I am, what you might call, an ardent baseball fan.
As a youth, I played deep in the caverns of the Los Angeles Angels organization, and on and off, I've been known to follow the exploits of my favorite teams ever since.
To this day I can't turn down an invitation to play softball at a picnic or at a faculty-parent school function.
There is a phrase I've heard often, both in my playing days and beyond.
As a ballplayer you simply cannot let yourself get too high or too low.
This also seems to apply to being a salesperson and a sales manager.
When things are going great, you're winning championships or clients, it's easy to feel you're a Master of the Universe, as novelist Tom Wolfe put it. But then, just when you believe you can do no wrong, the rug is pulled out from under you.
You skid. You pummel. You fall. You stay down.
Finally, you go about the ultra-serious business of recovering from the blow.
From rock bottom, you have to claw your way back up, using humility, and grit, and something you felt you'd never have to employ again; patience.
This seems to be what playwrights and screenwriters term the "dramatic arc" of most sales professionals. We start at the bottom, move up, reach the top, slip downward to the bottom, or to that neighborhood, and then we have to will ourselves back up.
(It's also called "The Hero's Journey," for good reasons.)
Instead of heeding that advice to never get to high or low, emotionally, we're like manic depressives, alternating between peaks and valleys, seemingly beyond control.
The pendulum never quietly hovers in the middle. It's always swinging from one extreme to another.
Is there a way to avoid these extremes?
Some industries have business models that allow for a more placid balancing of emotions.
Insurance comes to mind.
If you're an agent and 80% or more of your book of business, in good times and bad, consists of existing clients, what is there to fret about? Most of your income is assured.
Yes, you must service your clientele, but you aren't forced to replace every customer every year.
There are businesses that must.
Consulting is one of them. A consultant's job is to provide temporary help and then to set the client free, to make it independent. Referrals to competitors in the same industry are practically nonexistent, because who is crazy enough to hand his competitor an advantage that his consultant bestowed?
Like the protagonist in the film, "Day of the Jackal," once a consultant does his job he won't be allowed to work again, at least in a similar context.
Roofers guarantee their work for up to thirty years. How often will they be summoned to replace the same roof? Their only hope for business survival and success is to be constantly trawling for new customers.
Most businesses fall somewhere between these extremes, but to a large extent, the great majority need to constantly sell and market, and this involves emotional highs and lows.
Frankly, I believe these swings are normal, and we can do very little to avoid them.
When interest rates are low, the housing industry will boom, as it has, recently. Then, partly because of that boom, it will bust. It's simply part of the "business cycle" that economists such as Keynes have been noting for years.
But we can do something that will make our feast and famine cycles more tolerable.
Appreciate they're normal, they aren't our fault, and above all, they're temporary.
While our bank accounts may continue to experience highs and lows, at least our emotions will stay within more manageable tolerances, if we keep this thought in mind.
Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 800 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered a foremost expert in telephone effectiveness, customer service, and sales development. A top-rated speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.