This Is Why You’re Exhausted

From my “Stranger Than Fiction” file:

“Get out!”

“What are you saying?” the salesperson retorted, not moving a muscle.

“I don’t know how I can say this any more clearly,” growled the small business owner. “Get. Out. Of. My. Office. Now!

This sales call was not going well.

Standing now, the emergency medical supplies salesperson reached into his coat. “Let me give you my card.”

The business owner stared in disbelief.

Pulling a piece of tape from a nearby tabletop dispenser, the salesman slapped the card on the underside of the owner’s desk and affixed it, credentials side out. “When you’re lying on the floor, your chest in crushing pain from a massive coronary, and you don’t have one of my company’s defibrillators hanging on the wall to save your life, the last thing I want you to see is … my name.”

With that, the salesman turned and walked out of the office amidst a flurry of profanity that would make a Hell’s Angel blush.

True story.

Was this an awful salesperson? No. He actually was the top seller at his firm. He was, however, awful at that moment.

Everybody has a capacity at which performance falters. Oh, you can find other ways to sell more, but that’s not what I mean. I mean that humans, just like high-performing engines, have limits. Call it physical or mental “redlining.”

Hopefully, neither you nor a member of your sales team has been involved in a contentious experience like the one with the medical supply salesperson above. But things like that do happen.

How Do You Know You’ve Hit Redline?

Everyone has different methods of tolerating stress related to the endeavor of selling. But when that stress keeps you from productivity, it can be catastrophic to your career, and perhaps even your life.

Having the ability and maturity to know when you’re at capacity contributes significantly to your personal and professional success.

The following are warning signs that stress is taking over – and probably winning:

  1. You act with increased aggression or hostility, especially to those closest to you.
  2. You find it increasingly difficult to make business and personal decisions.
  3. You find it challenging to concentrate on what you are doing at any given moment.
  4. You find yourself spending, or wanting to spend, more time alone than usual.
  5. You become more forgetful about everything from household tasks to work responsibilities.
  6. You are anxious about the state of your commission check or your career.
  7. You lie awake at night fearing what might happen, not what actually did happen.
  8. Your mood pendulum swings back and forth between optimism and doom-and-gloom.
  9. Others describe you as difficult to work with.
  10. You use substances (alcohol, drugs, or food) to deal with stress.

If you recognize any of these signs in yourself (or a colleague), relax the throttle, make a pit stop and refuel.

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