the cones, and got bored very quickly. They turned in their rings and left. A second group went to the other end of the room and tried their luck. They couldn’t get a single ring over the cones and became frustrated. They left feel- ing low. A third group of students assumed a distance of about 10-12 feet. They had a few hits and a few misses. With a bit of practice they increased the distance to 15, then 20 feet. They enjoyed the challenge and the growth experience related to it. While the researchers discovered achievement motiva-

tion, the students discovered that achievement motivation comes from setting challenging yet realistic goals.

IDEAS “We can’t graduate in self-motivation. It’s like eating or

bathing – it’s an ongoing process,” Zig Ziglar used to say. Ideas ignite and inspire action. Inspect new ideas. De- velop new ideas every day. Read positive books and listen to positive speakers. Keep a diary of motivating ideas in your car. If you write down only one motivating idea per day, you’ll have your own 365-page motivation book a year from now.

REWARDS Don’t rely on others to reward you for your actions.

Choose your own rewards. You can determine your financial income as well as your psychological income. Reward yourself with pride for a job well done. Say, “I’m proud of you.” Share your happiness with others. Write, “I’m happy” on a card, sign it and mail it, or keep it to look at next week. Treat yourself to an hour of “me time” without interrup-

tions to celebrate your victory over fear, your unexpected sale, or your handling of a tough complaint. Expect high expectations of yourself.

PARTICIPATION Participate in a cause that’s larger than you and you’ll find

two success forces: meaning and motivation. Like Olympic champions who enjoy the satisfaction of being part of the world’s best group of athletes and feel inspired by com- peting with the elite, you can benefit from the powers of meaning/motivation by participating in something larger than yourself. Look around yourself today. What are you participating in? What are you a part of? What part do you play? Re- member: You’re not isolated; you’re part of a great time in history. So benefit from the greatest advances in medical science and new technology humans have ever seen. You, as a sales professional, can contribute by participating with your life energy to the further progress of mankind. Partici- pate and you’ll be motivated to do your share.

PROGRESS The main reason people don’t feel motivated is this: They

don’t bother keeping track of their own progress. While they’re advancing, they may feel they’re going nowhere. Make it a daily habit to write down what you’ve done. It


will bring you closer to your goals. Measure the distance you’ve covered today, this week, this month. As you review your progress reports you become aware of how well your action plans are working for you. Your progress reports will become your own success laboratory and you’ll be motivated to repeat your own best perfor- mance more often. Sometimes I hear people say, “Positive thinking doesn’t work.” Many sales executives I’ve talked to have led me to the conclusion that it is not their knowledge of positive thinking that they have problems with, but their lack of knowledge and awareness of their own negative thoughts and how to manage them. Even the world-famous positive thinker, Dr. Norman Vin- cent Peale, admitted there hadn’t been a single day in his life where he hadn’t experienced negative thoughts. Every- one does. He compared the process of developing nega- tive thoughts to birds flying over our heads. He explained, “We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can prevent them from building a nest in our hair.” Dr. Peale suggested that we all have the power to make a conscious choice about the kinds of thoughts we want to keep and allow to expand in our minds. To prove that point to yourself, try this exercise. Take a piece of paper (or sit at your computer) and list two problems you have experienced today – perhaps one of your customers can- celled an order. Next write the thoughts that automatically entered your mind as you were experiencing these problems. You might write: “This just isn’t my day!” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” or similar negative expressions. Thought management involves awareness and choice. The fact that you produced these thoughts automatically doesn’t mean you’ve got to accept them uncondition- ally. You don’t have to let them take root and grow like a strangling vine. You have a choice. You can let negative thoughts work against you or, like an inkblotter, you can absorb them and transform them into positive thoughts. By writing down thoughts that have been triggered by unexpected problems, you’ll increase your awareness of your current thought management habits. Also, the action of writing increases your ability to become the sovereign judge of any thought that enters your mind. Positive thinking can’t protect us from experiencing

problems, but we can learn to see them as opportunities. What you will be one year from now depends on how

well you balance two areas of growth – professional and personal. Most salespeople devote an enormous amount of time developing themselves professionally by updating their knowledge and skills, and maintaining a burning de- sire to do well in their career. This is important. To use this professional growth, however, you must grow as a person. Goals, motivation, and positive thinking will focus your professional skills so you get the maximum success out of your energies. Remember: Your future isn’t one-dimensional; it holds no certainties. Your future holds nothing but potential. Don’t waste yours. 

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