Picture this: you just launched a new online course, and you’re excited to share it with the world. After running ads and posting about it on social media, you start to book some sales calls. This is great news! You’ve listened to podcasts on selling, read a few must-read sales books, and believe that you are ready to go. You show up to each call excited to close the sale, but every call ends with the same, disappointing, “Let me think about it,” or “Let me get back to you.” Flash forward a few days, and they still haven’t gotten back to you or followed through with the purchase.
Over time, this starts to discourage you, and you start each sales call expecting it to go in the same way. “What’s the point?” you think to yourself, believing that the failure has to do with your product, so you slowly stop promoting it at all.
What is a negative feedback loop?
One of the most sabotaging behaviors anyone can fall into is what’s called a “negative feedback loop.” You’ve likely created a few negative feedback loops of your own but didn’t know it. The situation I just explained above is a classic example of what exactly this loop is: you think you’re doing something the right way, but it isn’t turning out exactly how you’d hoped. Over time, since it’s happened so frequently, you come to expect that the outcome won’t be what you’re hoping for – every sales call will end with an objection, every cold email will end with a “Sorry, not interested,” and every product launch will flop.
As I share in my book, The New MBA, this cycle of expecting, acting, and receiving bad results is a negative feedback loop. When we look deeper at these feedback loops, it’s usually the result of the core belief that you’re not good enough. While this isolated example of sales calls going awry happens frequently, there’s another type of negative feedback loop that could keep you from even starting that business or going after your dream to begin with: you expect that no one will care about what you’re building, or you tell yourself that dangerous, “I’ll start tomorrow.”
That “I’ll start tomorrow” is JUST a thought, but it can alter the course of your life. Imagine if you started today. Imagine if you EXPECTED that you’d actually close the sale on this next call. That the person on the other end of that cold email would say yes! Thoughts feel so casual, but they have more power than you think – because what you think influences what you do or don’t do.
How to smash the negative feedback loops
One of the reasons thoughts are so powerful is because it’s hard to get out of the same thought pattern if you’ve had it for a long time. It is no easy feat to simply decide to rewrite the script. So, these following tips will help you SMASH your negative feedback loops and introduce more positive, pump-up feedback into your thought cycle, so you can better encourage yourself to do and accomplish all that you dream of!
1. Learn, learn, learn.
The loop can stop mid-cycle if you seek to learn from what is going wrong. In the example of the sales calls, what would’ve happened differently if rather than believing you were BAD at sales, you took the time to learn more about how to bypass objections? Remember that no one is ever good at every single thing right out of the gates. If something isn’t going the way you want it to, seek to learn from experts or ask a mentor for advice. Read books and listen to podcasts on the discipline. See what you can learn, then apply these learnings to your next try.
If your negative feedback loop is that you aren’t actually taking any type of action towards your goals, then perhaps you can learn about productivity tips that hold you accountable to the plans you set for tomorrow. That way, rather than once again saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you have a new plan to embrace the day and take real action toward your goals.
2. Take credit for happy accidents.
It’s so easy to have something go well and to instead chock it up to luck. Even if it appears to be luck – like the person sitting next to you on the train happens to know a manufacturer they can connect you with when you’ve been searching like crazy for a good fit – take credit for it. Congratulate yourself for a job well done! However you want to look at it, you attracted that happy accident to you. And, it did require some action on your behalf – you had to strike up a conversation and put yourself out there talking about your entrepreneurial idea to even get that connection in the first place! You have to give yourself more credit to start to interrupt these negative feedback loops.
3. Fake it until you make it.
If you’re still struggling with some deep-seated beliefs about your worth, put on an begin to tell yourself that you’re #1 in your industry, and even if you don’t believe it – fake the belief about yourself until you make it. I’m not telling you at all to lie on a sales call about what you can do – but rather, to radically change how you think about yourself. Tell yourself that you are The Holy Solution that your prospect is looking for, then prove it to them. Tell yourself you are The Chosen One and that luck will follow you everywhere as you build your company, then watch how luck shows up! Over time, this self belief will become real – because the more you can act in a certain way, the more the things around you will change as a result. See what happens when you insert a bit of confidence.
I share other tips for smashing negative feedback loops in my new book, The New MBA. The first step is identifying that you have them, so if this article attracted your attention – congratulations! You are already on your way to smashing those loops and instating new and positive ones.