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Are You ‘Pissed Off’ Enough To Be A Top Performer?

by David Brock on July 29th, 2014

I saw a brilliant video by Tom Peters, Innovation:  Angry People Make Change, be sure to watch it.

Being pissed off, angry, impatient is an important concept around success–particularly in sales.

Now before some of you jump all over me, these concepts represent a double edged sword.  We have to harness the positive, or constructive aspects of these characteristics if we are to be successful.  The negative, destructive aspects are a sure path to failure.

I think so much of what causes us–and our customers to fail to achieve our potential is that we aren’t pissed off.

Sure we may be annoyed, hassled, unhappy.  We may whine and complain about how things are, wishfully thinking about how great things would be if they were different from today.  Yet we do nothing, we live with the daily problems and challenges.  We accept the outcomes or results we get, perhaps blaming bad luck, or worse blaming someone else.  Or we confuse trying hard with results.  In sales and business, there are no “A’s for effort.”

Perhaps we try to change things, but we encounter resistance, we’re told, “We don’t do things that way.”  “We’ve tried that before.”  “Don’t rock the boat.”  “We better check with management.”  So we stop.

Maybe we try something, fail, then give up rather than figuring out what went wrong and fixing it.  After all, it wasn’t that big a deal.

As Tom points out, being pissed off is helpful.  It drives us to push through all the resistance we might encounter—the naysayers, the doubters, the oblivious.  It enables us to learn from failures or mistakes, but to continue moving forward.  It helps us overcome the inertia of what we do now, driving change that helps us achieve our goals, dreams and aspirations.

As sales people, we talk a lot about helping the customer find the “pain.”  Being pissed off is something like that.  Change won’t happen unless the current pain is far greater than the pain of change.  Whether it’s our customer needing to change and improve, or our organization that needs to change, or ourselves.  Until we are so upset with the current situation, it’s virtually impossible to sustain the effort that changes demands.  Being pissed off helps keep us going!

It’s important to understand what being pissed off is about–it’s so easy to go to the dark side of being pissed off.

Being pissed off at someone—a customer, a manager, a colleague doesn’t produce positive results–it’s really focused on assigning blame.

Being pissed off at someone–a customer, a manager, a colleague because they disagree is a disaster.  To move forward, it’s critical to understand their point of view, understand what they want to achieve, aligning what we do with their own vision.  Sometimes that means we have to change our point of view.

The more positive side of being pissed off is:

Being pissed off with the current situation–having a vision for changing and improving it can be powerful and constructive.  As long as we align everyone with what we are trying to do, with a shared vision and a shared dissatisfaction with the current situation.

Being upset when we fail to perform to our own personal standards or achieve our goals can be very powerful, as long as we don’t dwell on failure, but learn from it, focusing on how we do better next time.

Being pissed off means you care enough not to be satisfied with the way things are, that you are committed to seeing yourself and others achieve their potential.

Are you pissed off enough to push through the resistance you encounter?  Are you able to harness your impatience in a positive manner?

  1. Matt Gallant permalink

    Great blog. I love your creative ideas how to be always on your feet as a salesman or entrepreneur. I think i need to be more pissed off from now on. 🙂

  2. Francis permalink

    Great points you raised here…some I am already applying & others (not to dwell in failure) to share with my team.

    Thank you.

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