Why do we sell ourselves short in life?

Whenever I bump into – let’s call him Bob, a close acquaintance for years – we talk about his work. And when I ask him if he will move elsewhere, he always quips back with the response: “Who will employ me?”

Aside from his managerial experience, ability to handle employees, training skills, solid purchasing technique, computing capability and much more, I doubt that he is correct. On the other hand, I am not his mentor. And I can but hope that he will realise his strengths another way.

Yet Bob’s self put-me-downs are so evident in many of us. Take three case studies of people I have been dealing with over the past year. (Again, made-up names)

Tony has a great idea for a wellness enterprise. We have worked out a strategy. And he now accepts that it is time to market the concept. “Oh, I can’t do that”, he responds automatically. And it turns out that over a decade back, he had an unsucessful summer job selling appliances on the back of two hours of training.

And from that brief experience, he deduced and sunk into his defence mechanism that he cannot sell. Wrong, matey.

Frank is setting himself up in the service sector. He was faced with a similar dilemma to Tony – how to sell himself, even though he possesses a clear and attrractive market position. When I asked him what he could do to promote his company, I was told that this line of thinking was not his forte.

I bluntly told Frank what he could do with such comments, challenging him if he had been actively involved in sales. You guessed it – another negative answer.

“So, if you have never formulated a  sales campaign, how do you know that you are no good at it?” An embarrassed silence was followed by my client, spurting forth ideas for the next 30 minutes! the damn had been breached.

David disappointed himself, just as the others did. We agreed that it would be necessary for him to speak in front of small groups of potential clients.

  • Can you do that?
  • No.
  • Why not?
  • Don’t know.
  • When was the last time you spoke?
  • Not for years
  • So, who told you cannot speak in public?
  • Back to the world of silence

Each person is an individual, with their own background. Sometimes, because a task appears daunting, we give up too easily. We convince ourselves that we cannot. Sometimes, we have been poorly conditioned by well-meaning parents or teachers.

Whatever, this is all a convenient excuse to pass off responsibility for our actions (or non-actions). So many of us are just missing out on opportunities……. because of ourselves.

Often, the solution is allowing yourself to listen to wake up call from somebody you trust.

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