The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective



I chatted with a colleague over coffee recently.  We were discussing her experience and the parallels between acting and selling.  As an actor and a sales professional, she coaches sales professionals on presentation and demonstration skills (check her stellar work out

During our conversation something Julie said turned this light bulb on:

Sales success (similar to acting success) requires one to become comfortable with our discomfort.

Oh, and now I’m thinking discomfort is not limited to selling or acting, agreed?  I remember when my wife and I brought our first son home from the hospital after he was born.  He was lying in his crib in his bedroom, sleeping.  I turned to my wife and asked, “Now what?”  Parenthood – a lifelong endeavor of becoming comfortable with our discomfort, true?

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going. 

Unknown Sage

The more I thought about our conversation the more examples came to mind about professional discomfort.  I think about athletes calming their nerves in the waning moments of tight competition; the fame and fortune that goes to the few who made the “big play” during those “big moments” in that “big game”.

Then my mind flashes to the first time my granddaughter got behind the wheel of a car to start learning how to drive.  Everyone was seeking comfort with that particular discomfort; her, me; every other driver on the road!  And that discomfort is not limited to young people:

When I die, I want to die like my Grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep.  Not screaming like all the passengers in his car. 

Unknown Sage

My younger son was a rough rider in high school rodeo for a few years.  I can’t imagine how he overcame the discomfort of lowering his body in the bucking chute onto the back of a soon-to-be bucking bronco; settling in; strapping in; seeking comfort knowing what the ensuing discomfort will entail.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

Cowboy secrets to life’s success:

Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.

Never corner anything meaner than you.

I’m thankful Julie agreed to meet for coffee which stimulated this thinking about discomfort.  She clarified another aspect of my job I hadn’t thought of before.  You see, when I lead sales training sessions I like to take my class participants out of their comfort zone.  Truth be told, I do that because I remember to this day when I was the class participant and totally uncomfortable.

My very first sales trainer, Frank Justo in 1979, scared the bejesus out of me!  The role plays he took the class through were brutal.  Today, as I work with my class participants I smile; remember Frank; and think, payback time!

Thankfully, I came across this thought leadership suggesting one aspect of my approach actually has value:

Training Techniques – Giving Assignments

Hint: People retain and accomplish more when dealing with tasks they are not allowed to complete as opposed to those they are allowed to complete.  We are conditioned to complete things.  It creates discomfort when we can’t, but that discomfort also has a memory value. 

Geri McArdle

Julie summarized that reading for parts and rehearsing for demos whether young actors or old sales reps; are uncomfortable.  Immersing oneself into the role is one technique that helps actors and reps alike, become comfortable with our discomfort.

And hers were very comforting words.


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