Sales is a year-round activity with no off-season and no breaks, so it’s important for sellers to understand how to deal with stress, fatigue, burnout, and a lack of creativity.
Dana Cavalea is the former Director of Strength & Conditioning and Performance for the New York Yankees. Coach Dana, who helps companies optimize performance and productivity, wrote a book called Habits of a Champion: Nobody Becomes a Champion By Accident.
He became a coach after realizing the tremendous difference that coaches made in his own athletic career, and how they helped him overcome bumps in the road.
Dana, who originally hails from New York, chose to attend school in Tampa because he knew it was near where the Yankees conducted their spring training. When he got the opportunity to join the team as the guy who handed out towels and cleaned the weight room, he jumped on it.
Within a few years, he earned a paying job as the director of strength and conditioning and performance, and the team won a championship during that time.
He discovered, through that experience, that many executives, CEOs, and sales teams wanted to know how athletes prepare to compete at the highest levels. How do they deal with injuries and fatigue and the obstacles they face during a season? How do they keep showing up every day in the face of fatigue and burnout?
People assume that high-level musicians and athletes feel good every time they perform, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re tired a lot, but they don’t tell themselves that. They understand that fatigue is part of life and that you’re going to have days where you don’t feel great. The goal, Dana said, is to have fewer of those days and more of the days where you do feel great.
To do that, Dana coaches people to focus on a couple of simple things that affect performance.
These factors can inhibit the way you function overall. To address them, you must have an individual routine specific to your needs that helps you perform at your best every single day.
Some players like music that pumps them up, and other players like music that calms them down. Each person must have a routine and protocol that is based around their needs.
But how do you get there?
You get there by testing things. If you sleep for six hours but wake feeling tired, that may mean that you need more sleep, or that you need to understand your 90-minute sleep cycles better. We must perform each day and test different things like the food we eat to determine what makes us feel better.
Begin by asking yourself the question, “How do I feel?” Phrased that way, the question takes you out of yourself and gives you a moment in the midst of all that you have going on to consider how you feel. People listen to a million different podcasts and listen to two or three books at a time, and we’re so busy that we don’t take time to think about how we’re feeling.
We’re working to create a self-awareness that is super important in determining the strategies that will help you overcome your struggles.
Sometimes we underestimate the impact of stress on our bodies. Sports are very competitive, as is business. Sales is extremely competitive. You must prepare and train to compete.
The key is to keep your energy up by hydrating, sleeping, fueling, and training. Then, fill your mind with good stuff to crowd out the doubt and fear.
Sports have a defined starting and ending point, but sales continues all year, quarter after quarter. There’s no break because each year leads into another.
If we do well this year, what will the people around us expect from us moving forward? They’ll expect us to do better. So now we’re constantly trying to push our threshold. Although what we did last year was good, it’s not good enough for this year. Expectations shift.
Some people, though, get comfortable playing things safe, and doing “just enough.” They don’t want to do more than they’re already doing because they know it will simply shift the expectation higher.
People fear success almost as much as they fear failure. Sometimes, they sabotage themselves in order to avoid the pressure of accomplishment.
Leaders can help their sales teams overcome these struggles by being honest. If a salesperson has hit his numbers for the month and he has a pending deal that he could close this month but he’s holding it for the next month, his leader must remove the need for the seller to impress him.
Dana heard an interview with Mariano Rivera in which Rivera said his career changed when Yankees manager Joe Torre called him into the office and explained that Mo would always be his guy. As long as Torre was with the Yankees, he wanted Mo by his side. That freed Mo to relax and do what he was best at. He was freed from the need to prove himself.
If you can reduce the need to prove yourself because you’ve validated yourself, you’re in a great position. When a manager does that for his team, it’s like glue for the team.
Dana puts his clients on a morning walk routine that includes a 30-minute walk with no technology. It forces them to be by themselves without the defense of jumping into the phone. Without distractions, they can think about the things they actually want. They get the clarity of evaluating their current situation and their own performance. They have time to ask themselves questions about how things are going.
You may find that you have a leader or manager who isn’t leading in the way you need her to. In that case, it’s up to you to tell her what you’re struggling with, where you need help, and how she can support you. You can also ask for clarity around the work you’re doing.
When you have the conviction to seek clarity without fearing the conversation, you’ll invite more clarity.
Dana often encounters people who exude confidence. He calls it their birthright because it’s so natural to them. They know exactly what must be done in order to succeed. In most cases, though, your team will include really intelligent people who simply haven’t experienced enough success in order to feel confident. Coaches can navigate their sellers to achieve small, frequent wins that stack up and build confidence.
Sellers can acquire confidence even if they don’t naturally have it.
On the other hand, Dana sometimes encounters finance people who allow the market shifts and trends to impact how they feel about themselves. He reminds them that the market will do what it will do, so these people must avoid being reactive to the external environment.
Striking out doesn’t make you a loser, and losing doesn’t make you a loser.
Dana got this advice some time back: People can either love it or shove it. Not everyone is meant to work with you and you’re not meant to work with everyone. That’s just the way it is.
Nobody leaves the gym feeling worse than when they got there. They leave feeling glad that they went. Training is your starting point.
Not all sales are equal. Don’t compromise yourself in the process of making a sale. Some sales aren’t the right ones and they’ll be a death sentence for your company.
Sales is a hustle and a grind, so you must approach every day with a vision of what you’re trying to create. We’re quick to judge ourselves against other people.
Sales is a relationship game. If people know, like, and trust you, they’ll open up to you. If they don’t, they’ll be closed to you. Relationships take time and they aren’t one-sided.
Burnout and stress are perspective-based. Stress is the result of pressures you put on yourself, and stress over time leads to burnout.
If you try to be perfect, you’ll ultimately fail. Hit singles. Don’t try to hit home runs. If you hit a single every day, you’ll get a run on the board and another man on base.
Create a healthy process for yourself and then execute every day.
Connect with Coach Dana at danacavalea.com or access his YouTube channel for more content. Grab a copy of his book, Habits of a Champion: Nobody Becomes a Champion By Accident.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
You can also connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or try our first module of TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.
I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also share this with your friends and colleagues.
On today’s episode of Sales From The Street, Ericka Eller emphasizes the need for sales professionals to use their time intentionally and the practical ways they can do it.
Eller works as a business development strategist and a certified wellness coach, and she works with high-achieving people who want to boost their success by managing their health.
It was her own struggle with stress that led her to understand the importance of focusing on health.
She realized that it’s difficult to burn the candle at both ends and still perform at the level you’re trying to maintain. As the leader of a sales team, a coach, a mom, a wife, and an active church member, she found herself constantly thinking of work and responsibilities.
The pressure caused internal and external stress which led to lethargy and a heaviness she couldn’t escape.
Her family suffered the most because there aren’t expectations and deadlines there. Families demand no deliverables.
She became irritable and found herself missing family events. Her family didn’t recognize her, and she didn’t recognize herself.
She realized she had to step back from the pressure to allow her body to recuperate.
The answer to her problem was scheduling and planning.
She plans her food prep so she can create healthy meals for her family, and she schedules her workouts. She bought a package at a local studio and writes her workouts into her calendar.
Finally, she enlisted help from health professionals to make sure her body was functioning as it should.
Create a plan to deal with your stress. Vague plans won’t work because they don’t help you control your activities.
Instead, develop a specific plan. What does your day look like? What things must you prioritize?
Planning your day allows you to avoid the feeling of overwhelm and to find the energy to accomplish your goals. When you know that stress can affect sales, you can control your stress to increase your productivity.
Clarity returns. Ideas return. Energy returns.
Ericka recently blogged for us at The Sales Evangelist about the steps you can take to prevent stress from crippling you.
You may not realize you have some of the symptoms or their effect in your work and home life.
If you want to connect with her, find her at erickaeller.com, where she has a special opt-in available.
For those sellers who aren’t sure how to balance your sales schedule, The Sales Evangelizers group on Facebook is a great place to interact with sales professionals from many regions and many industries.
Our group online coaching program, The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, also provides an opportunity to interact with other sellers, and also provides weekly coaching sessions for sellers of all levels.
Our next group begins April 26, and we’d be honored to have you join us.
Audio provided by Free SFX.
Work-related stress is at an all-time high and progressing steadily. It has been estimated that 75-90% of patient visits to primary care practitioners are due to stress-related illness.* Stress and busy have become synonymous; while being touted as a badge of honor.
We have become a society that is always connected to technology, never taking a break for fear of missing out on something (FOMO anyone?). We have businesses to build, sales to make any connections to create. Who has time to stop and relax? The ironic part is that without the rest, our best efforts are ineffectual.
Stress causes fatigue, sleeplessness or over-sleeping, feelings of lethargy and depression, weight gain, headaches, muscle pain, digestive issues, low libido, increasing symptoms of PMS and menopause, irritability, poor skin and tissue health, hormone imbalance, chronic sickness, and the list goes on and on.
So if a person is suffering from these symptoms and has an inability to manage stress, how effective can they be in their daily work? We simply can’t do the great work we are passionate about when we feel terrible every single day. The question then becomes, how do we manage stress and prevent ourselves from burnout so that we can continue to build business and increase success?
Here are five strategies that will get you on the right track:
Most people that struggle with feelings of overwhelm and stress don’t necessarily have a plan of action on how they will tackle the day. We may stroll into the office and get sucked into the email matrix for hours on end, responding to email, sending email, reading more email, responding and sending a bit more. Instead of doing the deep work that moves the needle in their business, we become daily email managers.
When working without a plan of action, it’s easy at the end of the day to wonder what in the world we accomplished. The best sales reps have a distinct plan each day. They know who they are talking to and the purpose of the conversation. There are outcomes from each activity that lead to achieving goals. To manage your day, use these tips to create a plan that will have you working with purpose.
It’s very easy (and normal) to brain dump all of the things we need to do each day and week on a list and hope for the best when it comes to accomplishing the tasks we listed. When the list is arbitrary and without focus, it’s hard to feel productive and easy to feel pressured. In order to conquer the overwhelm, start with three tasks on the list that you feel will push your business and success forward, rather than simply “busy work”. Getting caught in the paperwork matrix distracts us from the deep work that generates revenue. While I could organize my desk over and over or arrange files and pens (ROYGBIV is how I roll), it doesn’t replace the activity of actually getting on the phone to talk to prospects or creating content for my programs. After I prioritize my to-do list, I use these prompts to move forward:
As a first-born, I have held onto my responsibilities in a very serious way. Because let’s be honest, nobody can do things the way I can do them. I take pride in my work, I am very detailed and thorough. It just never occurred to me that someone else could help ease my burden. At the same time, I have felt resentful that I am doing all of the work. While in college, being assigned to a group was a nightmare for me. I loved being in charge and I took on way too much because I couldn’t leave my grade in the hands of a stranger.
Then I would be stressed out because I had so much to do. Change the scenario to marriage & family. I relish the systems I have in place and border insanity if someone in my family veers off from the way I do things. I want my kids to put the clean sheets on their beds yet when the bed covers aren’t as taught as I like them, I have to fight the urge to re-make the bed! Friends, if you are nodding your head right now in understanding, here is some sage advice. STOP IT. Seriously, save yourself from unnecessary anguish. There are people who love you and want to see you succeed; they want to help you in any way they can. Let them help and feel the burden of your tasks lighten.
This is the part that most business people push to the back burner, especially if you are pretty healthy, to begin with. When we get busy and put our heads down in our work, the last thing we think about is how much exercise we can get in and how many whole food meals we can consume. Yet, this is the part of our life that we should take the MOST serious. I have seen way too many executives that are on the verge of burnout because health has just not been the priority. Success is on the rise, so we continue to push harder towards greater success. Or maybe the numbers are not in alignment with the goals, so we drive ourselves to do more.
We start work earlier and stop later. We start losing sleep, become dependent on caffeine and sugar to keep ourselves awake, eat food on the go and at our desk or in our cars. It doesn’t take long to feel the energy drain and the chronic fatigue to kick into high gear. What you may not be considering when you tell your health to please hold, is that your health is what drives success. If you feel terrible, you can’t possibly do quality work. You don’t think clearly, you don’t have the extra drive to give when it matters, you miss details, you aren’t prepared or organized. You allow the competitor to have an edge because you are not at your best. To prevent the burnout, health must take priority. The good news is that wellness doesn’t have to be complicated:
Rest is necessary to recover and revitalize. Planning rest time is just as important as planning your time to prospect. Make time in your calendar each week to do absolutely nothing that resembles “work”. How each of us experiences rest will differ so try out new things and see how you feel. Some people love tackling home projects while others like to be outdoors to experience nature. Try these on for size to recover during your week:
Grasping these five points will give you stronger business acumen and push burnout to the outer edges. Let’s take charge of our success by managing our stress and letting go of the standards that society says we must have in order to gain success.
About the Author: Erika Eller is a women’s wellness consultant. She leads women who struggle to find the balance between fitness, faith, family, and their career. Ericka empowers and encourages them to turn their fears into confidence while they slay that comparison monster. Learn more at www.erickaeller.com