AJ Vaden

The Self Esteem Trap

Guest Post By: Rory Vaden


Results are important, but you are not your results.

And there is a great risk in attaching your self-esteem to your results.

The risk is that if you allow your self-esteem to be determined by the results you are experiencing, then it will always be volatile as it fluctuates with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

It becomes a self-esteem trap because when results are coming in, you feel great about yourself. But when they are not, you feel terrible.

Ultras performers don’t want that. They are much more interested in consistency. And they have the perspective of knowing there are good days and challenging days.

Instead of allowing their confidence to ebb and flow, they have developed a different strategy than most people.

They put their self-esteem into their work habits rather than their production.

They derive their confidence from focusing on things they can control rather than the things they can’t.

Results in most walks of life are things that we can influence, but they often aren’t things that are fully in our control.

It’s not solely in our control as to who wins and who loses, who buys and who doesn’t, how certain things are valued, or the exact financial balance that is left at the end.

You don’t want to have extreme highs and lows. You want steady, consistent, positive direction.

In addition to volatility, the other weakness of having self-esteem tied to results is it causes us to under perform.

Because when results are poor we often feel undeservedly bad. And it affects the confidence by which we work and thereby lowers the effectiveness of our work and the likelihood we will produce positive results.

Similarly, when results are pouring in and we are “winning” we also need to be careful about feeling uncharacteristically proud of ourselves. Positive results can be a source of complacency for someone who has their self-esteem tied to their performance. Not to mention that sometimes results come in by way of luck, circumstance, or positive changes in the market rather than by way of our own efforts.

The best baseline then is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your results.

You want to be a person who lays it all out on the line every day.

You do your dead level best regardless of whether or not the results are coming in.

You are consistently and dogmatically focused on doing what you know how to do and controlling what you can control.

You know that the challenging days are just a part of the journey to great performance and that the great days are fleeting and that they both come and go.

But you have faith, and trust, and confidence that if you do your best, and you focus on simply putting in the work over and over each day, then over time you will win.

Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine. 

3 Steps to the Art of Growth

Guest Post By: Dave Brown

Let me fill you in on something that has been life changing. Most of you know my background with selling door-to-door with Southwestern, now hitting the phones with Southwestern Consulting. Well, at one point things got stagnate. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and I felt like nothing was moving forward. Have you ever been there? Are you at that point where some things are just falling apart?

I have the solution for you. IDP.




You are in control of how great you become, and how great you get at prospecting… or anything.  This is a process, a simple system, that allows you to keep getting better and growing every single day.

First step: Identify

Each one on you has done great things and accomplished a lot in your life. Personal or professional, you have had some success. Let’s remember that time. Take yourself back there, and where you were mentally. Think back to when you had your best day ever. What did you do that day? How did you sound? What did you wear? What were you saying to yourself that day? Take yourself back to that place and think through those things when you were at the top of your game and make a list. Remember how people treated you and what they said to you. Write down how you were feeling, and just what was going on. This will be your first step.

Second step: Duplicate

Pretty simple. Every Sunday I have IDP time to recap the week and think about every great thing I did the week prior, so on Monday, I can duplicate those actions. I can repeat what it was about the week before that made a positive impact, and carry it on to the next week. Maybe you just start smiling at everyone. That is something you can repeat while helping yourself and others. Consciously be aware of the things that make you feel accomplished so you can continue doing those things. You will naturally start duplicating these things, which will lead you to the last step.

Final step: Perfect

Perfect what you know works. Perfect those processes and systems. You become amazing at calling people and prospecting. You grow and get better while you’re out serving others and changing people’s live through what you do. This is the perfection process.

It starts with identifying, then you duplicate, then you perfect the great you that you are. Where I am at today, and the things that I have accomplished and keep doing, come from IDP. I continue to take these steps and great things unfold. You can do it too!

Prospecting mastery is a habit and can be achieved by anyone dedicated to working a system better than anyone else ever has. Go out, get your habits and identify, duplicate, and perfect the best you! Go get it today!

What is something you have done that you are so proud of, and continue to do? What have you perfected because you identified and duplicated it? Let me know! Tweet me @davebrown_swc or message me on LinkedIn. Let’s connect and grow together!  

Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record-breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.

Wholistic Employee Well-Being: 3 Reasons There’s No Alternative in 2017

Guest post by Barron Rosborough from SnackNation

If I had a nickel for every time I heard an anecdote about someone’s father or uncle or non-descript father figure slaving away at their desk, coal mine, or smelting factory job for decades to support their family because “that’s just what you did back then”, I’d be retired by now. All of these stories have one thing in common, everyone’s miserable, especially me.

Not to take anything away from the years of hard work and mental fortitude of our predecessors, but that ideology is as dated as the rotary telephone (even though the sensation of a recoiling rotary still brings me nostalgic satisfaction).

Often when we’re listening to these stories, we ask ourselves or the people telling them, “Why didn’t you just quit?” Even though it’s our first instinct, it’s not the right question. What we should be asking is “Why didn’t the company change?” Why were they content with the mental and emotional strain that toiling away for years exacted on the people that were responsible for their success?

These types of companies are a breeding ground for an “us and them” mentality where employees dissociate themselves from the company to varying degrees the further up you go in the food chain.

Those who experience more efficacy, like executives, are more likely to see themselves as part of the whole, saying things like “my company” and “we” and evangelize the brand. While those who are unclear about their agency are more likely to distance themselves from the company, using pronouns like “them” and “they” and are less likely to promote the brand outside of work.

The idea of employees as expendable two-dimensional mechanisms that can be used up and replaced doesn’t work. It’s this sort of attitude that creates high turnover rates in a company today, a symptom of poor engagement.

Employees want more. The movement toward work-life balance has made it clear that people want their employers to play a more substantive role in their overall well-being – mind, body, and social. If your company doesn’t get on board, people are more likely than ever to search for opportunities elsewhere.

Nowadays, the market for top talent is too competitive to let your best people burn out. And if you do adopt this approach for your employees – especially those pesky Millennials – will likely jump ship (in a marina full of yachts).

Ostensibly, it makes sense to get the most out of your top talent by ensuring their health and well-being, but don’t just take my word for it:

  • It’ll Cost You

The average cost of replacing an employee is around 21% of their salary, according to a study by Center for American Progress! This is likely the clearest business case I can present for favoring the longevity of your employees.

If you’re under the impression that your employees are loyal, then you should consider that in a 2013 Gallup study, they found that 70% of employees weren’t engaged and emotionally disconnected from work, costing US businesses between $450-550 billion a year.

  • Performance Will Suffer

Employees who experience happiness in the workplace are 12% more productive, including sales departments that experience 37% higher sales than their counterparts that aren’t engaged.

  • It’s Not Hard

If there was something you could’ve done to keep your top performers from leaving, would you? What if I told you it was as easy as recognizing your people for their accomplishment regularly, or showing them how their work impacts the company by giving them end-to-end visibility, or just facilitate the conditions for them to create friendships?

And what if I told you that it isn’t too late?


Barron Rosborough is a seasoned digital marketer and writer from Los Angeles, CA. He writes on topics ranging from wellness to leadership (and everything in between). He is currently the Digital Marketing Coordinator at SnackNationa curated healthy snack subscription service for offices and homes.

Learning to Communicate Within Your Company

A study conducted by Southwestern Consulting back in 2012 found that adding more marketing and data into presentations can help establish a company as a thought leader.

Even though this was conducted five years ago, it is still considered statistically valid. Many of the key findings have been outlined below.


  • 65% of people quit their goals within 30 days
    • Meanwhile 76% of people who made it past 30 days create a lasting change in their behavior.
  • People lose hope as they get older.
    • 71% of 18-34 year olds set goals compared to only 43% of people 35+.
  • Everyone struggles with Self-Discipline
    • Gender, age, region of the country, race, household income, household size nor education level, had any bearing on a person’s ability to follow through on their goals. They all failed equally.
  • Making it even one day can be difficult
    • 18% of people who set a goal gave up on it less than 1 day later!
  • Accountability is a key
    • Having children makes you more ambitious. 60% of People who live with children set goals compared to only 48% of those without
    • 54% of those who live with at least 1 other person set a goal compared to 43% who live alone.

Take these findings and put them to good use in your company as well. It is important to find the best way to communicate with people and be able to understand how they are feeling about things.

We need to motivate and with these statistics we can understand how people are living and feeling, as well as showing them we care for them as a client and a friend.

Ice Melting Lines

Guest Post By: Dave Brown

Have you ever felt a little awkward after that first five seconds of an initial sales conversation? Using those “Hey, how you doing?” mundane type of initial phrases that lead to you just talking over your prospect and not making a quick connection. I hear and see it all the time!

Everyday initial conversations starters DO NOT work in the selling world, and DO NOT forward your sales conversation. If you’re wondering why you’re not growing, as you should be in sales, this may help you break through. Shake things up a bit. Make your lead in phrases you!

Where do we start?

Bring your personality into it…literally your personality!


  • “Hey is this John Smith? Great, do you have 79 seconds for me really quickly?”
  • “John, I’ve been trying to catch you for months I literally thought you were    kidnapped man, were you kidnapped?”
  • “Hey John, this is Dave, are you ready for this?”
  • “John, how is your office staff running over there today? (don’t let them respond) Who’s winning, you or them?”

Shake things up then lead into what you are doing and what you’re calling about. You’re melting away the tension that could exist when you use those icebreaking lines that can immediately connect you with your prospect because you’re different. If you are a prospecting master, you are an “ice-melter” with these types of initial phrases!

Let me leave you with your prospecting golden nugget for the week…

When prospecting, be YOU. Nobody in this world has your design. Daily you choose to cater to the world, or make it your masterpiece. Make it your masterpiece when you are prospecting today. Get out there and melt the tension, use your ice melting lines to get in and connect with your prospect quickly.

What are some of the ice melting lines you have used? Tweet them to me @davebrown_swc #meltingtheice #southwesternconsulting


Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.

The Secret of Being Enthusiastic

Guest Post By: Dave Brown

In 6th grade I did my first ever speech competition. I did it because of Mrs. Bridges. She signed me up, without me knowing, and said, “Dave, you’re going to be phenomenal at it.”

The speech I was doing was titled, “How The Camel Got It’s Hump.” I remember it was my first year in middle school down in Texas and I was competing with 7th and 8th graders who had already done this. I was scared! But Mrs. Bridges told me I had a “secret.” She was sure I was going to beat them with that secret.  She was going to teach me how to have enthusiasm.

She knew that if I showed the energy and my enthusiastic nature I would catch the judges and win first place. So, that is what I will talk to you about today, because I still use that each day!

Enthusiasm is contagious. It makes the improbable, probable. Do you think I won that speech competition?!

WELL OF COURSE I DID!!! I took a first place win as a 6th grader, and the first one at that age level to do so!

I used what Mrs. Bridges taught me from there and it stuck with me. I got into sports and every chance I had, I was getting my team powered up! I had better experiences and let that carry throughout my college career as an athlete. It’s so important!

It’s also so important in the sales environment. People pick up on it! Whenever you have enthusiasm in place, you can do anything!

Here is something I keep on me from Frank Bettger’s book, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.”

“Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you will become enthusiastic. Make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm you have put out in your life and in your work. If you carry out that resolve you will probably double your income and double your happiness.”

Your prospects will catch your enthusiasm! Show it, put it out there! Tell me about your scenarios and how you’ve seen a difference in your work and life by using this secret. Tweet me @davebrown_swc, comment here, or connect on LinkedIn.

GO OUT THERE AND BE AWESOME YA’LL … (in my most enthusiastic voice!)

Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.

Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

Guest Post By: Emmie Brown


On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.