A long time ago, I heard a sales trainer say, “Common people don’t make their mark on the world, uncommon people do. To be uncommon is to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
That runs through my head all the time.
As a C, there are a lot of aspects of being both a salesperson and an entrepreneur that aren’t exactly comfortable for me.
If you’ve seen me network, you probably think I love it. And I do, but I didn’t always. I had to turn it into a system and task so that my task-oriented brain could find the joy in the process side of it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that I’m able to access my inner I when it comes to networking.
Being an entrepreneur usually means managing at least a few people. While I have no problem with that, there’s still a task vs people barrier that makes certain aspects of it difficult for me. When it comes to management or my business, it’s hard for me to be anything other than a high C.
And then there’s sales. C’s are widely regarded as being the worst personality type for sales. We’re not super social, we struggle to stay invested in the small talk, rapport building part of sales, and we like data and proof and a process. We like to know what the results are going to be when we do something. And when the results are based on other people’s decisions, that’s hard to plan for.
Luckily for me, I’ve built processes for all of this. And I’ve worked on my mindset so that I can let go of the result-oriented side of my personality and better manage the other aspects of working with people that I would otherwise struggle with.
But it took a long time to get there, a long time filled with discomfort.
The truth is, change is uncomfortable. It’s not easy. You have to change things about the very nature of who you are. Everything from dieting, stopping a bad habit or addiction, or starting a new, healthy habit; all of these take mindfulness, intention, and dedication.
And the beginning of it will be uncomfortable.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
There are a lot of things you can do to make change easier.
The first one is setting the goals for change. All goals, no matter how big or small, should follow the SMART format. SMART goals have been around for almost 30 years now, and while the acronym has changed a bit from its origins, it still can’t be beaten.
You probably know what it stands for, but just in case: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
If you’re super motivated, you can take it one step further and make it smartER: Evaluated and Reviewed.
But the last two are more for after you’ve achieved your goal.
Setting a goal around these parameters does two very important things for you.
- It helps you decide how realistic and possible the goal is.
- It helps you create a process for reaching it.
Of course, if the change you’re working on is more specific to your mindset or mental wellness, setting goals like this might not be as easy. But you can at least start there. You might be surprised!
Another system for change is to think of it as a trial period. This one can be really good for mindset shifts because it doesn’t seem as daunting if you don’t feel like it’s forever.
Let’s say you’re trying to be a more positive person. You can set a goal to smile at every coworker you make eye contact with and take a breath before responding to everybody that asks an annoying question or frustrates you for one week. It’s just smiling and breathing, and it’s only for one week.
When the week is over, look at how that affected you, how easy (or not) it was, and how other people responded to you. If the results outweigh the difficulty, stretch it to a month. The longer your “trial period” lasts, the easier it is for it to become a permanent change. And then, over time, you’ll either naturally make changes or set new goals that lead to being a more positive person.
Micro-goals are another aspect of change, and it’s usually a part of both of those already mentioned. But being intentional about micro-goals is really important when the change is big.
If you need to lose 100 pounds, that’s probably going to take a lot of change in many areas of your life. That kind of change is beyond uncomfortable, it’s daunting.
But if you set micro-goals, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Goals such as drinking two fewer sodas a week or getting fast food one less time a week, parking further away from the building, or drinking 32 ounces of water a day are relatively easy and achievable. Once one goal feels easy, add another one.
Before long, you’re only eating fast food once a month, you’re adding 5,000 steps to your daily step total, and you’re drinking 80 ounces of water a day. When you’re feeling better about yourself and your ability to change, that’s when you add more difficult goals like tracking all of your calories or going to the gym.
The point is, start small and grow.
Something that can help with all of these is to make your goals easier in any way you can. If you have a goal to walk every morning, make it easier by setting your walking shoes by the door and filling up your water bottle the night before. If you’re trying to be more positive, set yourself up for success by getting a good night’s sleep and eating breakfast before you go to work. It’s hard for anybody to be positive when they’re tired and hungry. And if your goal is to go to bed earlier, set alarms or reminders for when you need to put down your phone for the night, when you need to make a cup of herbal tea, and when you need to get ready for bed.
Anything you can do to shortcut the difficulty of change, do it.
Finally, there’s journaling. I know, I’m always talking about journaling, but I honestly think that change (and life in general TBH) is so much harder without it.
One journaling practice that works really well for me when I’m thinking about making a change is what I call the 5 Whys. Well, usually it’s 5, sometimes it’s 7. Occasionally it’s more
The important thing is to ask yourself why you want to change and keep digging until you find out the REAL reason.
“I want to find a new job.”
Why? “Because I’m unhappy.”
Why? “Because the work is boring.”
Why? “Because I do the same thing every day.”
Why? “Because it’s not challenging enough.”
Why? “Because it’s the same work I’ve been doing for years, in this job and others.”
Ah, see! You don’t just want a new job, you want a different job.
Without digging into the root of the problem, you might have just taken the same role at a different company. Fairly quickly, you’ll find you’re unhappy in that job and want to find a new one. And then the cycle continues. But when you dig deeper, you may discover that you need to make a bigger change in your life, one that might involve taking classes or courses, uncovering hidden or unused talents, or taking a big risk.
The more you can find out why the change is important to you, the better prepared you’ll be for what change you actually want or need and the easier it will be to start.
As humans, we like stability. Most of us would rather everything stay the same. But if we want to improve and be better in our lives, change is usually going to be part of that. While it’s uncomfortable at first, the payoff can be enormous.