Hi. I'm Chris.

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The Positive Side of a Short Memory

The Positive Side of a Short Memory

Recently I had a chat with a guy who runs a hockey school, and the conversation focused on goaltending. I asked him, “What quality is most important to a young goaltender’s success in the game?” He replied quickly: “Very short memories.” After that answer, he must have thought I’d gone into a trance, because he had to snap me back into the conversation. My mind had immediately recognized how his answer was so applicable to business and in particular sales and entrepreneurship.

A couple weeks ago I wrote an article that suggested that the worst habit in sales is the habit of avoidance. Avoidance is a symptom of the self-talk that says, “I cannot bounce back” or “I am not good at meeting new people” or “I am not good at sales,”  and the more we avoid those things we believe we are not good at, the more we affirm our negative self-image. There is a self-reinforcing snowball effect.

When a goaltender misses the puck on the high glove side or misdirects the puck to the front of the net and the error results in a goal, he or she has to forget it and gear up to perform on the very next play. Those who do this win. Those who do not do this lose. The achievers are resilient.

We all have experienced moments of pushing through a challenge and winning. We convince ourselves for that moment we are capable. We have also had moments of acting in desperation and winning. There are even times when the act of pushing and the act of desperation can lead to losing. Resiliency is the necessary characteristic to keep us winning over the long term.

Resiliency is the necessary characteristic to keep us winning over the long term. - Chris Spurvey

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In many cases, a sales slump is a symptom of a decline in resiliency. As the slump develops, the entrepreneur or sales professional often begins procrastinating, avoiding the necessary calls and not following up with confidence and conviction. The quality of his or her sales activity is reduced. Logically, to break out of a sales slump one should increase sales activity, make those calls, and follow up with confidence and conviction. The quality of sales activity must increase, not decrease. But doing so requires resiliency.

Why is it that a young goaltender can quickly bounce back from allowing a goal but we mature adults cannot bounce back from losing a sale or experiencing a career setback? The answer is unique for each of us, but it all goes back to the fact that, with maturity, we have lost our resiliency.

We need to build resiliency back into our self-image. This process starts with the decision to return to our resilient roots. Take the necessary time to recall and relive times in your past—even your childhood—when you were resilient. Take the necessary time to play out in your mind future sales interactions in which you will demonstrate resilience and confidence.

Success happens in the theatre of the mind before it happens in our work. Stay committed to the process of relearning the habit of resilience.

Question: Are you resilient?


My first book, It's Time to Sell, is set to be released in early September. I am excited to share this one-year project with the world (although I must admit it is also a bit terrifying). I welcome you to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter to be among the early readers. Thanks.

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