Dealing with Disappointment:
Using Emotional Leadership to Motivate Your People
by Pat Pearson
"The primary task of Leadership is emotional. People don't leave their feelings at home when they go out the door. Leaders help their people focus their emotions in a positive direction." - Harvard Business School
The American Management Association released a statistic that stated 90% of the firings, quittings and lack of productivity in American business are created by people not getting along with other people. In other words, the feelings and emotions of your people are responsible for 90% of the problems that plague your company.
This is a relationship business; we grow, succeed, and feel valued by the relationships we develop. These relationships are subject to disappointments, hurt, rejection, and other negative feelings. Research shows that 80% of people in Direct Selling are women. Developing resilience within your sales force means each person will need to be taught the various cycles and strategies, enabling them to handle their feelings, instead of letting disappointments stop or de-focus their energy from their business.
In your Direct Selling Company everyone has the same product to sell and everyone has the same opportunities to succeed. So why do some people shoot to the top while others struggle endlessly?
The leaders in your company know that you can spend thousands of dollars training your people on product knowledge, sales techniques and recruiting skills, but if they don't feel good, they don't work. To overcome this, they need specific training in Emotional Resiliency. Emotional Resiliency is the ability to quickly bounce back once you have encountered problems in dealing with other people. To become more Emotionally Resilient, we need to understand the Cycles of Change. These cycles are predictable and repetitive. We not only experience them in our life but in our businesses as well. Your leaders and consultants need to understand these cycles and identify which one they are in.
The four Cycles of Change are as follows: 1) Go for It 2) The Doldrums 3) Cocooning 4) Getting Ready
1) Go for It: This is the high point of the cycle. It's the Honeymoon period with a new recruit. Self talk is characterized by thoughts like, "I'm doing the work I want to do. It's fabulous! I'm loving it, having fun and making money! I'm achieving my goals, feeling good about myself and the choices I make." During the "Go for It" phase, they feel confident, in control, fulfilled. Then something unexpected happens, like an illness, or a falling out with a friend, or a key person in their organization drops out. As a result, negative emotions flare up as they move into a lower cycle.
2) The Doldrums: Research shows that your new business partner will enter this cycle 6 to 8 weeks after being recruited. They will have recruited their friends and relatives and have now hit uncertainties about their ability to succeed. This phase is characterized by self doubt. They feel out of sync. They're stuck in a low point, they're pessimistic, and they can't see the way out. They may feel slightly depressed, perhaps even deeply depressed. They lack energy and direction. They can't motivate themselves to pick up the phone and make the next call because they dread the perceived outcome.
3) Cocooning: During this stage of the business cycle, they become more introspective. They go inward, asking questions, seeking answers to their roles in life, questioning their values, searching for a new identity. They start to reassess their passion and purpose with probing questions like, "What is my purpose? Do I want to continue in my business? Am I doing the work I love?" The completion of this phase leads to feelings of rebirth and self-renewal, which gradually evolves into the final stage of the cycle.
4) Getting Ready: In this phase, they are moving from inward questioning to outward action. They start experimenting by doing things they've been putting off or trying new activities. They pick up the phone and call those people who were interested six months ago. They take classes, ask questions, read books, enroll in seminars, and start dreaming again. They start to reformulate the vision they have for their business and life. The knowledge and self confidence they've gained encourages them to become even bolder. They're right back in the "Go for It" stage of the life cycle.
Everyone goes through predictable and repetitive Cycles of Change. These cycles are fueled by feelings. The more Emotionally Resilient they are the longer they can stay in the positive feelings and the quicker they can exit the negative ones. But no matter how positive they are or how adaptable, all of us will go through these cycles. To become Emotionally Resilient we need to understand three key points about dealing with our feelings.
#1 Feelings are Facts- People may not like what they are feeling (rejected when someone doesn't return a call or hurt if their best friend isn't interested in joining their business) but it is their reality. Many of us try to deny our feelings or glass them over with positive self talk. The truth is feelings are very much in control of their energy and attitude about business.
#2 There are only two ways feelings can be expressed, "out" or "in"- If they internalize their feelings it can eat at them and make them feel depressed, hopeless and frustrated. When I'm coaching people, the most frequent emotional response to building their businesses is frustration. They are mad at their down line for not producing, for over-promising results that they don't meet. Being nice people, they don't tell others that they are frustrated. Instead they walk around with knots in their neck and back pains. That's internalizing negative feelings and it becomes a joy and energy drain.
#3 The emotionally healthy way of processing feelings is to first accept what they feel. If they're mad, they're mad, if they're sad, they're sad. Next they need to express outwardly what they feel; walking around thinking about it doesn't count (that's called obsessing). Find a friend, coach, or therapist and talk about the feelings. The last step is after they have fully expressed the feeling- release it. Be done with it. This is when they can forgive themselves or the other person.
In my seminars, I emphasize this is an emotional business. People buy in the business on an emotional high, and they buy out of the business on an emotional low. What the dropouts fail to realize is that everyone in the business feels negative emotions from time to time. Successful people aren't immune to negative feelings, they've just learned to manage their feelings, rather than let their feelings manage them. When successful people hit a low, they don't drop out. They persevere in the face of adversity, recognizing that low periods don't' last forever.
The three most common negative feelings your people will experience are disappointment, anger, and depression.
1). Disappointment: The root cause of disappointment originates with unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. When they EXPECT others to always behave in a way that benefits them, then they're just setting themselves up for disappointment. Unrealistic self-talk, such as "They should return my phone calls" or "They should work as hard as I do," just invite disappointment. Disappointment is something they do to themselves. When they say things like, "I should be making more money," they're measuring themselves against an expectation. Instead, they should measure themselves by their actions, not their results. Do the right thing enough times, and the results will come.
2). Anger: Everybody in this business gets frustrated from time to time. Maybe they get tired of hearing "no." Maybe their husband isn't as supportive as they'd like. They can try to analyze or contain their anger, but that doesn't defuse it. The best way to deal with anger is to protest it (getting your anger out). Take five minutes and stomp around a bit. Pound a pillow or vent to a friend. Get the anger OUT, for anger turned inward becomes depression. One exercise I teach to help people get their anger out is to have them imaging firing all of the people who won't follow directions. Give yourself permission in your fantasy to fire the people who frustrate you buy pointing at them like Donald Trump in The Apprentice and shouting "You're fired!" This exercise will get their energy back and move them through obsessing.
3). Depression: Here's an alarming statistic: 87% of women are depressed at some time in their lives. Most depression is situational depression. An event in our lives sends them into a temporary tailspin. Depression is characterized by lack of energy, no excitement, no focus, no passion in life, chronic sadness, and sleep problems. Situational depression can be resolved by protesting it, exercising, or talking with a therapist or coach. People with long-term depression, six months or more, need to be evaluated by a physician.
All of us will experience the roller coaster of emotions in our business. The Emotionally Resilient will effectively exit this roller coaster and come out a success.
Pat Pearson, MSSW is an internationally-known author and speaker with a passion for inspiring individuals to claim their own personal excellence. Her powerful seminars are informative and entertaining, offering practical methods for helping people mobilize their resources to achieve greater success in their business and personal lives.
Pat Pearson may be contacted at http://www.patpearson.com or firstname.lastname@example.org