Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

You’re probably sitting there thinking, “Why would I want to be my own worst enemy?” And the answer, of course, is that you certainly don’t want to be. But it happens, and it could happen to you.

I’ve seen salespeople with the potential to be top performers fall short because they either didn’t know what it took to be a top performer, or they knew and were just too lazy to do what was required.

Getting Out of The Pack

If you take a group of ten salespeople, you’re likely to find two really top performers, a pack of five to six who are OK, and two to three who should probably be doing something else for a living.

A lot of people are quite comfortable being a member of the “pack.” There’s a certain comfort in not standing out. There are fewer expectations made of you and you’re generally on safe ground when times are tough and the layoffs occur. Sometimes people just get so deep into their personal comfort zone that changing is simply too much of an effort. As I’ve often said, the problem with the world is apathy, but then again, who cares!

Not everyone is content to stay in the pack. Some are there due to circumstances beyond their control, while others are just getting their act together and are getting ready to break out.

It’s this last group of people that this article is intended for those who don’t want to be the pack any longer and who aspire to move out and up in the sales food chain.

The Three “D’s”

Getting out of the pack is both simple and hard. The simple part is realizing that there are only three things you need to have to break free of the pack and they are the three D’s the Desire, the Drive, and the Discipline to do what is required to get out. The hard part is finding sufficient quantities of those three elements.

The “desire” part is the easiest of the three. Drumming up the desire is no more difficult that drumming up the desire to win a lottery. Who among us hasn’t purchased a lottery ticket and then spent quality time daydreaming about what we would do with the winnings? It’s fun to think of whom we would share some of the winnings with (and whom we wouldn’t!), what we would buy, and what we would do after we got our hands on the money.

So, what would you do if you became even more successful in sales? How would your income improve? What would you do with the extra money? How would the extra income impact your family? Would you make more trips, take better vacations, buy a new home or perhaps the car of your dreams or a boat, what? What happens to your desire when you let your mind and imagination go there? It probably goes up, as it should.

The drive and discipline are the more challenging parts of the success equation. Just like you can’t win a lottery without disciplining yourself to buy a ticket each week, you can’t become a sales superstar without disciplining yourself to do what it takes to get there.

So, what does it take to be a superstar in your particular field? Know your numbers. What sales target do you need to set for yourself? How many sales do you have to close in order to exceed that target? How many sales opportunities are you going to have to start in order to close enough to make your target? How many calls will you have to make? Find out what the activity levels are for your specific business. You get the idea.

If you’re not sure where to begin, talk with some of the top performers in your company. What are their activity levels? Notice I didn’t say what are their performance levels; I said activity levels. Superior performance is the result of doing the right things (activities).

Sales superstars have the discipline to do what non-performers won’t do, work their numbers.

Last on our list is finding the drive to do all this. To a great extent, drive is a function of attitude. If you develop a can-do, will-do attitude, the basics of drive are there. Feed your drive with a bit of desire from time to time and you’ll stay in high gear. Remind yourself from time to time how your life, and your family’s life will improve when you reach your goal. It works.


You’ve probably heard about setting SMART goals where SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Make sure your goal is well defined and specific.
  • Measurable: Put a number on the goal.
  • Attainable: Make the goal realistic.
  • Relevant: Is the goal relevant to where you want to go or be?
  • Time-Based: Have a timeline for achieving the goal.

I’ve seen a lot of people set SMART goals that were never reached. Heck, I’ve got a pile of them myself. I’ve set tons of “goals” for myself over the years but now I realize that I was just setting “dreams” not goals. I learned years ago that setting SMART goals wasn’t enough. There is a secret ingredient that was missing from my goals.

The Secret Ingredient

The secret ingredient is so simple yet so elusive to all but those who possess the three D’s. And what is this elusive secret ingredient you ask? It is…

an unreserved, personal commitment to make it happen.

This secret ingredient is there for anyone who wants it but only the people with the three D’s – the desire, the drive, and the discipline will be able to action it.

Will one of those people will you be? Will you rise above the pack and join the ranks of the very successful? Will you stop being your own worst enemy?

I truly hope so.