Justin Ricklefs


You Can’t Outsource Approval

“Sales isn’t a place to get your emotional needs met…”

A boss of mine dropped that truth bomb on me in my mid-20’s, and I’ll never forget it.

I had explained to him how I was almost certain we’d get this deal done.

It was in the bag. They really liked our company. They really liked the presentation. They really liked me.

Or so I thought.

I’m sure his 40+ year old self could see the codependence oozing from my pores.

Please like me. Please pick me. Please think I’m ok.

We had to have a different conversation a few weeks later.

“Uh, well..they said no.”

“But I thought they REALLLLLY liked us?”

Point taken.

The reality was I’d outsourced my need for approval.

I was in the sales process more for how it would make me feel, or appear, than I was trying to command an engagement and find a solution for this client.

I wish mid-20’s version of me was fully mature. I wish I could say I never look to an outside entity for approval.

My wife.

My kids.

My community.

My team.

My clients.

My friends.

The reality is, it’s not fully gone.

Having the approval of others isn’t wrong or bad.

But perhaps we should find it within first, instead of outsourcing it.

Seems like a better way to get our emotional needs met…

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