As a motivational and inspirational corporate keynote speaker, I always get the question at conferences about how to stay inspired in difficult times. Here is a great lesson from an all-time great golfer:
The greens at the Quail Hollow Club for the 2013 Wells Fargo PGA Tour event in May were horrendous. The weather this spring in Charlotte, N.C., was cold and damp and clearly did not favor the grass on the greens. Putting on bad bumpy greens can easily beat you up mentally when your livelihood depends on making 3-foot putts.
Or you could take a completely different approach, as Hall-of-Fame Golfer Phil Mickelson did.
Mickelson declared his admiration for the course, even making the statement that Quail Hollow was one of his favorite courses on the globe. He thoroughly loves this venue.
I believe this “favoritism” attitude directly led to his great play at the Wells Fargo Championship. Mickelson putted beautifully, leading the field in putting and starting the tournament making an amazing 41 for 41 putts within 10 feet. Although Mickelson did not win, he held the lead for most of the tournament and finished in a very respectable third place.
Phil Mickelson’s attitude is not just for the links but also vital for success in the business world. When you make every client your favorite, you are bound to have a deeper connection with your clients as well as have greater success.
This success principle is based on the self-fulfilling prophecy. Usually misrepresented, the self-fulfilling prophecy implies that our perceptions influence our interactions, which in turn will change behaviors.
For example, you will always have some clients whom you perceive as friendly and kindhearted. Because of this perception, you really like to speak and interact with them on a regular basis. This produces a sincere connection with that client, and this most likely has led to greater success with that client.
On the other hand, everyone’s business has a few clients that simply get on the nerves-like bad bumpy greens. Your dislike for the client will subconsciously as well as subtly affect your interactions with this client. Because of these negative feelings, your connection at an authentic level will be diminished, which in turn will hurt your book of business with this client.
Instead, you should follow Mickelson’s lead and power up the principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy to your benefit. You can always find something to favor about your clients, regardless of their personality. Perhaps it is your client’s persistence in saying “no” which you can see as determination. Or, you have that client who always declares how busy she is– You can see this as diligence and determination. There is something to like in everyone.
You can talk yourself into having a great attitude with any client, or talk yourself out of liking any client. The choice for success is yours.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. The author of the Washington Post bestselling book, “Full Throttle,” he speaks to businesses about mental and emotional toughness. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.drgreggsteinberg.com<http://www.drgreggsteinberg.com/