You are at work, ready to approach a customer on the lot, and that sinking feeling of anxiety hits, stopping you in your tracks.

I’ve been there. Both anxiety disorder and depression are, unfortunately, very common mental illnesses, and despite the increased awareness, both can hinder the ability to be a successful salesperson. Let’s discuss a few ways to overcome workplace anxiety.

I will preface by sharing a bit of insight about myself. I am a digital marketing professional with nearly 10 years of strategic experience in the automotive industry. I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder at a young age. The irony is not lost on me that I am an automotive social media strategist with social anxiety. I have developed coping strategies to alleviate the interference of depression and anxiety with my work. Below you will find some advice and guidance to help you become more successful with some simple tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I am not a doctor, I am just a car guy with years of experience persevering through anxiety and depression. None of these suggestions are intended to take the place of professional counseling, therapy, and/or medication.

My strongest word of advice is to develop a habit of separating your anxious and/or depressed self from your work persona. When you arrive at the dealership, imagine yourself as a new person. Like an actor portraying a character.  Create a habit of positivity every single day through mindful meditation, encouraging mantras, and positive self-talk. Practice each day and eventually, you will begin to perceive a shift as if you have “clicked” into a different mode the moment you arrive at work. I know it may sound far-fetched, but it works for me.

Creating a habit is not exactly easy, but it is achievable. There is a common misconception that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. This theory is based on the findings of Doctor Maxwell Maltz back in the 1950’s. When writing about habits, he stated that “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” Conversely, newer research conducted by the University College London suggests it takes much longer than 21 days to form a new habit, usually around 66 days. We’re talking 66 days of forced positivity. About 2 months of telling yourself “I am at work, I am going to be successful, I am not going to let anxiety or depression stop me from achieving my goals anymore!” Seems doable, right? Right!

How does all of this relate to your success? As you begin to focus energy on achieving success, the universe will respond. I don’t intend to imply that your anxiety disorder or depression will magically go away with the power of positive thinking – it will not. However, the mentality of “no bad days” has proven value. Focus on being happy. Wake up, smile into the bathroom mirror, and tell yourself that today is going to be a good day. Create a habit of happiness. I have listed out some of my helpful hints below. Feel free to print them out and read them when you start to feel depressed or anxious. Again, some of them may seem silly, but they work for me.

  • Remind yourself that you have survived every other panic attack. Just like all of the others, this one will pass. Be patient, you got this.
  • Depression is not your fault. There is nothing “wrong” with you. It is not something you can control and the fact that you are reading this right now, and seeking advice, indicates that you are already on the right path. Stay focused, success will follow.
  • Think about something positive. Smile. Watch something funny on your phone for a little brain break. Inhale and exhale slowly and remember that life is great. Remember your mantra #NoBadDays.
  • Need to escape? Do something productive with your time. Walk the lot. Learn your inventory. Take some photos with your phone and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Use your time away from your desk doing something which may generate business. Transfer your anxious energy into productive actions.
  • Nothing lasts forever. The tight feeling in your chest will be gone soon. Again, you got this!

The psychology of success is simple; you control your destiny. While you cannot control your anxiety and depression, you can remind yourself to relax and to focus on something else. Mental illness is not a choice, but positivity is. Many people in the automotive industry struggle every single day, and we can all learn from one another. If you have any helpful hints you have learned or things that help you, feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Dealer Authority is a small automotive digital marketing agency focusing on automotive SEO, social media marketing, and PPC. Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about how we sell cars with automotive digital advertising, search, and social.