The 7 Deadly Attitudes about “Selling Yourself”—and How to Bust Them!

My client Julia said she would rather have gum surgery than “sell herself.” By “sell herself,” she meant invite people into her wonderful new coaching business. People say:

  • “I can sell for other people, but not for myself.”
  • “If people think I’m pushy, they won’t like me or buy my service.
  • “I get tongue-tied, afraid I’ll turn people off, so I just stop.”

THE 7 DEADLY ATTITUDES
The 7 attitudes below are why we feel so queasy, uneasy when we talk about the gift we’ve been given to share with the world. At the end, I’ll give you a “fix” so that you can:

  • Talk about yourself and what you offer in a relaxed, authentic, and gracious way
  • Make a good living doing what you are here to do, based on integrity and service to others
  • Feel enthusiastic and empowered when you go out to sell yourself

When we’re not having fun or getting huge results “selling ourselves,” it’s usually because we’ve bought into one of these 7 attitudes:

1. SELLING GETS A BAD RAP.
Selling makes us think of used car salesmen in plaid sport coats and pencil moustaches, sleazy telemarketers, people who flood our inboxes with sales-y emails, and even pushy Girl Scout mothers hovering around the tables piled high with cookies!

We don’t like those people. We’re afraid that if we sell anything, let alone ourselves, people won’t like us.

This particular attitude carries a lot of sub-attitudes:

  • Nice people don’t do it—and we shouldn’t have to do it!
  • People who sell themselves are on an ego trip. They have no humility or spirituality!
  • It’s impolite. Unattractive. Seedy!
  • If people think we’re pushy, they won’t like us and they won’t buy. We’ll be double-defeated. We’ll have ruined our reputation for nothing!

2. SELLING YOURSELF GETS A WORSE RAP.
If selling is bad, selling ourselves is worse! As kids, we learned not to “brag” or “blow our own horns.” Society tells us there’s something unsavory about selling ourselves, that it’s arrogant, cocky, and narcissistic.

Yikes! Who wants to be like that?

3. WE THINK WE ARE WHAT WE SELL.
It can be hard to separate ourselves from what we’re offering, especially when we sell a service rather than a product. With toasters and cars, you can flick the “on” switch or kick the tires. They are clearly outside us and separate from us.

Services like coaching or financial planning involve our skills, our knowledge, our understanding, our connection with clients, and our compassion. What we do comes from within us.

When people decide whether or not to buy what we offer, it can seem like if they don’t buy, they are rejecting us.

4. WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR “NO.”
Who does? Nobody likes to feel rejected. And if we think we are our service, and that people are rejecting us if they don’t buy, then we really don’t want to hear “no.”

5. OUR MOTHERS WOULD DIE.
I can’t tell you how often I hear: “My mother would have a stroke (or turn over in her grave) if she knew I was ‘selling myself.’”

The parental message not to act “conceited” or “full of ourselves” was meant to help us get along with other kids on the playground—but this message sometimes gets taken literally, forty years later, when we step out to sell our service.

6. WE’RE EMBARRASSED TO TALK ABOUT OUR GIFT.
We’ve been given a gift to give to the world—the service we deliver—but often we’re embarrassed about it. We feel shy about being “special” enough to have that gift, whether it’s healing, or clarity, or compassion, or intelligence, or any particular skill.

Everybody has some gift. We don’t have to be embarrassed about being different or special. We are special, and so is everybody else.

7. WE BELIEVE THAT THESE ATTITUDES ARE REALITY, AND NOT JUST ATTITUDES.
We forget that these attitudes are just attitudes—and not reality. Attitudes can be adjusted, once we bring them up to the conscious level. They are flexible, and can be changed if they are holding us back.

Once we see what attitudes might be getting in our way, then put them into perspective and stop seeing them as reality, they no longer have any power over us.

“SELLING YOURSELF” CAN FEEL GREAT!
What if you could sell yourself with confidence, skill, and joy—in a spirit of service that made people’s lives better just because they talked with you?

The first thing I did when I began selling myself was to define it like this: “bringing our best when we interact with people, serving them, and being a stand for our own value, for their value, and for the value of what we are offering.”

That way, you sell yourself and what you give to the world based on the 3 principles of The Soul of Selling:

  • Honor yourself.
  • Honor others.
  • Honor what you offer.

When you stand in that light, people feel it—and you become magnetic.

Here’s how to get there…

WHAT TO DO: THE 5-STEP “FIX”
Some people never get to the “fix” because “selling themselves” is so distressing, so uncomfortable, that they simply look away. They never discover the attitudes—conscious or unconscious—that are causing the problem and producing the anxiety. They don’t know what they are dealing with, so they can’t fix it.

Try these 5 steps:

1. Write it. Write down all your negative attitudes about selling yourself. You can use The Soul of Selling and Selling Yourself without Feeling Pushy, Sleazy, Creepy, or Weird as guides. Then do the following steps for each attitude.

2. Check it. Is that attitude true? Probably not.

3. See it. Recognize that it’s an attitude, not reality.

4. Release it. Just let it go. This will happen automatically when you see it for what it is—an attitude, and not reality.

5. Replace it. Imagine something that you could love about selling yourself, and fill the vacuum created when you released that attitude with this positive thought.

There are probably more than 7 deadly attitudes.

What are some of yours? How do you get around them to sell yourself with confidence, service to people, great results, and joy?

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