Mental health challenges in sales are far too common — learning to deal with them is critical.
Being in sales can do a number on your mental health. You’re constantly concerned about meeting your quota, and if you don’t, feelings of inadequacy tend to creep in. But maintaining your mental health in sales is possible! Here are some tips on how to take care of your mental health as a sales leader.
1. Build a Support System
One of the first things you should do (if you haven’t already) is building strong relationships with those around you. That means making an effort to do things with your coworkers outside of the office. Take people up on their invitations to drinks, lunch, or an after-hours video conference to just chat. It’s a great way to let off some steam and share stories with someone who understands your situation— because your friends and family probably won’t.
2. Check-In with Your Support System
Sometimes there can be a sense of shame if your job is negatively impacting your mental health. You may hesitate to share what’s going on with others because it feels like a reflection on your job performance. But being stressed out and challenged by your job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad at it. In fact, feeling challenged is an indicator that you’re going through a growth stage and will come out on the other end smarter and better (even if it doesn’t feel so pleasant at the time).
These super stressful periods are the perfect time to lean on the support system you’ve built. One of the best ways to protect your mental health in sales is being transparent with friends or co-workers who can relate. They’re likely to have tons of stories and advice from their own similar experiences. So confide in those you can trust about how you’re feeling and be prepared to return the favor for them when the situation is reversed in the future.
3. Remember You Aren’t Your Job— And Your Job isn’t Just About You
Sometimes the best thing that you can do is have a little perspective. Even if you don’t make your sales quota, it doesn’t define who you are as a person. Your job is not your identity and it doesn’t dictate your worth. You would never tell your friends they’re defined by their work performance, so why do you hold yourself to a different standard?
Also, keep in mind that not meeting your quota isn’t always on you. Markets these days are highly volatile and there are tons of factors that affect whether people are prepared to buy— a global pandemic, summer vacations, an alarming news story, or maybe your customers are just busy! If you don’t hit your numbers this month you can still spend that time investing in relationships and finding new leads that will result in you exceeding your numbers next month.
So take a deep breath, watch a funny movie, go for a walk, focus on the aspects of your job you can control and you’ll see things will balance out in the end.
4. Mix Things Up— Get Out of Your Head and Out of Your House
Sometimes too much of the same thing can put you in a bad place mentally even if those “same things” aren’t necessarily bad. Try to shake your days up even in small ways. Set aside time each day to do something different that has nothing to do with work. This is especially important if you work from home (and so many of us do, these days). You can start to go stir crazy if you don’t get outside and experience some different environments. Whether that means going for a walk or trying a new restaurant, doing something different can help remind you of life outside the sales quota.
Switch up your schedule, too, so things don’t feel so “time to make the donuts.” Do you always start your workday at 8 am? Try going for a morning hike or jog or even out to breakfast with the family before work and start your a little late. You could also break up your day by pausing work for a few hours in the afternoon to reset your mind and finish the day with a second wind.
5. Take Time Off
Many workers (especially in the US) hesitate to take time off. But getting away will definitely help you truly understand that your whole life and your identity are not defined by your job performance. There is no reason to feel guilty for taking time off! It exists for a reason. So, whether you go on a solo weekend trip, take a vacation with friends, or even just take a couple of days to relax at home, you will be able to recharge and be a better sales professional because of it.
6. Prioritize Your Health
Your physical health and your mental health are very much connected. So, if you’re sleep-deprived, running on junk food, and sitting for most of the day, your body won’t just suffer—your mental health suffers, too. Make sure you’re getting into a consistent sleep schedule, eating right, and taking some time to move at least a few times a week.
Every couple of hours get up from your desk and stretch and get some fresh air. Invest in a sit/stand desk (worth it!) and make an effort to stand during calls or meetings. Many companies offer gym memberships and mental health resources like meditation apps, so be sure to find out what your company offers and take advantage of it.
7. Talk to a Professional
If you find yourself really struggling with your mental health in sales, seeking professional help may be the right answer. That may mean going to a counselor, joining a support group, or talking to your doctor about medication. While this step definitely requires courage, remember that you aren’t alone. So many people are in the same boat!
Mental health challenges in sales are real, and you need to make your mental health a priority! Practicing even just a few of these tips will lower your stress level and will make you better at life and sales in the long run. So give these a try— your mental health will thank you.