CHANGE YOUR CHANNEL

 “Do the thing you fear, and death of fear is certain” Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Cold calling paralyzed me with fear. Rejection scared me and the idea of the shear drudgery kept me from the phones. My brain, being wired for people pleasing and excitement was not a good match


for cold calling. However, I had a problem, I was broke and I needed to earn a living. A sales career looked like a very promising way to earn income for a recovering alcoholic / ex-bartender. Plus, many sales positions didn’t require a college education or even experience in 1985. The prospect of cold calling though, did provide me with the realization that I didn’t need experience to be hired, however, I needed experience if I was to eat. And there was only one way to get experience, start where I stand. “Do the thing I feared, and death of fear is certain.” Put another way, I needed to rewire my brain.  I discovered that it was not cold calling that I feared, or disliked, but rejection. Our brains come wired needing acceptance. Acceptance is good for survival.  I was raised in a large family where one needed to fight for acceptance, and where love was not an over abundant resource. I wired my brain to people please and looked for ways not to be rejected. Cold calling wasn’t what I disliked, what came with cold calling is what I feared. What is it that you dislike, and what comes with your fear. 

Just as you can change the channels on your television set, you can change the channels in your brain. Ok, maybe not as quickly, but you can change beliefs. I went from believing that I couldn’t go a day without alcohol, to wondering what’s the big deal about booze. I went from being afraid to call someone I didn’t know, to building a business where I am meeting new people everyday, mostly over the phone. So how did I change? In his book “The Believing Brain” Michael Shermer tells us that “Genes are selected for and against in changing environments, but this takes time—generations of time. Brains learn, and they can learn almost instantaneously—time is not an issue.” Great! We can learn regardless of our age, and if we coat our neurons with something called myelin, then the learning can stick. Myelin is a fatty white substance that will surround nerve cells and act as an insulating layer, which increases the speed of the cell. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD explains  in her book “The Science of Positivity” that “Any pathway that’s triggered repeatedly gets myelinated.”  Myelinations happen effortlessly in young children, we adults must invest effort to master a skill, but, we can build new habits.  A myelinated channel is a habit that feels good. A smoke with a drink, a donut with a cup of coffee, insert your bad habit here. Change comes from doing uncomfortable things until they feel comfortable. 

The difficulty with change is that our life isn’t so bad, we aren’t that over weight, we are earning a comfortable living, and we have enough distractions in our day. Chances are we won’t put in the effort needed to change. Remember, our brain only moves if it is motivated. Motivation is understood when we loose a job, we need to find work. Motivation is understood when we can't walk up a staircase with out loosing our breath, we need to get healthy. But, if you are comfortable, that is a challenge for change. comfort makes it hard to change your channel. Not impossible, but difficult. Where will you find the motivation? Read on...

 Somewhere in my life I learned that I didn’t like cold calling. Just as somewhere in my life, I learned that I didn’t like Brussels sprouts. I learned both of those things, yet today I can say that somewhere in my life I learned to love cold calling and Brussels sprouts. I admit I haven’t learned to like avocados, but I am trying. 

The good news is, we can change. But part of the issue is understanding what we must change. Sometimes we just need to change the action of reaching for cake. Sometimes we need to change the feelings that give us the reasons we reach for cake. Change occurs if we are clear about what we are trying to change. I needed to stop drinking. My first step was to replace my drinking activities with new activities. My second step was to change the beliefs that made me want to take the drink in the first place. I was very unproductive when I first began cold calling. I believed that people were rejecting me. My triggers went crazy when I started. However, when I learned that people weren’t rejecting me, just what I was selling, I became more effective. I changed my belief about it, I changed my channels. 

And what grooved my channels was a powerful action: Repetition. Repeat anything long enough and you will get good at it. I asked a person that worked for the sanitation department how he put up with the smell, he said that he had been doing it for so long that he didn’t even notice the smell. And our grooves are the same wether they are good habits or bad habits. We may call them addictions, but we got there through repetition. Just as we get in shape through repetition. A child may learn easier than we adults, but all things are mastered through repetition, piano scales, addition and subtraction, spelling. You name it, you repeat it long enough and you will find success. And I do think that is why we are admonished, “be careful what you wish for”. 

 

Bottom line? You can change your channels. You can reduce the influence that current channels provide you, and you can create new channels that will help you feel better about yourself, and give you a more fulfilling life. You change these channels through repetition. Successes do the things that unsuccessful people don’t to do, and they do them over and over again. Changing your channels takes time, about 6 or 7 weeks of solid repetition. I always like the idea of doing something for 90 days. I believe that any one can do any thing for 13 weeks. Go and try, what have you got to loose but a bad habit or feeling replaced with a good habit and feeling. And remember, TommyFierst.com is here to help you get inspired and stay inspired. And our app GOAL SFS is there to help you change. Let me know how you do.