Let me introduce you to England in January. Cold, bitter wind. Dark freezing mornings. 6am and even the walk from the bedroom to the bathroom turns your kneecaps blue.
Now I am the sort of person that enjoys my showers scalding. I mean so hot it takes a layer of skin off. The concept of standing under an icy jet of water (in Winter) was unfathomable.
But, on January 1st, I decided to take part in the Cold Shower Challenge.
As the name suggests, you switch your lovely, warm, soapy waterfall of pleasantness for a bleak, icy, swear-word induced, horror story from hell.
The advice I had found on the internet to prepare myself was anything but helpful.
“Yeah man, like, after your morning jog on the beach, finish your yoga session, then jump in a cold shower. Totally refreshing, man…”
Brad from California had obviously never experienced the minus degree howling winds of Weston-Super-Mare in winter.
It was go hard or go home.
The first day….
The first day was the hardest.
I stood, in the bathroom, looking at the water slicing down, watching my soul dissapear down the drainpipe.
I stood there looking for a long time. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to step under that water.
I knew I could walk away from it, go back under the covers and pretend that I did it.
But what would that prove? That I was too "comfortable" to do something different? That I was too scared to try something new?
Cursing my stubbornness for stupidity, I took a deep breath, shut my eyes and stepped under.
I screamed. It was so cold it felt like it was scalding me.
Needles pierced my skin and my breath was knocked out of me.
I lasted about 16 seconds and washed a total of one leg.
Was it worth it?
Imagine jumping into an icy plunge pool. Before you jump your heart is pumping, you anticipate the cold and you fear it. You think how terrible it is, how much you don't want to do it. As you hit the glassy water, the adrenalin swallows you up and takes all the breath out of you. In a state of shock you scramble out and swear you will never do it again.
Now imagine you have to jump into that pool every day. You could either do it every day and hate it. Or you could find a way to tolerate it, or even enjoy it.
After the first few days I started experimenting with breathing techniques to control my reaction. I slowed my breathing. I cleared my mind. I became in control of my thoughts. I distanced myself from fear and focused on remaining calm. As I stepped in the shower, the adrenalin was still there, however I was controlling my response.
It started to feel like electricity in my body.
It was like having a huge shot of expresso strength adrenalin every morning, and I was starting to love it.
My skin was tingling, I found myself laughing (I may have even “whooped” once or twice), and I left the shower feeling limitless.
And there was not only the physical feeling of pure exhilaration; I had smashed apart all the lame excuses that I (and others) had given as to why I could not do it.
What are you normally thinking at 6.10 in the morning, if you are awake?
For me, after my cold shower, I am now thinking:
“I can do it! I can do what 99% of people are too tired, too comfortable or too scared to do”
How about that to set you up for a successful day?
The 5 sales secrets it taught me:
I learnt a lot during the last few cold weeks of January, and found the experience somewhat similar to many of the problems I see in sales. Below, I share 5 epiphanies I had whilst under the icy stream around resilience and mental strength.
1. Understand your "cold shower"
Everyone has a “cold shower” when it comes to sales. Everyone has something they avoid doing because they are too busy, too comfortable or too scared. Maybe it is making that call, contacting that person or doing that presentation.
Have a think... what is your “cold shower”?
What do you look at and say "Oh no, that’s not for me. I couldn't do that. I am far too..... (enter self- damning word of choice here)".
Find that thing and....
2. Stop making excuses
When I suggested people join me on this challenge, the overwhelming reaction (unsurprisingly) was “no”.
People said all sorts of things:
· I can’t do it
· I don’t want to do it
· I don’t feel like it
· I don’t see the point
I see this sort of mindset all the time in the sales coaching I do. People staying safely in the bubble of their comfort zone. People not making calls because they “don’t want to do it”. People not prospecting because they “don’t feel like it”. People not learning, developing and improving themselves because they “don't see the point”.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
If you have these attitudes in one part of your life, you will have them in other (more important) parts of your life.
It's not a question of whether you can or you can't do it. You can.
It's a question of whether you will or you won't.
And that boils down to your mindset...
3. Get in the right mindset
Before you step into your “cold shower”, pay attention to your thoughts. What are you thinking?
Are you thinking how horrible it will be? How much you will hate it? How it will only lead to failure and ridicule?
Clear your mind of all thoughts so you are totally present. Shut your eyes and focus on your breath.
- If you believe it will be horrific, it will be.
- If you believe it will be energising, it will be.
Get rid of the bad thoughts and let the right thoughts back in.
4. Do it in a different way
Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again in the same way and expect to get different results.
If you still have the same routines, the same sales process, the same prospects, opportunities and problems you had 2 years ago then it is definitely time for a change.
Everything has the potential to be done differently, better and more effectively. From your morning shower to your sales strategy, to your prospecting technique. There is always a different way. Before you start your “cold shower” task ask yourself how you could do it differently? More efficiently? More enjoyably?
What would a Top Performer do?
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat
If you just do one day of Cold Showers you will forever think they are horrific. It is only through repetition and practice that the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
Do not stop doing something just because the first time you hate it. Funnily enough, doing challenging things is challenging. If you are challenged you are changing. And if you are changing you are growing.
Get up and do it every day. Reflect on your success, keep changing and growing until you are confident you are doing it in the way that is best for you. Keep going until it becomes a habit; an integral and enjoyable part of your routine.
Standing before an icy shower is like standing before many of the sales decisions you face on a day to day basis.
Do you do what you always have done? Do you turn up the heat, shut your eyes and make it warm and comfortable?
Or are you the person who says "No. I can have warm showers for the rest of my life if I want. But today I am going to take the challenge, step up and try something new."
It may be hard, but life is often hard.
It may be uncomfortable, but if you know you can bear the uncomfortable you have unlocked the freedom to succeed.
Have a great week,
Like this? You’ll love our Top Performer Journal! Download Chapter 1 here!