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My friend Don Campbell says that most businesses have their own "sales prevention departments", being the systems and practices that make it difficult for customers to do business with them. The sales prevention department can be at work in many situations. Being grumpy turns off potential friends. Not taking credit cards turns off customers who don't carry wads of cash in their back pockets. A bad resume gets few interviews.

This may sound negative but the implications are positive. If so many people and companies have an active sales prevention department, how about firing yours? Write down your goal and all the barriers to getting there. For example, why may a customer be apprehensive to buy from you? List at least five ways to deal with the concern. In my coaching, for example, I saw that people were nervous to hire a coach. They knew they needed help but were nervous to spend money on something that may or may not help. I started to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and that eased the anxiety. Also, many clients used to book a first appointment and didn't show up. I asked why and they said they got nervous. Now I give a detailed letter to new clients which explains what to expect. I get no cancellations. How can YOU fire your sales prevention department?

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Last week, I listened to the radio as the announcer shared the news of Charles Schultz's death. This was the creator of the ever-so-famous Peanuts cartoon strip which had run in over 2000 newspapers for over 50 (can you imagine?) years.

The announcer said something very neat: "Mr. Schultz had decided that he didn't need to use his cartoon to make fun of political figures." Then there was a 30-second excerpt recorded from an interview of Mr. Schultz. He said: "I always thought that there are so many things that are so much more important to talk about than finding a way to humiliate the latest political leader. Things that affect all of us, like love and loneliness."

This really touched me. Often, we see the media as impersonal and hungry for awful news. Yet, if the world had asked for Snoopy and Charlie Brown for over 50 years, love, connection and friends must still be important priorities! Way to go!

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday about trying to be perfect. He insisted that being perfect is a condition to being accepted by others. Apparently he listened well to his teachers and his family. I also have heard the echoes of the "Oh, you got 97% on your exam? What happened to the other 3%?" We are told to strive for the top and nothing less than that is good enough. How sad. Especially since only a few can ever get to the "top", wherever the top is.

I won't argue with the want to do a great, if not superb job. I think that it is good to strive for excellence. However, linking perfection with acceptance is a sure way to drive ourselves and others crazy. There are perfect, unaccepted, people. There are tons of imperfect, yet widely admired, people. Being human comes with making mistakes now and then. Especially at the start of a new project. Forget perfect. Be the best YOU can be and you'll be happy. Chances are you'll even be liked MORE!

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If I couldn't correct my eyesight with contact lenses or glasses, I would have qualified as "legally blind". That is the strength of my prescription. Well, it was, anyway. In the last year and a half, my sight has improved by 30%, going from a prescription of -9 to -6. How did I do it? To be totally honest, I don't know, I don't feel I had done much consciously. What I have done, though, is totally in line with the idea that our bodies go along with how we feel.

A couple of years ago, I saw an ad for an optometrist who had written a book, "Seeing Without Glasses". I went to see him for a consultation. Dr. Robert-Michael Kaplan's premise was quite simple. He said that most babies are born with 20/20 eyesight. He talked about emotional reasons for having bad eyesight. For example, he said that often people start needing glasses about a year or so after a traumatic event in their life. That certainly was true for me. Dr. Kaplan says it is as if the mind didn't want to "see" the event.

I only saw Dr. Kaplan once and I skimmed his book fairly quickly. He has an extensive vision-fitness exercise program for improving vision and I know of a few people who have improved their vision through this program dramatically. Well, it seemed like too much work at the time so I put it away. I was too busy with working on a career change, a new business and a new life. In any case, I saw that "bad" vision could be improved. Over a year later, I started to get headaches that wouldn't go away. It felt like my prescription was too strong. I put on a somewhat weaker prescription and was floored - I saw better and the headaches were gone. This process has now been repeated six times. It is as if the positive changes in my life and career have allowed me to "see".

I have read that people with multiple personalities often have different prescriptions and illnesses or allergies in their respective personalities. If this is the case, body symptoms must be less "real" than we think and our mind state affects our body in a big way. A superb reason to focus positively!

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In our society, we praise the healthy and strong. We look down, laugh at, or feel sorry for the ill and the weak. We idolize strong companies, strong financial lives, strong relationships, strong bodies, strong everything. Anything "weak" scares the living daylights out of us. A crisis in anything is to be swept underneath the carpet and ignored. And yet, the weakness and pain wouldn't be around if there was no need for it.

Imagine a strong, powerful football player on the field. He runs after a ball, he slips, he twists his knee. He's needed in the game so he gets pumped full of painkillers and goes back in the game. He is praised for his strength and in the meantime, his knee is likely getting hurt even more and will take far longer to repair because of the damage made as the player's pain was numbed.

I see the same thing with my clients, individual and corporate. A person feels some sadness, they take Prozac and mask the symptoms. Should be all happy but not quite, just fairly numb and not quite alive. A company may be experiencing in-fighting or doesn't get paid for its services. It fires the people involved and sues for payment but doesn't stop to solve the underlying problem. I have seen incredible results with people stopping to notice the pain and ask "why is it here and what is it saying?". Next time you or your business feel pain, don't just numb it, look for the source. Once you solve the issue, the pain won't return either!

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"We are the product of all our previous choices. That can be good news or bad news. If we like where we are at, we just need to continue in the same direction. That's the good news. If we don't like where we are at, if we continue in the same direction, we will get the same bad results. That's the bad news. However, if we don't like the results, we can change direction. With a changed direction, the results also change. That's the REALLY good news."


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"Impossible? When you find yourself or others saying that, look around you. If even just one person accomplished what you want to do, it must be possible. If nobody has accomplished it yet - well, you can be the first."

Pavla Michaela Polcarova, Power Thoughts Journal






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