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Mental health’s effect on sales performance

Much has changed in recent years for mental health awareness and acceptance in sales but there remains work to be done. However sales is sales and quota’s gotta be hit.


I have diagnosed anxiety and likely undiagnosed ADHD. At times this has helped me in terms of making me paranoid, more prone to follow up, not having happy ears, and semi regularly slip into very productive hyper focus.


At the same time it has also impeded my success in the forms of call reluctance, disorganization, and lowercase sadness.

Is mental illness 100% bad for sales performance?
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🙏 Mental Wellness
4
salesnerd
WR Officer
+14
Head of Growth
A ton of good sellers I know (myself included) have diagnosed ADHD. I don't think it's terrible for sales, sales is a profession that rewards people who are after short-term satisfaction. Once you close a deal, you're on to the next one. Always seeking that high.

The anxiety is a whole other boat here. I've had times where anxiety has gotten the better of me, but I generally don't have much anxiety, so I can't speak to that.
deviantzen
WR Lieutenant
+9
Consultant
There distinction between anxiety, which is normal, and anxiety disorder, which is chronic, should be the differentiator here. I think for the former you can combat it by limiting the stressors that trigger anxiety.

unfortunately with the latter the anxiety can be rooted in brain chemistry imbalance which you can’t really gameplay around.

that said anxiety medication is both awesome and not conducive towards mental acuity and for sales Id rather have the latter 
TheJohnDalyofSales
Good Citizen
+1
SDR Manger
I agree with this. I have ADHD and I think it helps me in sales because I am constantly having to do something. I think it has some effect on production as well. 

I think anxiety is common in sales, but it’s hard to not have even a little bit of it. When you’re approaching the end of the month or quarter and you aren’t quite at your quota, it finds it’s way to sneak in whether you like it or not to some degree unfortunately.
MrMotivation
Opinionated
+3
Sales
Might be a different take because I don't have experience with ADHD... Early in my sales career, I took my sales performance home with me. I did the same thing in high school/college with athletics. It's a lose lose. It negatively impacts you and those around you. 

Once I was able to separate my self worth from my quota attainment, I was happier, hitting my number was easier, and conversations ended more positively than before. 

It is important to control what you can control. If it is something that you don't have direct influence over, then my rule is that I am not allowed to stress about it
deviantzen
WR Lieutenant
+9
Consultant
I think there’s a distinction between taking work home and dealing with a mental health burden that you can’t really shut off.

Culmination of different things last year led me to stop selling for others and start selling for myself and I can def agree that certain mental tricks help performance. 

thanks for the insight
Robot
Catalyst
+5
Regional Sales Manager
I honestly can say I have had bad anxiety my entire life. I went to the hospital several time in college for severe anxiety attacks.

As soon as I quit smoking cigs and sleeping better it got better for me. Fast forward 10 years, I now take nootropics to sooth my anxiety and I don't even get nervous much now.

Cold calling was a major scary moment for me when I was thrown into it. I got over it quick and immediately started conversations with C-suite execs.

The net is, adapt, and overcome. 
deviantzen
WR Lieutenant
+9
Consultant
The tricky part is when your anxiety actually puts you in a bad bad spot where it’s not like “oh you’re just afraid because of the unknown”

but then work related thing actually brings you to panic attacks and potentially escalating towards self harm etc is when it might not be worth it

Knowing yourself is key imo
slaydie
Politicker
+3
Account Executive
Sales is a mind twist, it certainly beats you down and drags you through the mud every now and again. I've found that when I get anxious or worried about deals or being low on the leader board etc then I spiral which in turn makes my performance worse. Like @MrMotivation, separating work from home and self worth from quota attainment is huge. Additionally, I would add that not comparing yourself to your teammates can also be a mental life saver. I've stopped obsessively looking at the leader board and more so focused on my individual goals that I set out monthly and quarterly. I work to achieve those and do my best and that has helped tons. I find that I am in my head less and perform better at my job. Of course, I think there comes a point where it's too much and I've seen a handful of teammates pivot successfully to other careers in tech.
deviantzen
WR Lieutenant
+9
Consultant
Honestly this is why I left a traditional selling role and pivoted to entrepreneurship. I know at this stage I can’t trust myself to avoid those things so had to adapt
WCK
Politicker
+7
Senior Local Client Partner
I have both actually, diagnosed general anxiety as well as undiagnosed(diagnosed? idk) ADHD. I have the same issues you do as well lol. Therapy has helped my anxiety a ton, which has helped my performance lulls, and keeping a structured calendar has been key for the ADHD.
deviantzen
WR Lieutenant
+9
Consultant
I’ve had mixed experiences with therapy but agree with the cal blocking. One thing I’m becoming more cognizant of is not overloading my day to the point I know I won’t be able to accomplish everything since that jump kicks my anxiety and self hate into overdrive.
WCK
Politicker
+7
Senior Local Client Partner
Oh absolutely lol. I have benchmarks I set for myself at certain points of the day, I try to fill my calendar, and I just do my best to plug along
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