There are WINNERS and there are LOSERS, but the majority are AT-LEASTERS.
Many years ago, David Sandler created a psychological model, called I/R Theory, to differentiate between identity and roles, and to help salespeople understand the interconnected nature of these two concepts.
You can find more about I/R Theory here. But, the gist is this: we tend to connect our success or failure in our roles (salesman, father, friend) with our level of self-worth. So, if I have a great day at work – I got a new client, completed the tasks I set out to accomplish, established a new relationship – I feel good about myself and “life is good.” On the other hand, if I lost a big client, failed to get anything done or struggled with a business relationship, I feel like a failure overall – not just in business, but as a person.
THIS is what it means to connect your role (salesperson/business owner/etc.) with your identity (self-worth).
It applies outside of work, too. As a father, if I don’t get to spend as much time with my kids or my son makes a poor decision, I take that as a hit on my self-image as a person.
Maybe it’s just me, but this hits home…literally. (And my wife and kids can attest!) When dad gets a new client, it’s time to go out to eat, we enjoy the evening, go outside and play, etc. If something didn’t happen as planned, conversations are short, activities are forced, and attitudes (everyone’s) are lowered.
On the I/R Theory scale, there are winners, losers and at-leasters. On a scale of 1-10, winners are consistently in the 7-10 range; losers are in the 1-3 range. And the at-leasters stay in the middle somewhere.
So, what often happens is we become AT-LEASTERS…
“Well, I may not be a winner, but at least I’m not a loser.”
This is a dead give-away of an at-leaster. When our self-identity is low or somewhere in the middle, we even trick ourselves to make sure our roles don’t get too high. We get caught in a comfort zone of how we feel about ourselves. Whether we admit it or not, we’re keeping ourselves from succeeding in our roles when we maintain a lower self-esteem. There are expectations. There are stereotypes. There are fears. We perform at the level we expect of ourselves.
Focus on I-10
Truly successful people maintain a high identity number, no matter where they fall on the role scale. The goal is to always be at a 10 with your identity.
The best salespeople are the ones who can “bounce back” after a deal falls through or after someone hangs up on them or leads them on a wild goose chase. These things don’t affect their self-worth. They are just circumstances.
“Your self-confidence is as much as influence, if not a greater one, on your overall success than your skill to perform any task.”
- Sandler Success Principals
Apart from any role you serve, you are an I-10. Your identity isn’t based on any role or opinion or perception that someone else gives you. When you came into the world, you were an I-10. When you leave this world, you’ll be an I-10. How you choose to think of yourself in between is up to you.