Staying Motivated

Article provided for The Plumb Club by Kate Peterson, PC Performance Concepts

To succeed as a jewelry professional, you’ve got to stay motivated and energized.

Things like closing a sale, earning a raise, or receiving a compliment from a customer or colleague can help with this. But in the long run, there’s more to it than specific events. That’s because the forward personal movement we call motivation has a number of separate components. Chief among them are physical well-being, mental stimulation, and emotional involvement. For optimum performance, all three of these components must be at peak levels. When you hit a dip, it may help to step back—or sit down—and ask yourself why.

One of the most frequent reasons for a feeling of low energy or lack of motivation is pure and simple physical fatigue. You might not dig ditches for a living, but you’re on your feet pretty much all day every day—and that ultimately translates into hard work. Besides comfortable shoes, the best preventives in this area are a good night’s sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of healthy exercise.

Chronic fatigue may be a symptom of illness, and you need to consult your doctor if that becomes a concern. Even with the best health and regimen, however, you’re bound to have physical lulls. At such times, a quick dose of caffeine or sugar—or both—might seem to do the trick. But the effects probably won’t last long, and you may actually be left feeling lower. A better, more effective alternative is taking a break and getting some exercise.
Doing light calisthenics or maybe a little tai chi in the back room is a good option. Even better is a brisk walk. And if you can take it in fresh air, that’s better yet.

Another reason for loss of motivation is lack of mental stimulation—in other words, boredom. Like physical doldrums, a little of this every once in a while is almost inevitable. So, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean you’ve made a wrong career choice. In fact, it may indicate that you’ve mastered past challenges or existing responsibilities, and you’re ready to take on new ones.

You can avoid major burnout by having a life outside the store—hard as that sometimes might be to imagine. Despite the long to-do lists we all tend to make for ourselves, it’s important to have both “down” and “fun” time on your days off. Besides upping your energy and motivation for work, recreational activities can provide conversation starters and rapport builders. So, if you feel the need to rationalize having a good time, tell yourself that going out to dinner and a movie is really customer research.

For pick-me-ups at work, try developing a selection of mental exercises. To fit in with your schedule these will probably have to be relatively short and self-contained, but they also need to be varied. Just about anything that breaks up the routine is okay. Excellent choices for while you’re on the sales floor include reviewing the profile of a gem you might sell, going over the features of an item in your showcase, touching-up a display, and finalizing your follow-up list for the day.

The third element in the motivation equation is emotional involvement. You could also call this enthusiasm. It’s the high-voltage spark that jumps across the counter from you to the customer and ignites the desire to own the jewelry you present.

Enthusiasm is born from appreciation of your products, your customers, your firm, and your profession. It can’t be counterfeited, but it can be cultivated. A good way to start is by roleplaying typical sales scenarios. This is one reason why role-playing is included in the follow-up exercises for many meetings.

To generate enthusiasm, when you role-play concentrate on what actors and public speakers call “delivery”—finding the right combination of words, vocal emphasis, and body language to communicate the message you want to get across. This will help you work through questions and fine-tune your
presentations so your natural excitement can take center-stage when it counts.

If your motivation, energy, and enthusiasm drop during the day, take a few moments to remind yourself of what you’re doing and why. After all, your profession centers around helping people choose objects of great beauty to celebrate some of life’s most joyous occasions. To connect with that from the heart, just picture the look on the face of a satisfied customer or think about the people who receive the gifts you help your customers select.