The Four Degrees of Selfishness

Posted in dustin hillis, Motivational with tags , , , , on October 2, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

It wasn’t until I fully understood the degree of my selfishness that I was able to change. Don’t get me wrong. I have not arrived, nor will I ever feel like “I’ve arrived”. However, I feel like God has me on the right path and I have to daily check my compass to make sure I’m staying the course.

All of my life I’ve been focused on looking good and impressing other people. Early in my childhood I developed a “Performer” mindset where performing = love. The need to always be perfect and always “on” is a scary place to be. The reason being, we are all human, sinners, and it’s inevitable we will make mistakes. For the longest time, I always thought the things I did and mistakes I made were unforgivable and caused me shame and guilt, and I never learned how to accept love. However, what God has painfully showed me is that the most heinous of all my character flaws is not the things that I’ve done my whole life, as C. S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity, “the chief of all sins is selfishness. Selfishness is the sin of the Devil.”

Mere Christianity


The first degree of selfishness: Nature – “Mine”

I’ve been selfish my whole life, ever since I could crawl and say the word “mine”. While getting my Psychology degree at the University of Tennessee, we studied child psychology and it is amazing understanding the concepts in nature versus nurture. Our human nature is to be selfish. No one has to teach us this; it just is the state we are born in. So many of us never leave the first degree of selfishness during our whole life. Like a little baby who thinks the whole universe revolves around them, we only look out for number one and think everything should be “mine”.


The second degree of selfishness: Nurture – “I deserve”

After evolving out of the first degree of selfishness, we become much more sophisticated with our egotism. We start playing the nice societal roles we are conditioned and “nurtured” to play. This is where we understand the universe doesn’t revolve around ourselves, so we then start thinking, “look at how sophisticated, smart and nice I am to share and understand the universe doesn’t revolve around me. Aren’t I special? I deserve respect. I deserve to be rewarded. I deserve to be special.”

Feeling like we deserve anything as a result of an act we did is the second degree of selfishness. The reality is we do not deserve anything for our acts. If we are called to be focused on serving other people and laying down our own selfish desires, then the idea of thinking about what “I deserve” is a recipe for disaster. Once the seed is planted that you deserved something, even if you get what you think you deserve, it will create an appetite for wanting more and feeling like you deserve more. The reality is that everything good in this world has been given to you by the grace, mercy, and love of God. Understanding that He is the giver of all good things helps take the focus off of feeling like you have to earn your way into something you deserve.


The third degree of selfishness: Narcissism

Definition – noun: narcissism:  Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

  1. Psychology: extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
  2. Psychoanalysis: self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

Origin: early 19th century: via Latin from the Greek name Narkissos (see Narcissus) + -ism.

After experiencing the hell of the third degree of selfishness, I know that with God’s grace and mercy I will never go back. The third degree of selfishness is where you stop caring about other people and all you are focused on is looking good, sounding smart, appearing to be in control, being respected, being recognized for achieving amazing accomplishments. As soon as we lose the ability to consider other people and cannot be authentic, transparent and tell the truth to everyone in our lives, we start to enter into the third degree of selfishness.

In 2010, I went down the third degree of selfishness path and truly hit rock bottom. I did things that have no justification at all. I was so consumed with what I deserve, looking good, sounding smart, being respected, appearing in control, and seeking recognition that I hit the self-destruct button on my entire life. Then a year later after realizing the degree of my selfishness, the damage had been done. So I did what my instincts told me to do… lie. Just hide and bury the truth and never tell anyone the degree of my selfishness. After all, there is no way anyone would respect, forgive or love someone who is this selfish.


The fourth degree of selfishness: Self Destruction & Addition


In The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning explains that Shame and Guilt are the tools of the devil. Any screw tape that you hear playing in your head revolving around shaming you or making you feel guilty is a message straight from the pit of hell. The fourth degree is the scariest place to be. This is where you can become so overwhelmed by shame and guilt you might feel like it’s easier to check out or possibly just end it. Most people turn to addictions in this phase to numb the pain of their shame and guilt. There are many, many forms of addictions. We could be addicted to work, alcohol, drugs, food, narcissism, pornography, caffeine, pills, etc. After several close acquaintances in my life commit suicide, hearing the news of their death always has the same effect on me of a tidal wave of emotions with shock, anger and sadness. After personally experiencing the full measure of the fourth degree of selfishness, I now have a very small glimpse of how people think it’s possible to take their own life. After all, it’s the ultimate form of selfishness.


The good news!

The good news is there is a Way out of this hell. There is a Light at the end of this tunnel. It starts with the Truth. THE ONLY WAY TO THE LIGHT IS THROUGH THE TRUTH. Brutal, relentless, honest, embracing, humbling truth. Start with taking an inventory of your life. Ask God to show you the mirror and reveal to you the degree of your selfishness. Write down all of the ways you are being or have ever been inconsiderate, unempathetic, damaging to others and selfish. This exercise will probably be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Most of us couldn’t even handle seeing the degree of our selfishness through God’s eyes, so He will only show you what you can handle. You will know if you’re doing this successfully if you are absolutely wrecked, broken and ripped apart after praying for God to show you the degree of your true sins. Once you have an understanding of your selfishness, you need to own your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Anyone you’ve ever hurt, damaged or caused pain in any way. Call them or take them out to coffee, look them right in the eye and tell them what you did to hurt them, own it, and ask for forgiveness.  Being selfish destroys trust. Telling the brutal truth is the only way to restore trust.  Start with telling yourself the truth that you are a selfish, self centered, ego-driven human sinner and without God’s grace and mercy you have no hope.


At the end of the day we are all called to die to our selfish desires. This is counter culture. The world tells us the opposite. We have a decision to make every single day. The decision is simple, but it’s not easy. Are you going to focus on yourself and what you deserve, or are you going to lay down your selfish desires and serve others? I promise the results of these decisions are vastly different.

Discover Your Prospect’s Personality Just by Listening to Their Voicemail

Posted in Sales Coaching on September 21, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

Awesome Navigate voicemail tips from Amanda Johns Vaden!

Amanda Johns Vaden | Keynote Speaker | Gender Communication | Coaching | Business Consultant


Knowing the personality of the people you’re cold calling is a unique but important skill set that you need to know.

You may be thinking, “How can I know the personality of who I’m calling if I’ve never met them before?”

That’s one of my favorite questions to be asked, because I believe that you can figure out someone’s personality over the phone just as easily as you can in person.

In fact, sometimes I really hope that I get someone’s voicemail because it will tell me exactly what kind of personality I’m dealing with.

There are four different types of personalities and four different types of voicemails that we are going to quickly cover. So I’m going to give you an example of a voicemail and then tell you who it is. You’ve all heard these voicemails before.

Detective Personality

A very typical voicemail that I hear that will…

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20 Ways to Be a Good Salesperson

Posted in Sales Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

The world is full of dichotomies, the yin and the yang, the black and the white, the good and the bad. At Southwestern Consulting™, we are on a mission to change the perception the world has about the word “salesperson”.  Unfortunately, over the years, really bad salespeople have created a negative stigma for what used to be considered the most honorable profession in the world, selling. I attended a church service once where the preacher literally was referring to being a “sinner” as being a being a “salesperson”!

The reality is everyone is a salesperson. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant, teacher, engineer, doctor or a stay at home mother… everyone is selling something always. Selling is simply communicating. Every day we are selling an idea to someone else. My 4-year-old daughter Haven is the best salesperson I know. Every day she is selling her mother and me on something she wants, and she is really good at negotiating and handling objections!

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wallstreet

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

In the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio does a fantastic job of demonstrating all 20 traits of a bad salesperson. The Wolf of Wall Street is the best example of a horrible, self-centered, high pressure, manipulative salesperson. At Southwestern Consulting™, we work with some of the best auto dealers in the world.  Some of the used car salesmen and saleswomen that we work with are the most ethical, honest and hard-working people we’ve ever met.  However, it is so unfortunate that a group of bad salespeople like The Wolf of Wall Street got into the used car sales business and gave the honorable industry a bad name.

Steve Reiner is a Top Producing Salesperson at Southwestern Consulting

Steve Reiner is a Top Producing Salesperson at Southwestern Consulting

The other day I was in Denver, Colorado working with a really good salesperson named Steve Reiner. Steve is a Partner at Southwestern Consulting™ and is an executive sales and leadership coach. It was so invigorating to watch him meet with a very savvy sales manager and extremely competent regional director and then present to a group of seasoned sales professionals at Wells Fargo Advisors. If Steve was a bad salesperson, he would not have gotten into the door with these folks and the seasoned sales team would have eaten him alive. So why did they not only let Steve come train them on how to be better sales professionals, but then afterwards a good number of them signed up for one-on-one sales coaching? Steve is a servant salesperson. He focuses on asking really good questions.  He listens with a heart of service and wanting to help other people reach their goals in life. He is not focused on himself and personal gain. He is patient and persistent and creates a comfortable buying atmosphere and sells the way people like to buy.

At the end of the day, we all have a decision to make. Are we going to be a bad salesperson who is focused on ourselves and how much money we can make, and be consumed with what we deserve?  Or are we going to be a good salesperson and focusing on serving others, asking good questions and listening, and caring more about helping people get what they want than we do making a commission. After all, people can smell your commission breath a mile away.

Here are the traits of a bad salesperson and a good salesperson: 

20 Traits of a Bad Salesperson:
1. Are selfish and focused on making a commission
2. Make things up to get someone to buy
3. Talks too much and too fast
4. Force people to do things they don’t want to do
5. Don’t work a referral system
6. Pressure people and makes them feel sold
7. Don’t dress for success
8. Are not disciplined
9. Say one thing and do another
10. Are lazy
11. Have call reluctance
12. Don’t have a schedule
13. Don’t track their activity
14. Don’t know their numbers/selling ratios
15. Think about prospects in terms of how much money they can make off them
16. Make excuses and blame others for failures
17. Take credit for a collaborative team effort
18. Lie and are dishonest
19. Don’t know how to close properly so they create undue pressure
20. Are ego driven and focused on looking good

20 Traits of a Good Salesperson:

1. Has a servant’s heart and focused on serving other people through helping them meet their needs

2.Asks really good questions and intently listens

3. Qualifies prospects quickly and doesn’t sell to people who are not qualified
4. Are aware of their surroundings and considerate of others
5. Closes quickly once a prospect crosses the buying line and doesn’t over sell
6. Uses Feel (empathy), Felt (relating), Found  (solution) and 3rd Party testimonial stories to answer all objections
7. Helps prospects buy with ease and have fun when they are buying
8. Sells the way people like to buy / adapts to others’ buying styles
9. Always is dressed appropriately for success
10. Always on schedule and on time
11. Works a efficiency warm referral system
12. Has a positive attitude in all circumstances
13. Tracks their activity
14. Knows their numbers/selling ratios
15. Does the work and doesn’t care who gets the credit
16. Doesn’t make excuses and finds a way
17. Are team players
18. Tells the truth even when it hurts
19. Studies the art of selling and closing to help prospects feel comfortable and excited with buying
20. Has a humble and loving approach towards everything they say and do

I challenge you to be one of the good guys.  Be a Good Salesperson!

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Posted in Sales Coaching with tags , , , on June 8, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

Donald Miller says in his book Scary Close, “the root of sin is the desire for control”… and “the root of control is fear.” The fear of losing control is a powerful driving force that causes us to behave in variety of crazy different ways. For some, this fear manifests itself by self-promotion and being self-righteous with the thirst for winning and being the best, while others might be controlling their image and presenting a perfect front to the world. For some, it’s the pursuit of being right or the relentless domination of others with an iron fist and exerting their will over the “inferior” people around them. The inverse is true when the craving for control rears its ugly head through self-destructive, shameful and guilt-ridden vehicles such as alcoholism, drug addictions, work obsession, food additions, sex and pornography addictions, and many other self-control coping mechanisms create the illusion of having control in ones life.

In the “self help” industry I often hear motivational speakers, authors, and “experts” promote prosperity and how to be in control of my results. Being in control of results usually involves manipulation. It hasn’t been until some recent events in my personal life that I’ve realized how destructive “being in control” can be. Upon reflection of my life, the more I’ve tried to control uncontrollable things, other people and results, the more I seem to screw up. Yet, everything noteworthy that I’ve ever done has came to me by letting go of the desire for control, focusing on the right activities and trusting God to deliver the outcome how He sees fit.

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Don’t get me wrong. I feel that we are all called to take action and use the talents God has given us. However, we need to focus on the diligent activity, not the results. Ultimately, we only have a few things that we should put our focus on and let God take care of the rest.

Here are 3 areas of daily focus:

  1. Your attitude.

After the economy took a major dip in 2008, my father was in a board meeting for a Fortune 100 company. The CEO was going around the table reaming all the VP’s for their numbers being off target. The gentleman sitting next to my dad was smiling ear to ear as the CEO berated his way down the line of senior executives. Once he set his fierce eyes upon the smiling man, he ripped into him, “I don’t know why you have that silly grin on your face. There is nothing to be smiling about with your numbers either!” Then the man stood up and calmly replied “Sir, no disrespect. But you can yell and scream at me all day long; however, there is nothing you can say or do that will take my positive attitude away from me.” Then the brave bold man confidently sat down. The CEO’s demeanor changed on a dime and he shouted with enthusiasm, “that’s right! We need more of you to have an attitude just like this guy!”

You determine your attitude everyday. Your attitude is a choice.

  1. Your schedule.

We are called to be productive and serve other people. The best way to serve other people is to be organized, focused and proactive. At Southwestern Consulting™, we work with hundreds of different companies all across the country and we find the #1 thing that people need help with is controlling their schedule and time. The best approach is to be diligent and plan how you are going to spend every minute of your most precious resource you’ve ever been given, your time. The key is to not get caught up in the trap of being busy to just be busy. Wasting time and wasting your talents is a waste of your life.

Be proactive, not reactive. Understand your priorities. Set your schedule and stick to it!

  1. Your activity.

There is a massive difference between people who “work hard” and people who “work smart”. Typically, people who “work hard” measure everything in how long they spend doing something. They think that a 3 hour meeting is a good thing because the person listened to them gab on for that long. Typically, people who think they “work hard” do end up focusing on results and measure everything they do based on the results they are or are not seeing. Therefore, if they do not experience peace and joy when working because they are focused on results, that is something they cannot control.

The rare individuals who “work smart” are the ones who focus on being efficient and effective. They work referrals/word-of-mouth marketing; they gather intel before engaging someone in a sales situation; they find ways to shorten the sales cycle and are excited about spending less time with people and serving them as fast as possible, and not wasting the prospect’s time, as well as their own time. They focus on productive activity and not wasteful, unproductive time.

When my wife was a little girl, her father would make her re-vacuum the stairs if she missed a spot. He would tell her, “It doesn’t matter how hard you work up a sweat, if you don’t get the job done right. You need to work smart and get the job done right the first time.”

Letting go of the uncontrollable is a scary thing because in order to truly let go we, first must look long and hard into a mirror and admit what it is that we don’t want to let go of. Most of the time, the people, things or results someone is trying to control are stemming from a much deeper-rooted issue that manifests itself in the form of control. Living in truth and admitting our imperfections, wounds from others, personal sins and mistakes and asking for forgiveness is the beginning of letting go. Next is putting a plan and accountability in place to change our behaviors to insure that we don’t keep repeating the mistakes that are causing the need for control. Lastly, we have to fully submit to God all of our anxieties and worries and focus on being thankful and loving those around us. Once we let go all of the uncontrollable, life becomes more fun! The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, and everything tastes sweeter. Just let it go.


Posted in Motivational with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

May 25th, 2015 – Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men and women who have valiantly made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. This blog is dedicated to you.


The free world is not run by oppressive dictators because of the bravery of the individuals who fight against the tyranny of evil. Some of my best friends and family members have been part of the war against evil. They have shared with me their personal stories of how they helped the people of other countries try to rebuild after the genocide of an evil dictator.

My favorite books to read and movies to watch are the ones based on a true story of epic heroism to overcome evil. Evil is the producer of fear, death, and destruction. King David was one of the most fearless warriors of all time and the Bible says he was a man after Gods heart. Another one of the most fearless warriors who’s ever lived was King Leonidas, (c. 530-480 B.C.), King of the Spartans whose bravery is shown in the Hollywood produced and dramatized, yet epic movie, 300. This historical account documents King Leonidas paying the ultimate sacrifice along with 300 of his most fearless Spartan soldiers at the battle of Thermopylae. They chose to die and inspired all the city states to unite and fight for their freedom!

We still have fearless warriors like King David and Leonidas protecting us today. One of those warriors is Adam Brown who’s life story is depicted in the book Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown

Adam Brown - Fearless

Adam Brown – Fearless

Adam Brown believed that being fearless is what God has called us to be and do. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10

On this Memorial Day we can all honor the fearless soldiers like Adam Brown who have died in battle by being fearless ourselves. When we have to make a sacrifice of personal gain to do the right thing, that is an act of fearlessness. Confronting a tough problem head-on is being fearless. Letting go of anxiety and worry and trusting God is being fearless. Most of all dying to ourselves and stamping out our own self-seeking desires in the service of others is the best expression of fearlessness.

Everyone has the ability to be fearless and good, and everyone has the ability to be selfish and evil. There is a battle happening everyday both in the physical world and the spiritual world. The battle for your mind and your heart is the scariest battleground. On any given day you can choose to be the fear monger like the evil tyrants or fearless like our fallen heroes. Today the challenge for us all is to put on our figurative armor that allows us to stand “in the readiness of the gospel of peace,”…. pick up our “shield of faith”, and draw the sword of fearless love to be a light in the world and honor the most fearless people of all. Thank you to all the current soldiers in the military and the families who support them!

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