Head trash isn’t a sales term. It’s also not a problem specific to the field of sales.
Yet, it’s the number one problem for salespeople according to a survey done by CFS.
Why is this?
Head trash also isn’t a term specific to business, yet CEOs, VPs, managers, account reps, and assistants alike all experience problems with head trash.
Why is this?
Well, because salespeople, CEOs, VPs, managers, account reps, assistants, and everyone else at any given company all have ONE singular thing in common: they are all human beings. (So yes, Siri is exempt from this problem—lucky Siri!).
What is Head Trash?
Head trash is that little voice inside your head that says things like:
- “I’m not good enough.”
- “I never win.”
- “I’m not smart enough.”
- “He’s not going to like me.”
In fact, studies have shown that our internal voices are predominately negative. According to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., negative thoughts are a killer! No really!
Dr. Firestone cited a study of more than 30,000 people that uncovered the overwhelming effects of negative experiences—particularly that thoughts related to head trash are a prime predictor of some of the most common mental health problems today.
The head trash that we fill ourselves with does nothing but hurt us.
The critical inner voice, Dr. Firestone explains, “is an internal dialogue that drives rumination, self-blame and self-loathing. It mocks us, shames us, scares us and lures us into self-limiting or self-destructive behavior. It tells us not to trust the people we love. It influences us to not try to reach a goal. It advises us and subdues us, keeping us seemingly safe inside a miserable, albeit familiar, shell.”
“Every one of us possesses this voice in one form or another. Perhaps yours is more focused on your career. ‘Don’t go after that promotion; just accept where you are. You’re not capable of success.’”
As human beings, negative thoughts destroy us.
As busy professionals, head trash slows us down and literally beats us down.
So, why do we keep doing this to ourselves?
Well, it’s human nature.
How can we prevent it or stop it then?
Tossing the Head Trash
Tossing the head trash, or the critical inner voice, isn’t easy. It’s going to take focus and time—but it is doable.
So, the time that you spent mulling over how you think your entire sales team hates you? Well, you’re going to have to take that same amount of time (or more) and reverse that very thought.
Your entire sales team loves you.
You are a wonderful, helpful, thoughtful leader.
Big difference, I know. And you may not believe the above words at first. It’s difficult to think of ourselves in any other way but negative.
Fortunately there are professionals who have studied the negative inner voice and have created solutions to squash head trash and adopt healthy thoughts instead.
Here are thoughts about head trash from two thought leaders (also be sure to download our free eBook on Head Trash for advice from more experts!).
Dr. Lisa Firestone’s Solution
Dr. Firestone believes that in order to shift a negative inner voice, it’s important to pursue self-understanding. But she urges that self-understanding must also be done with self-compassion. “In order to face any challenge without dwelling in self-hatred or self-doubt, every one of us should adopt what my friend, psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Dr. Daniel Siegel calls COAL attitude, in which they are Curious, Open, Accepting, and Loving toward themselves.”
“Armed with this attitude, individuals are better able to battle one of the biggest obstacles they will encounter in their life… their own inner critic. The ‘critical inner voice’.”
Dr. Firestone suggests that you adopt a “zero tolerance policy for your ‘voices’ or self-destructive thoughts” and shares a simple, two-step process for squashing negative thoughts.
Identify what triggers your negative thoughts. What sets them off? Note patterns or even the lack of a pattern. Track everything! This will set you on a path to discovering your thoughts, but it will also make you more aware of what you’re thinking.
Yes, just stop it! This may seem obvious—but it really is that simple! Once you’ve begun tracking your thoughts, you’ll notice them more. Once you notice them more, you are better able to handle and control what comes next.
Charles Bernard’s Solution
The negative inner voice is something Charles recognized very early on in his career, and it’s something he’s dedicated time and attention to as a sales trainer and coach.
During the exploration phase with a new client, Charles is constantly seeing the negative impact that head trash plays in an organization. From the CEO to VPs to salespeople and account reps—no one is immune to the head trash virus.
“Everything is falling apart.”
“We were doing great, now we’re not—this is unfixable.”
“My salespeople are terrible.”
“My sales manager is terrible.”
“This whole company is terrible.”
Charles has heard it all.
He has also recognized that what we think has great power. In fact, our mind is the most powerful asset that we possess as human beings.
Charles also knows that if we have the ability to think negatively, we also have the same power to think positively.
You’ll notice a trend here. Nearly every person that has studied—or really even thought about the idea of head trash for a minute—has noted that the first step to eliminating head trash is to recognize it.
Charles believes very strongly in owning our thoughts and behaviors.
So, start by owning your thoughts. What negative thoughts are bringing you down?
- Find resolve.
Next, find resolve in the fact that everyone has head trash!
Everyone! It’s not just you!
Your mom has head trash, your grandma has head trash—your co-workers, your sister, your friends, the person sitting next to you on the subway.
We all have head trash!
- Don’t act from it.
Once you’ve owned that what you’re telling yourself is in fact head trash and have resolved that everyone has it, it’s time for the last step:
Don’t act from it.
You have head trash, and you are not your head trash!
So, you think someone doesn’t like you? Don’t act from it.
You think you’ll never close that deal? Don’t act from it.
The key here is not to let your negative thoughts run your life. Instead, squash them in their tracks and reverse the thoughts.
This person loves me.
I’ll close this deal, no problem.
It’s all about what you think. Your thoughts have great power, so think wisely.
We can’t live with it—so we have to live without it!
What tools have you used to crush head trash? Share in the comments below—we’d love to hear!