Do you know individuals (managers, sales people, customer service reps, etc) who seem to work hard but never quite succeed at what they want to accomplish? Then there are others who don’t work quite as hard but seem to achieve great successes? Why is that? What makes the difference between great achievers and mediocre achievers?

There are many variables that create great achievers, but we would like to focus in on a few principles that we consider to the most impactful to a salesperson or managers performance.

Two Parts of a Person

As individuals we have two parts to us. The first part, who we ARE, is the person that we view ourselves as. It is how we value ourselves and how much worth we attach to our nature. The second part is what we DO. This is our roles and responsibilities. It is the duties and jobs we have. Some of the roles we play are things like a spouse, a manager, a coach, a parent, a sales person, etc.


There is a problem that all of us face. Ever since we were little we were taught to combine both of these parts into one and that is how we determine our self worth. For example, in elementary school if we got a good grade in reading then we were told we ARE a good student. In order to BE good we had to DO good. Therefore, we are taught early on that in order to have value and worth, you had to do good things. The result of this training is most adults, at some level, struggle with separating their self worth or self-concept from what their do, or how they perform in their roles and responsibilities.

For example, as a sales person, if you close a new deal you might be feeling really good about who you are as a person. If on the other hand if you lose a big sale it is very likely that you’re self esteem takes a blow. On the other hand if I see my self-value is being low I will always make sure my performance matches the valuation that I give myself. If my self-value is high, I will perform in my responsibilities in a way that matches how I see myself.

To be an effective employee, manager, sales person, etc with and the ability to rise above a lot of the normal challenges, we have to get to the point where we can successfully separate the two.

The Turtle and the Spider

Let me tell you the story to illustrate how powerful our nature is and how it effects our behavior.

Once there was a turtle that came to a stream.

By that stream there was a spider who asked, “Excuse me sir, are you going to be crossing the stream?”

The turtle answers, “Why yes I am.”

The spider continues, “Would you mind giving me a lift? I’m small and I can’t get across by myself.”

The turtle was baffled, “Are you crazy? If I let you get on my back and we start to cross the stream, you could bite me and I will die!”

“Think about it,” the spider scoffed, “If I bite you in the middle of the stream and you die then I would die as well. That would be silly of me to do.”

The turtle thought about it and then agreed to help the spider across. As they swam to the middle of the stream the spider bit the turtle. As the turtle started to sink he cried out, “Why did you bite me? What were you thinking?”

The spider replied, “It is in my nature.”

Who we are and how we see ourselves, our nature, dramatically impacts our behavior and our performance. Even if we practice and practice skills and techniques for our jobs. We will never perform higher that how we see ourselves conceptually. How can we get to that point where see ourselves differently and thus see improvements in our performance?

A Deserted Island

Imagine yourself for a moment on a deserted island all by yourself. You are there without any of your roles or responsibilities. No job titles, no positions, nothing. Just you. Now, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest value and 10 being the highest value), how would you rate your “role-less” self?

How would you describe yourself as a human being, as a person, without all of your roles and responsibilities? What do you see?

The truth of the matter is your self-value is a 10. Yes, a 10. It was a 10 when you were born and it is a 10 today. It does not change arbitrarily by what happens to you or what you do on the outside world. Outside things cannot impact your inside value unless, and only unless, you decide to change it. Your perception of yourself should always be a 10 regardless of how you perform in your roles and responsibilities.

Your Comfort Zone

Image these two parts we have been talking about, who we ARE and what we DO, on opposite side of a vertical line. There is a concept we have to understand. As was mentioned earlier, how we see ourselves on the left side has a direct correlation to how we perform in our roles. We will perform in accordance with how we see ourselves conceptually.

For example: If you see yourself as a 6 (on the left side) this rule suggests that you will perform, on average, in your roles and responsibilities within the range of about 5 or 7. This is called your “comfort zone”. You may have some great days and bad days in how you perform, but you will always adjust your performance to stay within that comfort zone.

It is impossible to expect 10’s everyday in our performance. We are not machines. However, it is perfectly OK to expect a 10 everyday on our “who we are” number. It is not egotistical or arrogant.   If we really want to make an impact on how we perform however, we need to change the “who we are” number. While important, we cannot spend all of our time perfecting our skills (what we do). We must spend some time working on the “who we are part.

Too many managers and sales people come to work to prove they have worth. This is a mistake. That’s not what work is for. Your environment or how you perform does not determine your value. You determine your value.

Five Steps to Improve Your Self Value

We tend to value ourselves much less than other people do. Because of this there are five simple steps you can take to help improve your self-value.

Step One:       Recognize that we are the authors of the scripts and the stories that we tell ourselves. We can rewrite those at any time.

Step Two:       Have a clear vision of what a self-value of 10 looks and feels like in your world. This must be an empowering vision of yourself without your roles and responsibilities. Take some time and write down what you want to be. Write down your standards and values. Make a list of positive qualities and characteristics that describe who you are. There are many books, articles, videos, etc that will help give you ideas on this.

Step Three:    You must have daily reminders of what your empowering vision of yourself really is. Place your personal declarations, goal boards, mission statements, etc in a place where you can see them each day. Read them often and remind your brain and yourself who it really is.

Step Four:      As you make these a daily habit you will start noticing a new attitude that you are developing about yourself. You literally have to brain wash yourself to undo much of the negative programming that has been developed over your life. When this happens you will start seeing yourself differently.

Step Five:       When you see yourself differently, you will begin to act differently. Watch what happens to your confidence level and your performance at work as you start gaining a new attitude about yourself. Your performance will improve and you will start see great changes. You will begin to create a new reality for yourself.

The Results

This is a process and not an overnight thing. Knowing that how we see ourselves conceptually (our identity, self worth) directly impacts how well we perform at the desk, how well we perform on the phone, how we speak and treat our employees, etc; we should pay much closer attention to how we see ourselves. It is changeable regardless of where we are at today. Take the first steps by following the five steps listed above. We wish you all the best. Let us know how it is going for you. Good luck!


Terry Hansen is the founder of Hansen Group Company, Inc. and is regularly asked to train sales and management teams and consult with companies on their marketing strategies. You can learn more about Hansen Group Company by visiting or by calling 208-346-1005.