There is a paradox that exists when we start trying to prioritize better Mental Health in our lives.

What we “Need” is not always what we “Want.”

This statement becomes especially true for those of us working within a stressful sales environment and an increasingly digital world filled with choices. In these environments, our needs often become misaligned with our wants, making it hard to consistently prioritize our Mental Health.

Let me explain.

Choices Impacting Our Mental Health in Sales

You wake up Monday morning after experiencing a terrible sleep and say to yourself:

“I need to go to sleep early tonight” and your desire to want to sleep in that moment is high.

Both Need and Want are aligned. You have just woken up with limited distractions, making your decision to fulfill your need later that day crystal clear.

The choice is easy.

But then the avalanche of choices, pressure and distraction begins.

“I need to take a break, but I want to respond to that email.”

“I need to prioritize Mental Health with my team, but I want them to make more calls.”

“I need to keep calling, but I want to go on social media.”

“I need to go for lunch, but I want to prepare for my meeting.”

“I need to leave work and spend time with my family, but I want to keep working.”

“I need to make a healthy dinner, but I want to order takeout.”

“I need to go to sleep early, but I want to keep watching Netflix.”

The paradox exists because prioritizing what we Need is hard.

Sales Burnout is Making us Emotional

In the examples above we choose to do what’s easy in the moment, instead of what we need. Our logical decision to prioritize our need for better self-care is lost behind a sea of emotional choices.

In fact, one happiness study done on teenagers found TV made them happy 13% of the time, hobbies made them happy 34% of the time and playing sports made them happy 44% of the time.

But teenagers spent 4X as many hours watching television. They chose what was easy and what they wanted instead of what they needed to be happy.

Ensuring our needs are met requires us to think logically and use our prefrontal cortex.

This part of our brain gets tired and worn out throughout the day – especially when we’re burnt out in sales. The decline in logical thinking happens even quicker when we’re under high levels of stress and emotional strain, that is common while working in sales.

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We become increasingly emotional and more likely to choose what we want in that moment – that which is easy – over what we need to feel better.

The emotional part of our brain is called the limbic system. It is roughly 5X stronger than the prefrontal cortex and uses the energy from powerful emotions to help us get what we want.

Fear of losing our job motivates us to keep working longer than we should.

Loneliness motivates us to spend more time on social media than we should.

Extreme hunger motivates us to indulge in high calorie meals more than we should.

Sadness from losing a deal motivates us to avoid the phone longer than we should.

If we’re not mindful of our decisions/choices becoming increasingly more emotional throughout the day, it can become nearly impossible to achieve what we need.

In our example – caring for our Mental Health to ensure we can perform at our highest level in sales.

Choosing Better Mental Health in Sales

How do we break this paradox?

We can break this paradox by ensuring our Needs and Wants are aligned and visible to us throughout the day. On a piece of paper complete this exercise and write out:

“I NEED TO prioritize self-care today, because I WANT TO feel less anxious, stressed, tired, burnout etc (whatever emotion you no longer wish to feel)”

Stick this paper somewhere visible so you will see it multiple times throughout the day. 

Read it out loud when you see it.

By writing this statement out on a piece of paper you connect the logical need of self-care with the emotional want and desire you have to no longer feel a certain way.

You are choosing better Mental Health.

You are aligning the two parts of your brain that are responsible for making decisions and choices. In doing so, you help ensure your self-care needs are met and make yourself less susceptible to conflicting emotional choices that arise throughout the day that impact your Mental Health.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get at recognizing the differences between when you’re thinking logically and when you’re thinking emotionally. Overtime this will become a habit and give you more control within your environment to choose what you need to be happy.

Next Steps

For more ways to improve your Mental Health in sales and learn to use stress to your advantage. Checkout the online course below.

Online Course: Improve Sales Performance Through Better Mental Health

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 (Sales Knowledge Institute) and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through a mix of sales mentorship and mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams improve their sales process, while helping them become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.

He is currently delivering these strategies through on-site workshops, coaching and speaking engagements. To explore working with Jeff contact him at [email protected]


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