Working in sales is demanding, filled with pressure and hyper-competitive. When we’re pacing behind our peers on the sales dashboard, this environment can feel even harsher.
It’s during times like these, when rejection stings a little more and losing that deal hits a little harder.
As a result, even the most tenured sellers and sales leaders can struggle with feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy and anxiety. Thoughts and emotions that chip away at our self-worth and self-esteem.
The good news is, there are strategies you can learn to protect your identity and maintain belief in oneself. The bad news is, many of these strategies are convoluted or put in the wrong context for them to be useful to someone working in sales.
So let’s clear this up shall we with a Self-Worth And Self-Esteem Guide For Sales?
To start, we need to understand and define three basic concepts:
What Is Self-Evaluation
Self-evaluation is the process of examining our own thoughts, emotions, actions and performance in order to gain a better understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and how we “fit in”.
As you can imagine, this self-evaluation process is always happening as our brain is constantly updating “how we’re doing” as it receives new internal and external information.
What Is Self-Worth
Self-worth is largely responsible for providing the internal information in this self-evaluation process.
This means, regardless of what’s happening in our external sales environment, we have strongly held core beliefs about how worthy and valuable we are.
Think of it as a more “global” or “general” belief in ourselves:
- Do we feel like we matter?
- Do we feel like we’re worthy of respect and love from others?
- Are we making a difference in the world?
Since these beliefs and opinions of self-worth are largely internal, they’re often consistent and resilient to external factors.
What Is Self-Esteem
Self-esteem on the other hand is largely responsible for providing the external information in the self-evaluation process.
Our self-esteem is dependent on external factors like whether or not our leader recognizes our effort, if a prospect responds to our email and if we make progress towards a goal.
Where self-worth consists of stable core beliefs we have about ourselves at a 30,000 ft view; self-esteem is more involved with our day-to-day thoughts, emotions and confidence, which makes it less consistent and more fragile.
For example, it’s unlikely you’ll experience a dramatic shift in self-worth after losing a deal, but losing a deal can certainly make you feel less confident in your ability (low self-esteem).
That being said, chronically low self-esteem for several difficult weeks in sales can often impact our self-worth over time.
Why Is High Self-Worth & Self-Esteem Important
As you can imagine, self-worth and self-esteem can have a direct impact on our sales performance each day.
Studies have shown that having high self-esteem and self-worth is associated with better mental performance. They enhance our motivation, increase our confidence and help us persist in the face of adversity.
Low self-worth and self-esteem on the other hand can create anxiety, self-doubt, lower energy and a tendency to avoid difficult tasks. Emotional states and behaviors that will have a negative impact on our sales performance.
This means everyone in sales can benefit from developing healthy levels of self-worth and self-esteem.
How To Improve Self-Worth And Self-Esteem In Sales
So how do we do this?
Step one is to identify what you’re struggling with: low self-worth, low self-esteem or both.
Choosing Therapy has written an excellent article to help you distinguish between the two, but to simplify things, remember:
Internal (Self-Worth) VS External (Self-Esteem).
I typically use these two questions when I’m self-evaluating:
- Are you experiencing a general sense of feeling worthless, undeserving, meaningless and/or like you don’t matter?
- Or are you experiencing difficult emotions because of a circumstance or event that happened recently? For example, no one responded to your email outreach or you fell to the bottom of the sales leaderboard recently.
Though self-worth and self-esteem are very similar, understanding the nuances between the two can help you choose the right toolkit below.
Self-Worth Toolkit For Sellers
1 – Cultivate Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is the practice of treating ourselves with the same kindness, understanding, and support we would offer to a friend in a similar situation.
It involves challenging our inner critic with new vocabulary that helps us reconnect with core beliefs that are rooted in self-love. In doing so, we can remind ourselves of our worth and be okay with being imperfect.
2 – Focus On the People You’re Serving and Helping
By focusing on the people you’re serving and helping, you shift your attention from your own self-worth to the positive impact you have on others. This can help build a sense of purpose and meaning, which contributes to a healthier self-worth.
All humans want to feel like they “matter” and feel like they are making a meaningful difference in the world.
Exercise: At the end of each week, reflect on the value you brought to clients, colleagues and people in your life. What problems and challenges were they facing and how did you help?
Reviewing uplifting emails, texts and DMs you received throughout the week can also help. Save them in a “Good Vibes” folder for later so you can easily remind yourself that your worth is not solely based on your sales performance.
3 – Spend Time Journaling or Speaking To Someone About Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are negative core beliefs we have about ourselves that hold us back from reaching our full potential. Identifying and challenging these beliefs on a regular basis can help change our self-worth narrative.
Exercise: It has been proven that journaling with a pen and paper is one of the best ways to communicate with our inner selves. This is a skill that is rarely taught, so I’ve create a full How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs guide here .
That being said, uprooting limiting beliefs is not easy to do on your own, especially if introspection is new to you. I would highly recommend scheduling time with a coach or therapist who can work with you to identify and release limiting beliefs.
4 – Focus on Areas That Bring You Meaning and Joy Outside of Work
Nurturing your interests and passions outside of work can help you build a more balanced sense of self-worth. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and meaning can remind you that your value extends beyond your sales performance.
Exercise: Make a list of hobbies, interests, or activities that bring you joy and meaning. Schedule time each week to engage in these activities and commit to prioritizing them in your life.
Remember it’s difficult to stress and “play” at the same time, which means finding time to play is your off switch.
Self-Esteem Toolkit For Sellers
1 – Set Input Focused Goals
Achieving external goals plays a huge role in influencing our level of self-esteem. Unfortunately, most of the goals we evaluate ourselves on in sales are outside our control. Instead of outcome focused sales goals, focus on input focused goals that are entirely in your hands to control.
Exercise: Create a list of input focused goals that you can evaluate yourself against each day.
For example: prospect 15 new leads; draft a new email sequence; ask these five questions on my demo today; go to the gym at 8am; meditate for 10 minutes before bed. Achieving these goals are firmly in your hands to control, so anchor your attention there.
Good news is, consistent execution of input focused goals will generate the sales outcomes you desire.
2 – Use Your Strengths
Using your strengths means recognizing and utilizing your unique abilities and talents in sales on a consistent basis. This can boost your self-esteem by helping you feel more confident and competent in your ability to sell.
Exercise: Make a list of your strengths and think about how you can apply them to your daily sales tasks and goals. Get creative with this and build a Signature Move In Sales you can come back to when you need a win.
3 – Keep Progress Visible
It’s easy to lose sight of progress in the high-pressure world of sales. Keeping progress visible involves tracking and celebrating your achievements, both big and small. This can help reinforce your self-esteem by reminding you of your successes.
Exercise: Nothing feels better than crossing something off your daily To-Do list because it indicates progress has been made. Maximize the effectiveness of your To-Do by using input focused goals and tasks from Step 1.
Then, at the end of each day, add a 5 minute reminder to your calendar to answer these two questions:
- What did you make progress on today?
- If you accomplish nothing else tomorrow, what are the three most important task you can accomplish that would make tomorrow meaningful?
4 – Remove External Sources of Triggers (Social Media, Sales Leaderboard, etc.)
External triggers are sources of comparison and competition that can negatively impact our self-esteem. Removing or reducing exposure to these triggers can help maintain higher levels of self-esteem.
We all need a break from the digital chaos of the online world and that’s okay – you’re only human.
Exercise: Going cold turkey and deleting work apps from your phone is helpful, but challenging. Instead try making more intentional decisions with how you engage with these external sources.
BlockSite will allow you to block sales dashboard URLs, while allowing you to still use the CRM. OneSec will force you to take a long breath and pause before letting you engage with LinkedIn or TikTok.
Winning The Mental Game In Sales
There you have it. A complete guide to protecting and creating healthy levels of self-esteem and self-worth in sales.
If you found this article helpful, consider exploring our programs below. Sales Health Alliance is dedicated to helping sales team thrive under pressure and win the mental game in sales.
About The Author
Jeff Riseley is currently the Founder of the Sales Health Alliance and Mental Health Advocate. With over a decade of sales experience – Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.
Jeff combines his sales and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.