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Coach Paradise: Fighting Your Way Out of a Slump

Dear Coach Paradise,
I have been reading your columns and figured maybe you could help. I am a sales executive in an upscale resort. This is a very lucrative position and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in such a lovely place and be rewarded so well.
I usually do pretty well, however there are times when I get into a slump and cant get out. Sometimes this seems to be a seasonal thing (i.e., when people are less likely to come on vacation and the buyers are few and far between).
Sometimes it just seems to be a state of mind that I cant shake and no matter how many people come through I strike out. What can I do to avoid getting into this state and if I am in it, like I am now, what can I do to get out?
Slumped over in paradise
Dear Slumped Over,
You are describing a state of mind that you allow to take over in reaction to an external event in this case, not closing the deal. Having been in similar states myself I know that there is a chain reaction set into motion, which outstrips the actual event and can turn into anxiety, panic, frustration and depression if left unattended. This, in turn, results in digging an even bigger hole in which to slump. The event may trigger old feelings left over from childhood. I love how you realize that this is avoidable and that taking preemptive action could be the detour you are looking for.
What you focus on gets bigger in your life. You get what you think about. If you keep focusing on what makes you feel good and pointing your inner magnet toward what you want (a sale) even if the last one got away you are way ahead of the game and up the chances of closing the next one. It is OK to be disappointed, just dont dwell on it if you want to think about the sales interaction, focus on what was positive whether you made a sale or not how you managed to remain gracious in the face of resistance, how surprising people are, how beautiful the day was, how much you learn all the time etc. Be an observer here. Dont assume that because something didnt go the way you wanted or because you made an error you are therefore a Loser. Dont just drop your bag of tools (the affirmations, the morning routine, the self pep talks, the friends who fluff your feathers, the tried and true things you do that work most of the time) When you notice your thoughts are going in the beat me up direction remind yourself that being a hard, putative parent didnt feel good then and certainly doesnt now AND it doesnt produce the kind of results you are clearly after. It also leads to playing a victim role, which is always about abdicating power, and placing blame.
Develop a really low tolerance for feeling bad and for negative thinking. As soon as you notice this take some kind of action. Move to another room, exercise, meditate, play music, go for a swim – anything that will distract you in a positive way and allow you to shift your attention to where you want to be going and where you feel good. If you are really down aim for feeling a little better and a little better rather than aiming for bliss all at once. Getting a coach to work with on a regular basis could be a step in the right direction. There are lots of tools for you to use and exercises to practice that will result in a shift of perspective that changes the world so that slumps are mere dips and the trip is downstream all the way.
To your outrageous success,
Coach Paradise
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (AKA Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker-psychotherapist and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges.
For further information about her services, call 774-4355 or email her.

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