Recently I was on a coaching call with a client who was filling me on the past week’s prospect activity (this is how we start each call, so we can then strategize on how to move each deal forward).
In the middle of that update, she said something that jolted me back to my early days as an entrepreneur, reminding me of something that held me back for years. And while I’ve learned to overcome it, I know it still affects so many business owners.
I’ll share it with you so you can overcome it too. But first, my client’s story...----
She told me about a prospect who came to her through a referral, had the exact problem that my client solved, and was highly motivated to get started. (Three of the best qualifiers you can get!).
Me: “So what happened?”
Client: “Well when I sent him the proposal, and he wrote back and said it’s too expensive.”
Me: “So what did you do? Did you ask him what number he had in mind?”
Client: “Well, no.”
Me: “Why not?”
Client: “Won’t that make me look desperate?”
Whoosh. Flashback to 2011. [Insert movie magic: lights, tunnel vision, the whole thing.]----
When I started my business, I quickly learned that I didn’t know anything about selling to new clients, even though I had been in marketing my whole life.
And in the absence of both the skills and confidence to go out and sell, a funny thing happened as I tried to build my business. As much as I was determined to move forward, I kept holding back:
I’d send an email that didn’t get a response, and then feel weird about sending a follow up. I didn’t want to be annoying.
I’d send an agreement that needed to be signed before we started work, and I’d feel weird about reminding my prospect to sign it. I didn’t want to be pushy.
And, like my client, I’d get a negative response, and wouldn’t follow up to learn more. I didn’t want to look desperate.
Each of these has one element in common.
These aren’t professional responses, they’re emotional responses. And they don’t come from our years of experience in our field, our tremendous competence, or our desire to grow our business.
They come from our most insecure selves. What I call my Middle School Self.
For you, it might be your High School Self. Or your Freshman Year Self. It’s the time in your life when you’re the most insecure. For me, it was middle school.
When you were in that time of your life, you didn’t own your confidence (hell, you might not have had any). You worried about what people thought (and you assumed it was negative).
Rationally, now that you’re older, and now that you’re business owner, you need to adopt a new mindset. But guess what. Your Middle School Self remembers. And she’s always there to bring you back to that time.
The trick is to turn off your Middle School Self.
But how do you do that? There’s no course, and no magic wand that says “Poof! You’re now free of every limiting belief you’ve been taught in your life.”
It takes identifying it, watching it, and practicing turning it off. Here’s how I’ve done it, and how I help my clients do it.
The key to turning off your Middle School Self is what I call The Rational Reset
It’s based on the equation Emotion = Data + Judgement. Here’s what that means...
In any situation tinged with emotion, there are two elements: the data, which is the actual information, and the judgement, which we layered on top of it.
If we look at the example above:
"I’d send an agreement that needed to be signed before we started work, and I’d feel weird about reminding my prospect to sign it. I didn’t want to be pushy."
Data: Client has not signed the agreement
Judgement: Asking for something repeatedly means I’m being pushy.
Emotion: I’m afraid of being seen as pushy
Using the Emotion = Data + Judgement equation helps isolate what is true, vs. the emotion we bring to it. The only thing that’s true here is the data: the client has not signed the agreement. After you've isolated the data, you can reset your mind around it.
And with your business hat on, what do you do when the client hasn’t signed the agreement? You ask her to sign it so she can begin the project. No big deal.
What is your version of your Middle School Self? How did you feel then?
Think back to a time you recently held back from doing something, because of a negative emotion. What was the data? What was the judgement?
In that instance, if you had acted only in response to the data, what would you have done? Would it be different than what you actually did?
How do YOU overcome your Middle School Self?
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