When you think of a successful salesperson, you may picture an outgoing, extroverted person who spends more time at the office than at home. Though he thought the same at the start of his career, Brandon Fluharty has learned that being an introvert has its own power.
“Introversion is not something you typically associate with sales,” he says. “You think of this very extroverted, social person. I’m not that. But I’ve also come to realize that it’s been a superpower for me. And that’s how I can be super strategic and how I can be an asset to my clients in these really large companies by going deeper and thinking bigger and taking that time to be introspective, not only for myself but for my clients.”
Early on in his career, however, Brandon struggled to keep up with the demands of his job. People in sales are two to three times more likely to suffer from mental issues, stress, and depression. In his high-pressure environment, his mental health suffered.
“I suffered from depression early on in my years [from] a combination of a lot of factors,” he says. “But being an introverted person in a team environment and not really understanding, I thought there was something wrong with me.”
In 2011, he suffered a stroke that thankfully left no long-term effects. Doctors couldn’t find a medical cause for it, but Brandon believes it was caused by his high-stress lifestyle.
“It was a high-paced sales environment, on little sleep, constantly grinding and hustling, the typical thing that gets preached for entrepreneurs and SaaS sellers and many people,” he says. “[I was] highly caffeinated and just trying to constantly go, just driving myself into the ground. It was a wake-up call physically for my body to say, ‘No, you can’t do this, you can’t sustain this.’”
Today, Brandon sees more companies becoming aware and concerned with their employees’ well-being. For full satisfaction and happiness, however, you also have to take ownership of your own mental wellness.
“We all have this coach in our head,” he says. “The coach can tell you really negative things or the coach can tell you really positive things that boost you and give you energy. So, I made a conscious effort that, ‘Hey, this inner coach, this inner voice that is constantly going off, well, I want it saying the right things to me.’ And that comes back to intentional practice, good habits, things like meditation and writing, being reflective, reading. It’s those things that you can do constantly that make it easier for that inner coach to be more positive and encouraging.”
You also have to make changes within your life and schedule to give yourself the rest and conditioning you need to stay at your peak. Rather than a work-life balance that gives an even amount of time to everything, Brandon prefers to focus on work-life integration that mixes both in a healthy way.
“I believe we have to better integrate everything so that we can give our best as people and give our best as professionals,” he says.
For Brandon, this system can be summed up in two words: flexipline and PREP. First, you have to use a combination of flexibility and discipline to stay open to spontaneous opportunities without losing focus and control.
“If you’re on either side of those extremes, you’re going to miss out on opportunities or you’re going to miss out on happiness,” he says.
Then, you can follow a system of Plan, Rest, Effort, and Perform to improve every day.
Every evening, Brandon plans the next day to block off his time and get good visibility of what he has to do.
“It’s just a great way to end your workday,” he says. “Tie up loose ends, have a really good visibility to what you want to accomplish tomorrow. Just time block it off.”
With everything scheduled, he can enjoy his rest without things tugging at his mind. That then sets him up for productivity.
“After good planning, after a good night’s rest, I’m recovered now to give my all in effort for the day,” he says. “And so my effort is executing on the plan so I’m not spending precious time, wasting my time, planning that day because I have crystal clarity of, ‘Oh, this is exactly what I need to do. I’m ready to execute.’”
Then he evaluates how well he performed to see how he can improve to make the next day even better.
“That then becomes that flywheel that constantly propels you, gives you that 1% better momentum each day,” he says. “That is what allows me to not only perform really well consistently, but also just be happier and more satisfied with what I do.”
You can connect with Brandon on LinkedIn.