interest = no action.
- The market for your message, product or service is much smaller than you realize.
- Success lies in alignment.
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Own best interest
I find it intriguing that we are astounded by others’ inability to see that something is in their best interest when we fail to do things that we know are in ours.
Who among us doesn’t know that we should eat healthier foods and exercise more, yet fail to do so? Who hasn’t sabotaged their savings plan upon seeing something that we “just have to have?” Or trapped ourselves into employments that stress us and make life miserable for ourselves and our families?
Yet we’re amazed when others do precisely the same thing.
This understanding is liberating. By respecting others' right to choose…and understanding that I don’t always make good choices myself, I am able to remain confident in my ability to provide assistance when it’s wanted. Which brings us to the second bullet point.
Logical vs. Emotional Acceptance
Over the years I’ve discovered that it’s easy to get logical acceptance for my ideas. That’s true whether I’m pitching a product or service, or trying to convince a loved one to make a good choice.
It’s difficult for people to argue against logic so they agree with us. But they won’t act upon our suggestion until they accept our message on an emotional level. Here’s a quick example.
In one of my confidence courses I teach people the value of an eclectic education and offer a simple, 15-minute daily exercise that makes it easy for people to develop the habit of learning about things that don’t initially interest them.
Logically they understand the value of getting an eclectic education, so they agree with me. Yet the idea of spending time doing something that doesn’t interest them repels them to the point that they rarely engage in the daily exercise.
In situations like this, what the person’s behavior is saying is that they’re not in enough pain to want to change. In other words, there’s no emotional reason for changing.
When people logically accept my advice but fail to act on it, I realize that they’re not ready emotionally to make a change. Knowing that enables me to remain confident while, again, accepting their right to choose not only whether or not to act, but when the time is right for them to take action.
No interest, no action
The eclectic education example above reminds us that where there is no interest, there is no action. I can’t begin to count the times people have told me that they needed to write a book to enhance their credibility in the market place, yet fail to start much less finish writing their book.
I’ve never been comfortable swimming, yet I learned to scuba dive because it was something my wife wanted to do and I wanted to share the experience with her. I’m also afraid of heights, yet have done nothing to overcome that fear. Why? Because I’m not interested in any activity (sky diving, bungee jumping or rock climbing) that require me to overcome my fear of heights.
I understand that simply because others have no interest in my ideas or offerings, doesn’t in any way diminish their effectiveness for those that do. This understanding enables me to remain consistently confident even when others aren’t interested.
It doesn’t matter what idea, product or service you’re pitching, the market is much smaller than we’d like to admit.
If you wonder why, employ this simple exercise. Think of all the people you could help with what you have to offer. Then subtract from that total, people who don’t want to do what’s in their best interest, who are not emotionally motivated to change, who aren’t interested in what you offer and you’re beginning to get an idea of how small your market really is.
As you come to realize that the market is really small, you get a better sense for who is and who isn’t interested in what you offer. This realization comes in the form of a psychographic profile of your ideal customer…people whose values, behaviors and characteristics mirror yours. That brings us to the next element, alignment.
At the end of the day the only people you can help are those who share the values, behaviors and characteristics you possess…and are interested in making a change. These are the conditions in which you and they are going to be successful. If any of the elements are missing, the odds of being successful drop dramatically. Here’s an example to illustrate this point.
I have a leadership program that is designed for leaders who like to engage their employees in identifying new opportunities, streamlining processes and solving problems. These people and I are well aligned in our values, beliefs and the way we lead. When we work together great things happen.
Let’s contrast that with leaders who are autocrats or paternalists. I can’t help these managers because I don’t believe in their approaches to leadership. I’m an engagement style manager. That doesn’t make me right and them wrong, it simply means I can’t help them become better at their natural style.
I can’t help an autocrat become a more effective autocrat because I believe that dictating what employees should do and how they should do it is counterproductive. Similarly, I can’t help a paternalist be a better paternalist when I believe their tolerance of mediocre results deprives their employees of the joy that comes from achieving stretch goals.
Hence our greatest potential success lies in the small group of people who are aligned with our values, beliefs and characteristics.
What does this mean for you? It means that others’ choices are not reflections on your skill or ability. Instead they are indications of the person’s readiness to make a change.
Armed with this knowledge you can, as I do, remain confident in your abilities while respecting others’ right to choose. It’s that simple.
The next time that you get logical acceptance for your idea, but aren’t able to elicit the action needed for the person to benefit from you idea, product or service, recognize that they’re not ready to make a change…and respect their right to make that choice.
For our kids
Let the kids in your life see you being unfazed by others’ choices…confident despite the fact that the other person isn’t taking your advice…and they’ll quickly adopt that mindset as well.
When you find them being “down” because they can’t get others to do what they want, remind them of the elements outlined above. Help them see that it isn’t their failure. Instead it’s simply the other person’s readiness for change…and their right to make that choice.
These simple shifts in mindset will assure that you and they remain consistently confident.