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ANXIETY: Breaking the Mental Shackles

Anxiety in roofing sales is completely CRIPPLING. It makes us feel shackled and totally panicked to leave the house, drive up that long driveway, or approach a door.

And when we’re shackled by anxiety, which is fear and worry, we end up:

  1. Seeing our income completely capped by this ceiling constructed by our own internal roadblock.
  2. Struggling to feel motivated and actually get out and do the work

If we don’t get our anxiety under control and have a tool to move through it — not around it — then we will likely see our time in roofing sales end.

So, I want to get REAL here and share with you my own story inspired by two people:

  • Scott, who commented on one of my videos, 10 Tips for Knocking Doors for Your First Time, asking me to cover anxiety
  • Josh, who messaged me privately, sharing that he gets super anxious driving up long driveways and that he needs a way to get past this.

Whether you’ve experienced slight anxiety, just in certain situations (cold calling or your first few knocks of the day) or you have crippling anxiety (and can’t get out of your own vehicle), I want to share my own journey through this, not as a preacher, but as someone who’s gone through it.

In fact, I haven’t shared this publicly before, but I have struggled with anxiety in a really BIG way for most of my life.

As a child, I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in therapy specifically for anxiety. I had such bad anxiety that:

  • I didn’t even sleep away from my house until I was about 18 years old.
  • I had panic attacks constantly, both as a child and going into roofing sales.
  • Learning how to overcome my own anxieties was a MASSIVE journey for me.

With all that anxiety, I also have tendencies to be a people pleaser due to my home environment as a kid. So, these personal challenges were very, very intense, and I don’t see enough people talking about this stuff in our industry.

That’s why:

  • I wanted to bring some heart, openness, and vulnerability to the very real struggles that TONS of people go through — and that we often feel like we’re going through alone when we experience it ourselves.
  • I get questions and messages, even when I’m speaking at events, with folks talking about this topic. So, thank you, Scott and Josh, for being vulnerable, real, and inspiring this topic.

Before we dive in, I first want to say welcome or welcome back. Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist, here. Everything we do here is designed to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.

And I do what I do because I estimate that:

  • About 66% of roofing sales reps quit or get fired in their very first year.
  • Those who survive past one year in the industry often quit or get fired later on because they aren’t prepared to succeed.

And that preparation includes mental prep, your mindset, and it’s exactly what we’re going to cover here.

Now, let’s dive in and talk about anxiety.

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Anxiety in Life & D2D Roofing Sales

Anxiety is very REAL. We must understand it, and we can look at it through the lens of fear.

In fact, fear is really what we’re actually nervous about.

So, anxiety is a resistance to a feeling that:

  • Bubbles up, with thoughts like, I’m afraid, I’m worried, I’m anxious.
  • Creates panic and instantly makes us think, I don’t want to feel that way. So, we’re afraid of the fear. That’s what anxiety ultimately is — fear of a feeling.
  • Can grow and intensify the more we resist it

Now, I want to share more about this with two stories.

How Anxiety Works & Limits Us: Story 1

A gentleman that reached out to me last year. He was a combat veteran who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don’t recall exactly where, but he was in one of the most dangerous places, with regular firefights, horrific stuff, and his life literally on the line.

So, he emails me one day, saying (and I’m paraphrasing):

Adam, I never once skipped a beat in combat.

But, for some reason, the fear and anxiety of knocking on doors is CRIPPLING.

I can’t even get out of my own truck.

Now, this is someone who literally has put their life on the line without skipping a beat, but for some reason, this fear that was manufactured in his mind was getting in his way. It kept him from succeeding in roofing sales.

How Anxiety Arises & Gets in Our Way: Story 2

The second story I’m going to share about anxiety has to do with FEAR as well.

When I went cliff jumping for the very first time, I was in Belize, and I had to scramble up this river. I was with a group in a boat, and we all had to scramble up this cliff.

It was SO SPOOKY because it was a 40-foot jump.

Now, that sounds high, and it was for me. It was also really steep. Any slipping meant tumbling down, straight onto the rocks below.

As we were all scrambling up this cliff, my heart was pounding the whole way you get to the top. At the top, the guides told us that we need to jump pretty far because:

  • There were really sharp rocks right below.
  • It was shallow right below, so we needed to jump out far enough to land in a deep enough spot of the river.

Standing on the edge of this cliff looking down:

  • My heart was POUNDING.
  • The longer I stood there anticipating this jump, the more my fear and anxiety about it built up. I couldn’t stop thinking, Is this going to hurt? How is it going to feel? Am I going to get far enough out? What if I drown? What if I get stuck in the current? All these things are going through my mind, and the longer I stood there, the worse it got.
  • I’d step up to the edge to jump; then, I’d step back and let someone else go, watching them and thinking, Okay, they were fine. Good. It was like sending the canary into the coal mine.
  • After seeing several jumps, I FINALLY thought, I have GOT to face this thing.

So, finally, I just went for it. I JUMPED, doing my pencil dive and plunging safely into the water. At that moment, I was SO excited! It was AWESOME!

Right when I popped up for air, I said, ‘We HAVE to do that again!”

The lessons — both here and in the story about the combat veteran — are that:

  1. We have to face our anxieties and work through them, not around them.
  2. When we recognize that anxiety is a resistance to a feeling, we can push back against those feelings, fighting back and facing them head-on.

That’s what we’re going to learn how to do now.

FEAR: How to Get Past Fear in Life & D2D Roofing Sales

First, we’re going to talk about FEAR. Now, I’ve learned a great acronym for the word “fear:”

Feeling Excited And Ready

So, instead of thinking about fear as feeling afraid or scared, we can start to rewire our minds and think about “fear” in a whole new way — a way in which “fear” means feeling excited and ready.

With that shift in how we think about fear, we can also take control of our experience and our mindset.

It’s like when I was standing on the edge of the cliff. The instant I started to feel fear, I shifted my thinking and said to myself:

I am feeling excited and ready to go!

Then, I could jump. So, when we CAN:

  • Consciously rewire our mind
  • Look at those feelings of fear and EMBRACE them as feeling excited and ready.

Roofing Sales Mindset: How to Disarm Anxiety & Fear with Logic

Next, let’s look at all of this through the lens of logic. Often, it helps to grab a pen and a piece of paper and start journaling, writing down:

  1. Your sources of anxiety: What makes you anxious?
  2. Your fears: What are you afraid of?

For most of us, our lists will have some of the same fears, like:

  1. Feeling rejected
  2. Freezing up
  3. Not knowing what to say at all
  4. Facing and dealing with conflict, like screaming and name calling
  5. Feeling like a failure.

Those were my biggest fears, and yours may be the same or different.

The point is the write them ALL down so that:

  • You approach them logically.
  • You now develop some coping mechanisms for tackling your fears.

Now, I’m going to share some fear-tackling strategies with you.

Roofing Sales Strategies for Tackling Fear & Anxiety

Before we dive into the strategies for dealing with fear and anxiety, I want to give full credit where credit’s due. I learned this from Barry McDonough and his book entitled, DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks.

I listened to it on Audible, and I’d recommend that format. Whether you read it or listen to it, this book shares some incredibly valuable stuff — and I was in therapy as a small child for anxiety.

In fact, for as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety in a very real way. Not once did I experience any sense of relief or ways to encounter it (versus talking around it) until:

  1. I read the DARE book.
  2. I learned Barry McDonough’s DARE response.

Now, I strongly recommend that you read that book because it’s not up to me to teach Barry McDonough’s framework here.

Still, I want to shed some light on the key concepts from that book that helped me the most because that’s when I understood the logic of my anxiety and fear. So, I just listed it out and followed the DARE framework. That’s:

  • Diffusing: This means literally experiencing that anxiety and understanding that what you’re worried about may not be that bad. So, if you’re anxious about getting rejected, diffusing is realizing that you’re in sales and rejection happens. Afraid of freezing up in your pitch? Well, if you do, you’ll learn what to do next time to NOT freeze up. What about conflict and angry customers? Well, the lesson here is that I can’t serve everybody. It’s NOT a personal attack on me.
  • Logic and listing: Next, we’re going to list out ALL those things we’re afraid of. That gives us that opportunity to approach this stuff head-on and maybe even realize that some of our fears and anxieties are based in kind of silly things. In fact, we may even realize that we’re NOT afraid of some stuff.

Then, we need to use the tools in the DARE response; after the “D” there are:

  • Accept and allow
  • Run towards it (don’t hide from it)
  • Engage yourself, meaning turn your attention back to what you’re doing

Now, that may sound crazy simple. And it is. In fact, when I first read that book, I thought, That’s a little weird and cheesy.

BUT it has truly, truly changed my life.

Final Tool to Help You Beat Anxiety in Roofing Sales & Life

The last tool I want to share is another strategy from Barry McDonough’s book, and it involves giving your fear a persona. So, when your anxiety sneaks in, you can name it, like it’s a little character.

I have a name for my anxiety — but I can’t share it here because my anxiety is named something quite explicit. Regardless, though, it helps me feel EMPOWERED.

In fact, my anxiety is:

  • A little troll with pink hair and a pink tutu
  • Named Little B**** (you can fill in the blanks)

Actually, I was on a run the other day, totally cashed and running uphill, with my heart pounding. I just want to quit and walk, but instead of giving in, I thought:

Oh, that’s just my Little B**** in his little pink tutu popping up.

So, I visualized every single step to be death by a thousand cuts. Every step was a little knife cut, and I just bled out that Little B**** — and I felt SO empowered. Funny enough, whenever that anxiety comes up and I do this, I can KNOCK IT OUT and really beat it.

Again, I know this may sound cheesy, and I feel so vulnerable sharing this publicly, but it HAS truly helped me. That’s why I want to give you these tools to:

  1. Acknowledge that anxiety.
  2. Logically list what you’re afraid of.
  3. Reorient your fear, rewiring those feelings of being afraid to feelings of being excited and ready.
  4. Name your anxiety demon and visualize it.

The final piece is to read the DARE book. And even when you’re getting into parts that don’t feel like they apply to you, I highly recommend sticking with it because they often will.

How to Get Better at Beating Anxiety: Final Strategy

Here’s my final call to action — PRACTICE. You need to practice getting through anxiety because if you truly want to get past it, you HAVE to work through it.

Now, applying what I learned in that book and making some lifestyle changes has been game-changing for me. So, I’m going to share those lifestyle changes with you right now.

Those game-changing lifestyle changes were to:

  1. Sleep: I didn’t sleep a whole bunch in the past. Now, I get 8 to 10 hours a night because 8 hours is the barebones minimum amount of sleep necessary to be restorative. It’s mission-critical. When I made this change, I had to drop my bro-y nature of trying to go to bed later and wake up earlier. There’s only so much time in the day to seize every moment. In the long run, it’s just not practical to short-change yourself on sleep.
  2. Eliminate caffeine: If you struggle with anxiety, caffeine will zip you up. So, I’ve switched to herbal tea. I don’t do caffeine at all.
  3. Get in aggressive workouts: I run every single morning. I don’t do it for my physical health; I do it for my mental health. That has given me an outlet to burn energy because cortisol (the stress hormone) naturally is higher in the mornings. So, if you wake up with anxiety at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. with your mind spinning, running through your to-do list, go burn a bunch of energy in a high-intensity workout.

Those are the three main things. With that, something else that’s worked for me (and I’m NOT a nutritionist) is getting the proper form of magnesium. Again, Barry McDonough shares in his book what types to take in the morning versus evening, and that has been monumentally helpful for me, along with using that DARE response.

So, I hope this helps you tackle anxiety and bring your authentic, true self every day so that you can be the BEST servant possible for everyone you serve.

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Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.