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Resign from The Company Club

By Mary Flom

Recently, I was reading a book that was all about how to write effective phone scripts.  My quest to learn more about the world of sales led me to this niche topic.  What was interesting to me was one of my bigger takeaways had little to do with what brought me there in the first place.  Mike Brooks explains this idea of “resigning from the company club.”  He writes that the top sales performers work diligently on maintaining a positive attitude.  One of the ways they do this is avoiding the “company club.”

What I mean by this is that you have to stay away from the group of sales people in your office who do nothing but grumble about how bad or unfair things are in your company or about how bad the economy or industry is.  You know what and who I’m talking about.  They grumble and talk negatively about any and everything.  Every company has them, and they are poison for your career and life.”

The more I read, the more I realized how universal this idea is.  He even said it.  Every company has them.  I began an internal dialogue with myself as self-reflection mode started to kick in.  Am I part of the company club?  Do I grumble?  Do I find solace in sharing my negativity with others?  As I did this, I simultaneously began defending myself.  My justification sounded like this, “I have been negative, but not as negative as others.  I do grumble sometimes but it’s important to vent.  Overall, I am more positive than I am negative.  To my knowledge, my negativity isn’t effecting anyone else.”

I found this dialogue fascinating for two reasons.  The first was this: I couldn’t relate to being in the “company club” because I don’t believe I operate in that level of negativity, therefore that must mean the level I do operate in is somewhat okay (but is it?).  And two, how easy it was to assign levels to negativity with no real objectivity.

I know what you’re thinking (because I thought it too), venting is a real thing.  Needing a safe place to process your thoughts is real thing.  Having a co-worker who is a true friend and listens to the good and the bad is powerful.  So where do we draw the line?

For me, it came down to these questions, “what is on the other side of my process when it’s seemingly negative, what is my negativity accomplishing and is my negativity causing harm?”  My “process” should be helping me get somewhere right?  Whether it’s some form of break through enlightenment, a new helpful perspective, or a realization that the only choice I have at the moment is to choose my attitude.  Those outcomes are powerful, positive, and purposeful.  I think I cross the line when I choose to stay in my negativity and when it’s harming others.  The more people I share my negativity with, the more it will cause harm to myself and the environment around me.

I think we can all acknowledge that negative nellies are no fun to be around.  They are the most extreme version of our company club members.  While you may not be able to relate to that persona, have you ever found yourself lingering in a state of negativity longer than was helpful?  Have you found yourself only relating to co-workers based on your shared dislike of {you fill in the blank}?  I know I have and to no avail.

Wherever you find yourself in the journey (in the club, next to the club, hovering over the club, etc.), I think it’s safe to say we could all use a little more positivity in our lives.  Have you done any self-reflection lately?  If you’re like me and enjoy a thoughtful self-reflection session, try wrestling with some of the questions below.  We’re all on the same journey and hopefully we all want to be more positive when we grow up.  I think wrestling with these ideas can help.  Comment below and let us know what you think. 

 

  • Does your company have this type of club? Have you participated?
  • Can you think of a time when negativity helped you solve a problem?
  • Do you have a friend who your only connection point is negative (example: shared dislike of someone or something)? Are you willing to try connecting in other ways?
  • Do you pride yourself on your positivity in front of others, but act differently when it doesn’t matter as much?
  • Do you allow yourself to vent with no real purpose?
  • Are you the person that others come to vent with no accountability?
  • Did your negativity turn into bitterness because you didn’t let it go?

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