KV Venugopalan

If you want to know how good your company’s products are, attend your competitor’s sales meeting. And if you want to know how bad is their product attend their Support Executives meeting. And this behaviour is universal. Why?

Those at the senior management level might say that we are our worst critic and such unique behaviour is essential for development. If objective self-assessment is the purpose, I am in full agreement; however, the real fact is entirely different. In real life self-deprecate something is to belittle it or downgrade it. That is, to reduce its perceived status, importance, and value.

Every Marketing or Sales person must know that their job is to sell whatever products that are available in their sales desk. Efforts should be made to find ways and means, positioning strategies and market opportunities to maximise their business. Instead, a major part of the sales meeting time is wasted in praising the competitors’ products and criticising our own products. Since this behaviour is universal, we must go deeper into the causes and suggest alternate solutions to optimise the meeting time to make it productive.

What are the possible causes of such behaviour?

  1. A genuine self-assessment to understand our strengths, weaknesses, and that of our competitors so that marketing and sales strategy could be fine-tuned accordingly.
  2. An insurance policy for the sales team, in case they fail to meet their sales budget. A maladaptive strategy to protect the self.
  3. A constant fear and sense of insecurity
  4. Standard cry of those who blame everything else other than themselves when things go wrong in their life.
  5. Refusing to admit that they are responsible: Some people cannot admit failures and mistakes so they blame others for them in order to escape from the responsibility.

Such behaviour is seen at individual level also. While it is acceptable to be humble, stretching it too far becomes self-deprecating and is considered a negative attribute. People with self-deprecating behaviour often compares themselves with others and feel inadequate and ashamed of themselves. Depression is a possible outcome.

How to overcome such thoughts and behaviour so that every one of us becomes confident and proud of ourselves. There is a very important stanza in Bhagavad Gita that explains this behaviour

uddhared atmanatmanam, natmanam avasadayet

atmaiva hy atmano bandhur, atmaiva ripur atmanah

bandhur atmatmanas tasya, yenatmaivatmana jitah

anatmanas tu satrutve, vartetatmaiva satru-vat

A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.

What happens in organizations? If you do not get the expected promotion or salary increment, you blame others, your boss, your colleagues or the organization itself for its policies and everything else. But never yourselves! There is a proverb, which says that, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its wings. Always believe in yourself….”. Generally, people feel inadequate, doubtful and afraid and look outside for support to achieve things or positions in their life. That is a wishful thinking. There is only one person responsible for your growth or downfall. That is yourself.

So how do we elevate ourselves and be our best friend as the Gita says. Here are some of my tips.

  1. Have confidence in yourself. We are all unique in our own ways and have our destiny to achieve. Do not compare with others or try to do what others do. Find your own path and reach your destined destination.
  2. Success is first achieved in our minds. Plan, prepare and work hard towards achieving your success. If you do not know where to go and what to do, start with reading books. There are plenty of very useful books such as Success through Positive Mental Attitude, Think and Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly effective people, The Power of Positive Thinking, Who moved my cheese, Eat that Frog, etc.
  3. Work hard to achieve Technical knowledge and expertise, Professional skills and positive attitude, attributes essential for success.  
  4. Practice self-discipline. Waking up early, regular exercise, proper meals and rest, meditation, etc. helps you keep both physically and mentally fit.
  5. Keep on improving every day. Find your weak points and work hard to eliminate those. Seek regular feedback from people who matter or a mentor, coach.
  6. Set big goals and stay focused.
  7. Energy, enthusiasm, inspiration and perspiration. These are essential for success.
  8. Develop good habits, eliminate bad habits and practice time management.
  9. Celebrate success.

You are unique and be proud of yourself!