Written By: Roger Daugherty

One of the questions that I would always ask in my small business classes when we got to the session dealing with sales was this:  When I say to you the word “Salesperson” what emotions or thoughts come to your mind?  Almost ninety percent of the time I would get comments such as: “Pushy,” “Aggressive,” “They don’t listen,” or other similar comments. Who are some of these people that you say this about?  “Insurance people,” or “Car salespeople.” I then would say to the class, “Well, let me ask you this, if you are in business or wanting to start a business, who is the person that is going to be the salesperson for your business?”  The overall response would be both silence, laughter, and “Oh my.”

This leads into the topic of why do people not want to be a salesperson?  Well, there are two areas that people don’t realize about themselves that may be part of the reason.  One is the term F.O.P., Fear of people.  The second one is F.O.F., Fear of failure.  These two add up to make “selling” an undesirable and insurmountable challenge for many.

Everyone procrastinates sometimes. Often it’s the simple, tedious tasks like organizing and filing, or cleaning out your email inbox, that get put off. Other times, however, procrastination will strike at the most inopportune times, when an important project looms and your career hangs in the balance. You find yourself paralyzed, unable to move beyond just thinking about this seemingly insurmountable task.

Today’s business owner is often inundated with distractions, draining their energy and seriously hindering their ability to focus. But before you get too hard on yourself, consider this: new research shows that cutting yourself a little slack can actually make it less likely you will procrastinate in the future on similar tasks. The way it works is this: if you guiltily obsess over a task you failed to complete, negative feelings will become associated with that task, making future similar tasks even more difficult to complete. A little self-forgiveness, however, allows you to let go of those negative associations, thus making it easier to face similar tasks in the future.

But is curing procrastination as easy as self-forgiveness? Hardly! More than 15% of working adults consider themselves procrastinators, and a little touchy-feely self-talk doesn’t necessarily tell you the best way to tackle those onerous tasks.

Studies show that something as simple as the way you think about a project can affect how quickly you are likely to get it done. Instead of thinking abstractly about how good you will feel when the project is done, think in concrete terms, like what steps to break the project into, or whether you need to delegate certain parts of the project.

Another method takes the concept of abstract vs. concrete thinking and expands upon it. This view reaffirms the usefulness of taking a concrete approach to problem solving, by breaking a large project into smaller sections and moving through each in a methodical manner. But this second approach says that abstract thinking can also serve a useful purpose at certain points of major projects.

Procrastination is something that strikes everyone, and, while it can be frustrating, it is something that can be handled.

About the Author:

Roger Daugherty – Mentor, SCORE North Central Ohio 
Roger has been a SCORE mentor for 25 years, helping numerous small businesses start and grow. His background includes manufacturing, sales, education. He is an active participant in local Chambers of Commerce, business workshops and networking groups.
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