Sales is stressful. Amidst the countless deadlines, call quotas, deals and demos (not to mention the periodic waves of deafening voices throughout the day,) a literal wall of sound of sales people are calling, pitching, pivoting and closing.
Taking all of that into account, with the addition of the lives we lead and attempt to balance outside those glass doors, you have yourself a pretty stress-filled 40 hour work week.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s Facts & Statistics page, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting approximately 40 million adults over the age of 18, or roughly 18% of the overall U.S. population. These anxiety disorders range from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic and Social Anxiety Disorders, and carry with them a slew of other potential mental health illnesses ranging from phobias, OCD (hi! That’s me!) to PTSD. All related to or attributed to brain chemistry, genetics and life events as causes. With this in mind, according to a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, roughly 13.8 million Americans worked in sales related occupations.
As someone who has been diagnosed with Severe Anxiety and Severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for just over seven years, I can definitely say that being in a high-volume, deadline-oriented environment has its moments of triggering, where various ticks and behaviors begin to seep out to try and cope with and control any given situation. Maybe I just had a bad call and totally faceplanted a potential appointment, maybe I just called someone for the fifth time and they weren’t having such a phenomenal day and figured the stranger on the other side of the phone would be the perfect outlet and sounding board to release that negative energy. Little things like this can very easily take a good day and transform into a rabbit hole of self-deprecation, anxiousness, and non-productivity and as a result, poor call totals and number across the board.
So, how might one overcome these bumps in the road to transform a trigger into no more than a blip on the radar screen? Here are some helpful tips from the ADAA:
Managing Your Stress
- take a time out
- eat well-balanced meals
- get enough sleep
- limit alcohol and caffeine
- exercise daily
- take deep breaths, count to 10, meditate
- accept that you cannot control everything
- maintain a positive attitude and welcome humor
- get involved
- talk to someone
- learn what triggers your anxiety
With call totals throughout the day, time outs and deep breaths are easily manageable. When dealing with anxiety in sales, my mentor recommends time to find space through my day to just get up! Take a lap. Take the elevator down a floor and change scenery for a few minutes, and then come back to my calls and work with fresh energy. Carve out some time for yourself and break up the monotony when you feel yourself getting kinda stuck, or not making any contact. And especially do it after rougher calls. Sitting in negative energy will only hinder your performance, give yourself the opportunity to clear the air and your mind.
Being in such a prime location in the city, it can be easy to take advantage of the plethora of food options and coffee shops in the surrounding area. And who doesn’t love free office coffee? Something that can very easily and subtly work towards a healthier mind, is what you put into it. Caffeine and fatty foods, specifically foods with more sugar, tend to aid in more anxious thinking. Additionally, we work in an office setting, and go long spells with sitting and staring at computer screens throughout the day. Getting up, walking a little bit, or even utilizing other seating options or even utilizing a standing desk can help keep you active without doing much.
To touch on just a few final points, don’t be afraid to communicate what bothers you, accept that you cannot control everything, and work as hard as you can to keep a positive attitude. As someone who considers themselves an eternal optimist, I vent my fair share of druthers. It’s easy to put on a happy face and go about your business. Vulnerability is something that not a lot of people feel comfortable with. But being open and honest about your feelings, and talking with a mentor, a friend in the office, or even your neighbor one station over can go a long way to a calmer, happier work life.
Talk about how rough the last call was! Talk about how it made you feel and how you overcame the negativity coming through. Allow that energy out of you rather than keeping it in, because the next person you call doesn’t deserve the previous person’s issues.
In closing, I can honestly say I have never worked for a company that has worked so hard to maintain the mental health of its employees. Utilizing mentorships, Mindfulness Mondays, Words of Wisdom Wednesdays and Fun Fact Fridays, in addition to providing exercise options and healthy snacks, Acquirent has impressed me in its endeavors to keep as light and positive environment as possible for those that work here. Take advantage of the opportunities provided, and hopefully, a few of these recommendations and ruminations peaked some curiosity and offered some healthy alternatives for those who deal with Anxiety both inside and outside the glass doors.