Chapter 6: How OCD Will Help my Career

I’ve been watching a collection of Monk reruns recently, and as charming as Adrian Monk’s ingenious, quirky character is, I can’t help but cringe along with his castmates when I look up to see him straightening the shades of every single lamp occupying the room of a murder scene.  This is not because his obsessive compulsive tendencies make me uncomfortable, it’s actually quite the opposite: I see a little too much of myself in him.  I know exactly how it feels to need to tap surrounding objects in a given pattern an exact number of times.  I, too, have obsessive compulsive disorder, and contrary to the condition’s portrayal on Monk, it has helped me on a regular basis.

Playing competitive collegiate tennis is stressful.  You push your body as hard as you can for hours every day, and then have the pressure resting on your shoulders of making it pay off.  There will be times the match is all tied up, you’re the last one on court, everybody is depending on your win to feel that pay off, and you’ve got to close.  My mind deals with that stress by thinking compulsively.  I’ll say to myself, “If you don’t tap the back fence with your right shoulder twice, touch your forehead to your strings, and tap right in front of the baseline with the edge of your racket three times, you’re going to lose this point.”  Yes, I have absolutely received time warnings from this process, but I have also refined it.  I’ve focused my energy on transforming “if you don’t do this you’re going to lose,” into, “if you do this, you’re going to win the point.”  I might have to complete a series of ridiculous looking tasks, not without drawing some whispers from the sidelines, but by the time I walk up to the baseline and start the point, I am fully convinced that I am meant to win that point.  Each person has to find their own way of dealing with that stress.  I’ve got it covered: my coping strategy is built-in.  I might have to listen to my compulsions and deal with judgemental stares in the process, but I was also the clincher in the finals of the NCAA tournament to win Emory a national championship.  There’s clearly something to it.

I’m graduating this year, and inevitably, my tennis career will come to an abrupt halt.  I’ve made the decision to channel my competitive energy into a career that requires it, and I am confident that having OCD will help me be successful in my sales career.  Having OCD will keep me in a continuous state of keeping my act fully together, because that’s the only option I have.  I’ve had to close out a match hundreds of times; I can, and will, use the same strategies to close out a sale.

Some of the key trials of the sales process I’ve learned thus far from my sales development internship at LeadUp are: staying calm and level-headed, being relatable, preparing sufficiently, adopting a customer-centric model (CCM) rather than a sales-centric one, and inspiring passion in your champion.  So, let’s address those one by one:

  • The solution to staying calm and appearing relatable is founded in stress management, because the only way to exude a relaxed persona is to really be relaxed.  While everybody else is searching for their tick, like I said before, my stress-coping mechanism is built in.  I’ve found what keeps me calm when it matters, and I’ll continue to utilize it.
  • Doing the pre-call preparation and incorporating the CCM are two things you just need to get done; that’s really all there is to it. From having OCD, I am very familiar with what it feels like to be overwhelmed when you fail to just get things done, and the solution is developing a refined routine, something I have all too much experience with.  Adopting the CCM and completing the necessary research will become part of my pre-call routine, and I don’t stray from a routine, trust me.
  • Finally, the secret behind inspiring a passionate champion is coming from a passionate standpoint.  My experience with positively directing my thoughts will translate directly to being passionate, because my results truly mean everything to me.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may be defined by having intrusive thoughts, but those thoughts can be proactive if utilized positively.  By the time I’m through with refining this method, it’ll be as close to perfect as I can get; anything else would irk me to no end.   I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, does this mean that if I don’t have OCD I’m doomed as a salesperson?” The answer is no!  Well, even if you weren’t thinking that, tune into my future blogs to find out how all you non-compulsive-regular-people can succeed in sales ;).