Sales and Sales Management Blog

September 24, 2013

Lola’s Lesson in Overcoming Mental Roadblocks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 11:32 am
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Like a great many people, Lola cannot do some of the things she’d like to do, and that puts great limits on her life. Sometimes she can’t go into the hall.  Sometimes she can’t go through the door to the backyard.  Sometimes she can’t lie on the couch.  Sometimes she can’t eat certain foods.

There are just so many things she can’t do.

Not because she is incapable of doing them, but because she has made up rules that tell her that she can’t do this or go there or eat that.

I’ve spent years counseling sellers and sales leaders about how they put roadblocks in front of themselves that prevent them from achieving their goals.  Many of these men and women learn to see and overcome these self imposed obstacles while others don’t—usually because they don’t believe they have consciously or unconsciously prevented themselves from achieving a goal or doing a task.  Often they belive that something external must be hindering them since no rational being would prevent themselves from doing something they clearly want to do.

For several years I’ve looked for clear examples of how self-limiting beliefs work.  I’ve certainly seen situations where once someone has recognized a self-limiting belief they have eliminated it, but even in these situations the example isn’t crystal clear—there is some other possible explanation.

And then along came Lola.  She is the finest example of self-limiting beliefs I’ve ever seen—primarily because she has so many so often that they scream for attention.

Lola is a big, beautiful, healthy Golden Retriever.  A really sweet and extremely polite dog.  She won’t enter a room unless invited; she won’t eat her dinner until everyone is seated at the dinner table even though her bowl is in the den (within sight of the dinner table); and she loves for me to get in the floor and wrestle with her and she never fails to try to nurse my bleeding wounds after our wrestling match (she like to play rough).

But she also is constantly limiting what she can do by creating her own set of rules.  Oddly enough her rules never allow her to do things–they always restrict her from doing things.

One day she will decide she isn’t allowed to go into the foyer and from then on she will refuse to go in—you can’t even drag her in.

The next week it might be that she decides she is no longer allowed to have chicken jerky treats which she loves, so while the other dogs are eating theirs, her’s sits on the floor at her feet until one of the other dogs comes and takes it.

Another day she will decide that she isn’t allowed to go down the steps from the top to the bottom level in the backyard, so she’ll avoid the steps and jump up and down from the brick retaining wall.

At one time she couldn’t get into her bed—she decided she couldn’t step up the 10 inches or so to get into it.  She could jump into the car with no problem, she could jump up and down the retaining wall in the back yard without a problem, she could jump any place she wanted, but she couldn’t get up 10 inches to get in bed.

She is, of course, capable of doing all of these things but she has convinced herself that she either can’t or isn’t allowed to do them.

The power of her belief is so strong it overcomes her desire to eat her chicken treat or go into the foyer to greet someone who has come through the front door or do whatever she has determined is no longer allowed or she is no longer capable of doing.

In all of these instances she is easily capable of overcoming her limiting belief, and fortunately in most instances she does—sometimes it only takes a few days, other times it may take weeks or even months.

You may be thinking that this nutty dog seriously needs to see a dog shrink.  Maybe she does—but she is no different than us humans, especially most sellers and sales leaders.

We do exactly the same thing Lola does, the only difference is we typically are a bit more sophisticated in the roadblocks we put in our path.

And we overcome our self inflicted roadblocks in the same way Lola does—through learning that the roadblock really doesn’t exist.

I don’t know what Lola’s internal discussion with herself is like but I know that Debbie and I have to do a lot of coaxing and giving her a lot of reassurance in order to get her to enter a room she has determined is off limits or to eat a treat she has decided she is no longer allowed to eat.

The good news is we don’t have to have someone coax us and shower us with reassurance to overcome our roadblocks because we can do it ourselves through positive internal discussion.  And just as eventually our coaxing and reassurance works with Lola, our internal coaxing and reassurance will work with us to overcome our limiting beliefs.

If you are one of the sellers or sales leaders who disregard the power you have to both create and eliminate roadblocks, I’d encourage you to take a lesson from Lola—those self-created mental roadblocks are real.  And just as real is your ability to eliminate them—it’s all in your head, all you gotta do is use it.

Please connect with me:

On Twitter:  @paul_mccord


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