by Anneli Thomson, Managing Director, September 2014
Like many Sandler idioms, “Burn Your Bridges” is probably contrary to the saying you’ve heard since you were young. This certainly doesn’t relate to relationships; rather the “head trash” bridges you build to keep you safe. These mental bridges act as a back-up system we use to fool ourselves into false contentment. We let ourselves believe they exist to offer security and stability. The issue is, they could crumble at any time, and we may not be prepared to move forward without them.
Start burning the “Bridge of Hope”
Have you ever waited for the big sale to be decided on and hoped they pick your submission? Have you sat by the phone praying that presentation from yesterday will close and save your budget for the month? That’s a “Bridge of Hope”, and it’s time to burn it down. If you’ve done your due diligence there’s no point hoping. Move on. Go and prospect for the next opportunity and begin the process of making that a success. At least if the other pitch isn’t made in your favour you have more in the funnel.
Set flames to your “Bridge of Reliance”
We build this bridge out of naivety and wishful thinking. Does this sound familiar: you’ve always had consistent business from a client. You rely on it being there like clockwork. They have made the same purchase with you year after year and there’s no way they would ever defect to another provider. What happens if things change and that company, for whatever reason, is no longer contributing to your sales? That is a Bridge of Reliance. We can become too comfortable knowing we’ve got a “sure thing” and it kills proactive building of your business. Rely on nothing but your ability to increase your productive behaviours.
Torch your “Bridge of Comfort”
You hear it all the time: “You must break out of your comfort zone!” Comfort can lead to complacency and complacency is a foot-step away from failure. Pushing yourself to make one more cold call, stretching your goals to achieve what you haven’t in the past and building your confidence when things are tough are the stuff of winners. Look at your prospecting and selling activities are you too comfortable? Are you only reaching for low-hanging fruit? Greater risks will always bear greater rewards.
Burn those bridges. They hold you back. Successful leaders in all areas know they have to go beyond what they do now. Actors, musicians, athletes and business professionals all have to challenge themselves to be at the top of their profession. It’s the internal challenges that force us to find the courage to overcome our bridges of hope, reliance and comfort.