- Illustration by Aleutie via Getty Images

Illustration by Aleutie via Getty Images

The car business is full of people chasing success on some level — power, titles, promotions, big grosses, or personal income. We have all witnessed (or been) the 20-plus-car guy or gal who suddenly can’t sell 10, or the GM or sales manager who is on their way to the top and out of nowhere crashes and burns. The question we must ask is “Why?”

Self-sabotage is one issue, and it’s common among those who move into a realm of success they think or feel they don’t deserve. Take the 15-car sales pro who reaches the 20-car tier. Suddenly there is more money and recognition but also higher expectations and pressure. After a couple months, they’re back down to 15 and, consciously or unconsciously, they’re more comfortable and making all the money they believe they deserve.

If you are laughing right now, that means you have never experienced self-sabotage or seen it happen to a colleague. But I’ll bet you have heard of the countless lottery winners who wind up worse off than they were before their windfall. Why? They did not feel deserving of or were simply not prepared for that level of success.

The good news is this is an alterable behavior. Here’s how to avoid self-sabotaging your dealership career:

1. Be Honest With Yourself.

Let’s pretend you are a dealer or senior manager whose numbers used to be great and have recently fallen back to “good.” Why? You may have felt undeserving because you had such an abundance, and perhaps you grew up with very little — a very common scenario in the meritocracy of the dealership world.

So let’s be honest. Have you sabotaged your own success? Look at your behavior and ask yourself whether it is consistent with what you want to achieve. Think about your expectations and whether they are consistent with what you feel you want.

You must go deep inside to do this, to your core. If your core belief is that money is the root of all evil and rich people are arrogant jerks, then you won’t have all the financial success that you could.

2. Make Yourself Uncomfortable.

To reach the pinnacle of success, you must get uncomfortable. At times, you must get very uncomfortable. You must stretch and grow to get the success you desire. You must find joy in the work and in the journey. You must develop productive habits.

For example, if times of stress cause you to reach for your cigarettes, replace that with going for a walk or reading motivational quotes. When a major conflict arises, don’t explode and don’t clam up. Fight those urges and remain calm during the storm. Most importantly, show no fear. Fear is the No. 1 dealbreaker and anger is a close second. Avoid these destructive emotions as much as possible.

3. Control Your Thoughts.

We must welcome success and progress throughout our careers. Become a student of your own thoughts and keep track of them. Allowing your thoughts to snowball out of control will lead you right back to your comfort level — or lower.

We are here to be productive, we are here to create, we are here to succeed. To avoid self-sabotage, get acquainted with your thoughts, dreams, and goals, get comfortable with discomfort, and know that you deserve the best this life has to offer.

Jason Heard is the general manager of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) Honda. He is a 25-year industry veteran with extensive sales and sales management experience. Contact him at [email protected]

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