Healthy Salesperson: An Oxymoron?

Do you work in sales? Are you a sales leader?

I spent many years as a sales professional in my second career. Unfortunately, it was before I had really figured out all of the key components to my complete health. For much of the time, I was overly stressed, too sedentary, and watched many of my colleagues sink into alcohol and other drug use/abuse to deal with the stress. I wasn’t going there, but I shared in their discomfort!

In sales, there are goals and quotas, and as soon as you have a triumph, the clock starts all over. There seems to be no down time. There are territory disputes. Deadlines. Mistakes. Angry clients. It’s no wonder that salespeople are well-compensated. It’s a high-stress, high-demand profession. But, when done well, sales is an incredible career of service and integrity, and a way to develop long-term enjoyable, professional, and sometimes even personal relationships.

Doing the job well doesn’t mean sacrificing your health and well-being. But it does mean putting as much effort into planning for your own health as it does planning for your professional success. You’ve heard the expression, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” right? Salespeople often work long hours, until the job is done. That leaves little time for meal planning or prep, or for self-care in general. Meetings happen in restaurants, and sometimes there’s extended travel, so fitting in exercise seems impossible. When you are depleted and running on fumes and/or the wrong kind of fuel (such as fast food, caffeine, and alcohol), your focus isn’t as sharp, and your success will feel that much harder.

For some people, it might be as simple as needing to stay better hydrated. Others may need a stand-up desk, or to do a run up and down the stairs every hour. I could find several articles documenting that you’ll actually focus better when you build in some breaks, so the time you “lose” while taking a water and movement break will actually SERVE you.

Maybe your health could improve by exploring the menu online before a business meeting so you can make the best choice for your health goals ahead of time. Maybe it’s learning how to pack the right snacks and lunches for the long days, or the travel.  It might be figuring out how to wind down better in order to fall asleep more easily. For many salespeople, it’s realizing that getting ENOUGH sleep matters greatly for your focus as well as your long-term health. For some sales professionals, it means reevaluating a relationship with alcohol and exploring how your habits and choices impact you and those around you.

Don’t even get me started on email (but there are ways to handle it so that it doesn’t overtake your life). 

Maybe it’s about better work-life balance, although technically “balance” suggests equal time in all places, and for most of us, that’s not possible.  So what’s a professional to do?  It may have something to do with learning to make and stick to a schedule. Yes, I know you’ve tried it before. In coaching we can explore what did or didn’t work, and what you did or didn’t like about it.

There is no one-size-fits all approach to revamping your lifestyle as a salesperson. In health coaching, I will meet you where you are in terms of readiness and progress, and together we’ll explore what you want, need, and figure out the best plan for you to go get it.

I welcome a consultation if you’d like to get off the hamster wheel. Also, I’m developing some group health coaching programs particularly for those who work in sales, both leaders and sales professionals. Topics will be decided in part by the groups, so please message me at [email protected] if this sounds intriguing! I’m looking at a few pilot programs at a steep discount.

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