The Big Idea - Moving from Victim to Owner

Peninsula Team

August 27 2010

I recently read a fascinating book by a self-help guru called Steve Chandler entitled “Reinventing Yourself” and thought I’d share some of his inspiring ideas with you. I found the title a bit off-putting – I didn’t feel I needed to reinvent myself entirely although a bit of polishing around the edges would evidently be welcome. But the book proved a wealth of useful tips and ideas.

Steve’s main philosophy, and there’s nothing particularly new in it, is to move from a victim to an owner mentality - this applies not only to your business but to your emotional and physical life as well. It’s a very practical approach to help you make this shift, empowering yourself professionally and personally as a consequence.

One idea that struck me was its application to the sales arena. Steve observes that the salespeople who struggle the most in making a sale are those who behave with a victim mentality. For example, they apologise calling for an appointment and for taking people’s time; they apologise for taking more time to see them in person and eventually (if they make the sale), they apologise for taking their money.

Happy and successful salespeople, he notes, are givers rather than takers. Great salespeople “give advice, give the offer of a friendly service; they give a promise of a caretaking, professional relationship. They bring a great product to the world and see themselves as making a contribution to the lives of their customers.” By believing in your product, in yourself and in your ability to help your client through your relationship with them, Steve believes you move from a victim mentality to an owner mentality.

Like me, Steve is a big fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century American philosopher and thinker. He quotes Emerson’s famous phrase “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” Applied to a sales context – and it’s an incredibly simple and yet effective strategy – the best way to get the confidence and energy to make a sale get out there and make a sale.

It sounds both obvious and contradictory. Thanks for the advice, my friend, but if I haven’t got the motivation to make a sale then how can I get out there and do it? But Chandler’s point is that fear, which is ultimately the reason for lack of confidence, can only be overcome by doing what we most fear to do. In the words of Nike, “just do it”. It won’t happen on its own. So unless you get going and push for something with your heart and soul, you will get into a vicious circle of being de-motivated and demoralised. The mind shift has to come before the results will change.

I really enjoyed Chandler’s book and found it very approachable and hands on. I’ve already applied some of his concepts and found that they really do work. Sometimes common sense isn’t very common – but this book is full of little nuggets that really can transform the way you operate. He also has written another book of a similar nature called 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, which is next on my reading list.

Reinventing Yourself is available at:

Deborah Done, the author of our Big Ideas, is founder and director of Nab Communications, a freelance public relations agency which provides sensible and value for money PR advice to regional and national businesses.

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