Self-Respect, Yes; Self-Obsession, Nay

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I had an epiphany recently; I have come to accept that everyone (whether male or female, young or old) in this world of ours is in sales business. We are all trying to sell something; whether it is oneself, a product or service.

Irrespective of your age or occupation, you have to sell yourself to move ahead in life. You have to overwhelm the opposite sex to win their love/affection, impress your teachers during assessments to pass, convince your potential employer that you are the next best thing after party Jollof rice during a job interview or market your product/service to attract customers.

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Sales business is all about the buyers and sellers who are emotional beings. Buyers need to be convinced of you as a person, your product or service to be interested in what you have to offer. Hence, a seller requires emotional intelligence (empathy) as well as self-respect, self-awareness, self-motivation, ability to listen, integrity and honesty to successfully deliver his/her pitch and make a sale.

The Igbos often say “Otu isi kposa ka aga esi goru” which simply means what/how you sell is what/how people will buy. Buyers don’t care or want to know how great you are until they understand how great you think they are. Infact, there is a myth that boastful and loquacious sellers have little or nothing to offer. Hear Frank Underwood (a fictional character in the TV series House of Cards), “Pay more attention to the print it is far more important than the selling price.”

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A seller that can control his/her words exudes confidence and self-respect. A strong sense of self-respect helps one fulfill his/her potential, develop healthy relationships with buyers and make them see you as a person worthy of respect. Absurdum est ut alios regat, qui seipsum regere nescit. Robert Greene once wrote, “A person that cannot control his words shows he cannot control himself, and is unworthy of respect.”

Nevertheless, there is a thin line between self-respect and self-obsession. In a desperate attempt to raise our self-respect, many cross this line and succumb to narcissism or self-obsession. While there is little or no doubt that people with low self-respect are often depressed, jealous and lack motivation, self-obsession can also be a conundrum. Richard Boyatiz, a Professor of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, once said in a lecture, “To large extent, our strengths and weaknesses are like a yin yang. They are in the context of each other. Any strength taken to extreme can become a weakness.”

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Self-obsessed individuals or narcissists are overconfident and have an unquenchable thirst to be perceived as the most important person in the room even if it means saying ill things or putting others down to feel good (a trait they share with individuals with low self-respect). It makes them feel significant hence they derive their sense of self from being good at something.

Self-obsession has more in common with low self-respect than we perceive; just with a different expression. Just like individuals with low self-respect, narcissists tend to get angry and aggressive towards those who make innocuous comments that irk their ego and make them feel bad about themselves.

Furthermore, they are often killjoys, flaunt and strut their accomplishments, compare a lot and hang out with people they feel are on their level. Human beings rarely accept their own feedbacks and narcissists are no different. However, facts are stubborn things and paying close attention to your own feedback (the most important information in this our sales world) will help you become a healthier, smarter and happier sales professional.

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Having a healthy respect for others is crucial and cannot be overemphasised. Strive Masiyiwa, one of Africa’s richest business men and most generous humanitarians, wrote on his Facebook page, “Being business minded requires you to approach things with humility and respect.” These two leadership traits will help you interact with your buyer(s) in a way that makes them feel valued and appreciated. Consequently, building longlasting partnership/relationship with your buyer(s). Always remember, a seller is nothing without his/her buyer(s) and individuals don’t need to be  important to be a potential buyer. Hear Bishop T.D. Jakes, “Take your time to enjoy your relationships. Nature teaches us, there’s no fruit without relationships..you need people. Surround yourself with good ones.”

The need for self-respect in sales (life) have led many to turn a blind eye to their shortcomings and flaws thereby developing a quasi-understanding of themselves. If you are in pursuit of self-respect, then you must have to accept yourself (including your limitations) and work everyday on becoming better. Investing in yourself is the best investment you can/will ever make. A good sales professional invests in his/her education, development and personal motivation; these are prerequisite tools.

Are you a good salesman?

And We Came To CrossRoads by Judie

Two peas in a pod!!!

We both turned instinctively, partly because we knew the voice and partly because we knew she was referring to us. We waited for N to join us and we all walked down the path to our hostels together, she marvelled at how close we both were, always together at all times and I knew she was silently wishing she could be a part of us.

Dee and I had attended senior secondary school together but we never exchanged words once, lo and behold she was the first person I met on getting into the University and we hugged like long lost friends, we were glad to have a found a friendly face in that no man’s land. Let me take out time to describe Dee.

Dee is a blessed child, she is beautiful, intelligent and talented, she could draw, she could sing, she could dance, she could even DJ!!! And best of all she is honest. While I on the other hand, I’m the awkward round glasses-wearing loyal to- a -fault friend but I never begrudged Dee her blessings, she was my friend and I loved her.

We helped each other through trying times, we laughed and cried together and it seemed like a friendship made in heaven, we talked about everything and anything, we were like kindred spirits in different bodies, we loved each other like sisters and kept in touch like lovers during school breaks until it happened.

I called Dee to find out how she was faring without me in school and her sister said “Dee left for church with N”, to say I was surprised is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, we were Christians, good girls but basically church wasn’t our “thing” especially not on a Wednesday!!! In all fairness, she tried to drag me to church but I wasn’t having it, I’d attend services but I really wasn’t feeling it, I’d go with her and then turn around to sulk and throw tantrums so eventually I stopped attending and nobody invited me anymore. More and more Dee and N found things to do together and more and more I was excluded from the group, we came to a crossroads; I couldn’t betray myself and attend services I wasn’t enjoying and Dee couldn’t find a middle ground with me and to make matters worse, I changed schools and then I was all but forgotten.

I could load a thousand five hundred recharge card to call Dee but we wouldn’t even begin to know what to say to each other, we are no longer two peas in a pod as my co-pea had found another pea, five years down line she replaced that pea with another pea but I had moved on, cos I realized my original co-pea had always been right there beside me despite the distance, despite the disagreements, the neglects et al but I didn’t see it cos I was blinded.

My new co-pea has shown me durability, steadfast love, honesty and above all consistency. I love her so and her name is O+.