Embrace the Unpleasant: Prioritizing Needs Over Wants for Success

Welcome to LESSON #10
Embrace the Unpleasant | Amwork

“The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.”

—Albert E. N. Gray in The Common Denominator of Success

In this lesson, we delve into the core of sales pipeline management success. Until now, we've discussed specific tasks, but the true power of your efforts lies in your ability to make the tough choices that set you apart.

Choosing the Hard Path

Allow me to share a personal story from my early days in sales when I embarked on a summer job selling educational books door-to-door in San Jose, California. Initially, I faced numerous rejections, with some prospects shutting the door on me before I could even begin my presentation.

However, I observed that Hispanic families in the area were more welcoming. They would, at the very least, let me complete my demonstration before politely declining. It became evident that dedicating time to sell to friendly families might be comfortable but wouldn't yield many sales.

So, I made a difficult choice. I decided to avoid the friendly streets and concentrate my efforts in areas where rejections were more common. It was a challenging decision, but it paid off—I made more sales and honed my salesmanship in the process.

The Hard Choice in Sales

Sales professionals must confront a similar choice. Rejection is an inevitable part of sales, and our natural inclination is to avoid it. This aversion to rejection is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, where making the wrong choice in a fight-or-flight situation could have dire consequences. Ironically, you must face this fear of rejection because your ancestors made the right choices.

Overcoming Your Fears

It's natural for us to develop habits that minimize our exposure to rejection, but success in sales requires doing the unnatural until it becomes second nature. You might discover that dealing with mid-level managers is less intimidating, as they are easier to reach and more amiable. However, they often lack decision-making authority.

Embrace Unpleasantness

In life, and particularly in sales pipeline management, you'll encounter tasks you may find unpleasant. The key is to persist until these tasks become habits. As you do so, the discomfort lessens, and there will come a time when the fear of rejection either fades or becomes so mild that it goes unnoticed.

Albert Gray's words ring true: “Any resolution or decision you make today has to be made again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the next, and so on. If you continue the process of making it each morning and keeping it each day, you will finally wake up some morning a different person in a different world, and you will wonder what has happened to you and the world you used to live in.”

Discover Your “Why”

One effective way to adhere to challenging habits is by understanding your deeper motivation. Why did you choose a career in sales? It's not merely about the desired commission—everyone wants that. Seek a profound reason. Perhaps you aim to make a lasting impact on the world or provide a better life for your children. Maybe you refuse to live with the regret of “What if…?” It could be a combination of these and more.

Remember, while everyone enjoys pleasant activities, the successful individual craves pleasant outcomes. Sales is a realm filled with unpleasant tasks that ultimately lead to rewarding results.


  1. Determine how many new conversations you need to add to your pipeline each week and set a goal for this.
  2. Maintain your momentum, regardless of your feelings. Don't break the chain.
  3. Read “The Common Denominator of Success” by Albert E. N. Gray.

You're almost there! Hurry up and go to our penultimate lesson!

Matteo Bianchi

Matteo Bianchi


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