If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been happening in the United States lately, you’ll know that earthquakes have happened and Hurricane Irene is gaining momentum.

First off, I don’t want to minimize the impact that earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters have on lives.  I’ve personally lived through earthquakes, hurricanes and even a volcano eruption. And I live in the Midwest, so I’m well aware of tornadoes.

These experiences demonstrate vividly how quickly something can drastically change and alter everything else that was planned.

My purpose of talking about this today is to show parallels between what happens in natural disasters and what sometimes happens in the business world. Obviously, in both scenarios, something significant can happen and quickly alter everything else planned for that day, that week, or even longer.

Depending on the circumstances, we allow our sales motivation to either spiral up or plummet down.

I think we used to be more accustomed to adapting when a significant change was on the horizon.  Let me give you an example. Before the advent of smart phones and laptops, when people went on vacation, they truly were on vacation… they left work behind.  The vacation was on the horizon and what would happen is people would rev up their productivity before they left.

Obviously, a vacation is something within your control.

In the sales world, there are many things that happen that are beyond our control.  Industries, companies and departments experience their own “hurricanes” and “earthquakes” that quickly can derail plans.

My question to you is, “Are you the type of salesperson who is paralyzed by disruption in your business world?”

In other words, is your sales motivation at the mercy of circumstances?  Or do you operate with a focused “revved up” approach regardless of the circumstances?  Do you focus on what’s within your control or do you get sidetracked by what’s beyond your control?

With all the news on Hurricane Irene, I heard an expert say that the people who tend to weather these experiences best are those who are pro-active.  They don’t wait for the last minute to prepare necessities, etc.  They anticipate, pay close attention and discern what information is most important for them to know.  The people who tend to struggle the most are the ones who stay “stuck” — they don’t take the warnings seriously or they become paralyzed and aren’t able to focus upon what most needs their focus.

In your sales career, when drastic changes happen, you can either choose to step up the level of work, knowing you are going to lose time later on.  Or, you can choose to stew about the situation you can’t control and lose even more time worrying about it.

The highly motivated person naturally picks up the tempo and gets stuff done. (Think of my example earlier about the person who is about to go on vacation, and thus stays driven to get done what needs to get done).    The person with low motivation throws in the towel and starts worrying about what they can’t control.

My recommendation for anyone in sales to prevent this from occurring is to never start a week without having your goals listed and the steps listed that you need to take to accomplish your goals.  If you build the habit of starting the week this way — and staying focused on the skills needed to keep your motivation up — then you’ll be more equipped to handle the “unexpected” stuff that is bound to crop up occasionally.

You’ll be better prepared to navigate what is beyond your control.

With regard to the impending hurricane, my hope is that people in its path are committed to staying safe and being pro-active to not only protect themselves, but to help others who may need assistance.

As for my experience with a volcano… well, my wife and I were married downstream from Mt. St. Helens in 1980 — six days after its first eruption and one day prior to its second eruption.  That event, as well as various events since then, have yet to derail our union!

Be proactive in building the sales motivation habits that will sustain you no matter what unexpected event happens.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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