When Something Negative Happens, Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

Hello! Writing from San Francisco (a couple recent iPhone photos here! Ahh, so gorgeous).

As expected, I do not have much time to blog amidst my new job training. Thanks for bearing with me this month until I hopefully hit a groove once I’m back in Chicago and can back get to this hobby o’ mine more consistently ๐Ÿ™‚

As a bit of a life update, all is well over here. I’m learning a lot (massive understatement, actually), meeting many amazing, smart and driven people, and thoroughly enjoying the California life. On Saturday I stepped back and decided I needed to see more of this city, so I walked/ran nonstop from morning until evening – saw all the tourist attractions by foot (pier 39, the Full House house, etc.), the Golden Gate bridge, farmer’s markets, Fort Mason, lunch at an adorable cafe people watching, more hours climbing SF’s hills (which do not play) and admiring the architecture and pastel colors of the homes. If I had worn my FitBit, it would’ve been proud. It was the kind of day that’s good for the soul. 

As for right now, I have a bit of a lull here in my Sunday before the evening’s activities so I thought I’d pop in with a little post that’s quite relevant to my life right now.

Before I started this job, I read the book To Sell is Human and then there actually ended up being a short presentation on it during my job training, so I thought I’d share something that I think is relevant to all of us.

For context, the premise of the book is about how sales has changed dramatically in a new age where there is information symmetry (largely as a result of the internet, the buyer can know just as much as the seller), and about how regardless of whether you are in a sales role professionally, people spend most of their days engaging in either actual selling or in non-sales selling. This could be teaching your child/a colleague to do something, pitching new business, negotiating something with your boss, etc. Makes sense if you think about it. Sales skills are critical and relevant for all of us to get where we want to go. After all, at the very least, we’re always selling our very selves to the people around us without even thinking about it. 

So anyway, the book mentions there are three questions you should ask yourself when something negative happens to you. Part of being successful at sales or non-sales selling, after all, is not letting rejection or failure get to you. And you all, today is a Monday, and usually Mondays tend to slap us around a bit, yes? So I thought we could all take these in stride. Without further adieu…

The Three P’s:

The 3 Questions to Ask Yourself After Negative Events Happen to You in Your Life, As They Certainly Will (Plus the Answers to These Questions)

1 – Is this situation permanent? (The answer is almost always no.) 

2 – Is this situation pervasive? Meaning, does it expand to every part of my life? (The answer is almost always no.)

3 – Should I take this super personally? (The answer is almost always – you got it – a resounding no.)

But seriously, when bad things happen – someone is curt with us, we are rejected, we don’t do something as well as we wanted, we fail at a task or project – we usually internalize that the answer is ‘yes’ to one of those three questions, even if it’s subconsciously. So I thought this was a really great reminder. 

Have a good one! xx

Love from this displaced midwestern gal, yours truly,


PS: For kicks, here are a couple other takeaways from the book that I highlighted. I hope you’ll find them useful and helpful too! 

  • “The opposite of talking isn’t listening. It’s waiting.”
  • In a study conducted, “those who’d received even a small injection of power became less likely to attune themselves to others’ points of views.” 
  • “Everything good in life – a cool business, a great romance, a powerful social movement – begins with a conversation…Conversations help us understand and connect with others in ways no other species can….but what’s the best way to start a conversation – especially with someone you don’t know well?…For Jim Collins, author of the classic Good to Great and other groundbreaking business books, the favorite is ‘Where are you from?'” “It allows the person to respond in a myriad of ways…it’s friendlier and more attuned than a question like ‘What do you do?'”
  • “We human beings talk to ourselves all the time – so much, in fact, that it’s impossible to categorize our self-talk. Some of it is positive, as in “I’m Strong, “I’ve got this!”…and some of it is negative: “I’ve never been good at math,” “There’s no way I’m going to do a great job at this.” But whether the talk is chest-thumping or ego-bashing, it tends to be declarative. It states what is or what will be. However, the person whose example you should be following takes a different tack. His name is Bob the Builder….and like all of us, Bob talks to himself. But Bob’s self-talk is neither positive nor declarative. Instead, to move himself and his team, he asks a question: Can we fix it?…Yes, positive self-talk is generally more effective than negative self-talk. But the most effective self-talk of all doesn’t merely shift emotions…it moves from making statements to asking questions. Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within.”
  • “How you see rejection often depends on how you frame it.”
  • Bear in mind the three essential rules of improvisational theater. They are: 1) Hear offers. 2) Say “yes and” and 3) Make your partner look good.
  • “Sales and non-sales selling are ultimately about service…improving others’ lives and, in turn, improving the world. Make it personal and make it purposeful.”

Plenty more where that came from in the book, if you want to give it a read. Perhaps on the below deck with a lavender latte in hand, surrounded by the summery smell of pink blooms? ๐Ÿ˜‰ xo.  

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