It’s pretty safe to say that if at all possible in our business and personal lives we prefer for our conversations and engagements to be happy, easy, and smooth. I don’t know too many people who would prefer controversy and “difficult conversations” over a situation where everyone gets along and things go according to plan. This dynamic of “everything is awesome” naturally carries over to the profession of sales. Sales reps want to present their products and/or services to their prospects in the best possible light, and in the process do whatever they can to avoid any negative angle that could be cast on what their selling. However, the true pro sales rep knows how to appropriately and artfully program in certain points in their pitch that insert reality into the situation, and use that as a point to highlight the human touch their company has to offer. This blog is all about how the best sales reps are able to effectively turn a negative into a positive, increase their chance of winning, lay landmines for their competition, and futureproof the relationship with their clients.
The Avoidance Problem of Junior Sales Reps
You know that feeling we all get when things seem too good to be true? When things are overly polished, or after we’ve heard too many “but wait, there’s more” in a pitch it’s human nature to start to look at the pitch with a bit of suspicion. Unfortunately, this is what most sales people unwittingly introduce into their sales process as they make their highly proficient and rehearsed pitches to their prospects. At first glance this is only natural. After all, what sales rep would expect to be successful if they pitched their product and/or services in a negative light effectively throwing cold water on their audience. Clearly, sales reps must make the case that their wares will solve their prospects problems, and do a better job of it than any perceived competition.
This aspect of competition is where sales reps can really dive into covering all of their angles. Sales reps of competing companies will often lay landmines for their competition by exposing to their shared prospect the weakness or issues with the other competing company. Thus, sales reps go to great lengths to prepare for these arguments and use their craft to deftly defuse the landmine set by their competition, making their prospect feel at ease.
But what if there was another way? What if you could take some of these perceived “negatives” and somehow turn them into a positive point that will turn the landmine back on the competition that set it in the first place while concurrently serving to win the hearts of your prospect and set the stage for a great long-term relationship.
How the Best Sales Reps Turn a Negative Into a Positive
There is a clear rule here that everyone needs to understand.
With that premise in mind sales reps can effectively change the game. Let’s look at two different scenarios to see how this concept seamlessly plays out.
Scenario 1 – Global Supply Chain Issues
Unless you’ve been deep in the woods separated from society working on that manifesto you’ve noticed the global supply chain crisis, which The Guardian claims can last for another two years. Clearly this is not your fault, it’s not my fault, and it’s not your prospects fault. Rather, this is simply a situation that we all find ourselves in thanks to a global pandemic that just won’t quit. With that being said let’s look at how this fits into a sales story of a product packaging service supplier.
The Pitch | Strategically Inserting the Negative for Positive Outcomes
We all know that there is a global supply chain crisis going on. We have strategically put multiple layers in place so we have a large source of suppliers to ensure our ability to provide continuous service to you. However, here’s the thing… While we are not experiencing any issues, and we’re doing what we can to prevent this from occurring, we can’t guarantee that this won’t happen to us as there are factors outside of our control. However, what’s very much within our control is how we respond if this comes up. If we find ourselves in this situation we promise to do right by you by informing you on exactly what the situation is in clear black & white terms. We will tell you what we’re doing to mitigate the issue, and/or we will present you with your options, and we will do everything we can to make this right and sort this out on your behalf.
Scenario 2 – Selling Technology
You know that saying “to err is to human” that means to be human is to make mistakes? Yeah, well you could basically substitute the word “human” out for “technology”. No matter how good technology in terms of software or hardware is it will invariably fail. Essentially, you could take a very similar approach above by stating that if in the future there is an issue with the technology you will take care of the customer because you care.
Pro Tip: Have a “When the Crap Hits the Fan” References. Yes, you want references for your product or service that speaks to the great job it does for your customers. However, it’s great to have references that speak to how your company responded with conditions were not ideal. This brings a whole different level of trust to the table that pays massive dividends.
Effectively, what you’re doing in the above scenarios is two things…
1. Proactively inserting reality into the situation
By inserting reality into the situation you’re proactively removing the “too good to be true” thought from entering into the mind of your prospect. Furthermore, you can use this against your less sophisticated competition by saying something along the lines of “anyone who tells you otherwise is not giving you the full truth that’s not the foundation for a good relationship”.
2. Promoting the value of partnering with your company
What you’re doing here is making a point of the fact that behind your product or service is a group of people that deeply care about your customer. Sometimes unexpected things happen and when they do your team will show up to help see them through it.
The Fall Out Filter
By proactively inserting these seemingly “negative” factors into your pitch you’re guiding the conversation down a path of reality and setting the stage for a good trusting and long term relationship. However, is there some risk with this tactic of proactively inserting what could be construed as negative? Sure there is! You could very well lose the prospect. However, while this may be frustrating you’ve actually just saved yourself a ton of future frustration because anyone who can’t handle the thought of anything going wrong is not a customer you want to have. This process serves as a great filter for weeding out customers that will ultimately be way more trouble than they’re worth.
The Wrap Up
Sales people should never be afraid to bring up potential negative scenarios when selling their product or service. In fact, by doing so it shows that you are honest and upfront with your customers, which builds trust. Furthermore, by including a plan for how you will handle such situations if they do arise, you show that you care about your customer’s well-being and are willing to go the extra mile to make things right. This type of customer service can set your company apart from the competition, win more deals, and set the appropriate stage for a great long term relationship with your customers.
Let’s get one thing clear right out of the gate; high performers are made not born. It is no accident that high performers have ascended to their current state, and while they may make it look effortless I can assure there is a metric ton of blood, sweat, and tears that you’re not privy to. These individuals have taken the courage to boldly assert themselves in a world that harasses them to compromise, lower their expectations, be normal, and don’t strive for more. The gravity pulling them towards mediocrity is heavy, but their desire, drive, and discipline for more help them achieve exit velocity. There is a litany of things high performers do that others don’t and in this particular blog we’re going to focus on how high performers spend their time at the end of the year to reflect on where they’ve been and set their goals for the upcoming year.
Looking Backwards to Look Forwards
As is stated in the title this is part 2 of a two part blog series on how high performers reflect and goal set at the end of the year. The reason for a two part blog on this subject is simple; high performers do not charge forward into the future without the valuable knowledge gained from their previous experiences. If you’re like me and have a go go go go GOOOOOO disposition (I’m a freaking 10 Quickstart on the Kolbe A Index) it can be tempting to just jump into goal setting for the year ahead. However, any goals that one would set without the insights gained from experiences over the past year would be ill informed. In summary you have to look backwards to clearly and effectively charge ahead. Refer back to “The 6 Part High Performance Reflection Framework” in blog 1 of this series if you’ve not already read through that and then come back to this. I’ll wait right here while you do that…
Okay, ready to go? Cool, let’s do this!
The 6 Part High Performance Goal Setting Framework
Alright, enough reflection! Let’s get to the planning about how you’re going to kick ass in the year to come. I’ve worked with tons of high performers that informed “The 6 Part High Performance Reflection Framework”, and I’m leaning on those same insights to present to you “The 6 Part High Performance Goal Setting Framework”. Am I saying that these two six-part frameworks are the sole truth and path you must follow in order to become a high performer? Hell no! This is a “framework” guys, which means it’s intended to serve as a general guide to carry you forward. There’s beauty in all of us being different, and there’s no one way to becoming a high performer. However, there are certain self-evident truths that should not be ignored, and that’s what we’re we’re trying to cover here. Take this framework and bend it as you need to work for you.
The 6 Part High Performance Goal Setting Framework
As I stated earlier there are a multitude of forces at play that are actively pulling you towards a state of mediocrity. Unfortunately, too many people fall victim to this and leave shameful amounts of their potential on the table. So, let me remind you that you are not called to be mediocre. You are called to greatness and capable of achieving it, so set your goals accordingly. Be bold in what you want to achieve for the upcoming year. Set your goals as if they’re are just out of reach of your current capabilities. Is this scary? Hell yeah it’s scary, but it’s important to set goals in this way to push yourself to the full extend unveil and claim that of which you are capable because just as you are deeply capable you are equally deeply worthy.
2. Focus on Quality. Not Quantity.
This is one of the areas that novice high achievers stumble with. Their ambition pushes them to set way too many goals. While I appreciate and applaud the ambition it’s misplaced in terms of what real high performance is all about. You see, the more seasoned high performer knows much more about the topic of value, and value is much more attributed to quality than it is quantity. High performers set no more than 3-5 highly ambitions goals in the various domains of their life that are all prolifically rich in value.
3. Be Specific On What You Want
High performers know that in order to be successful in goal setting it is imperative that you are as specific as possible. Setting general goals, such as “I want to make more money in the upcoming year” is far too directionless. If you want to visit Paris would you try to book an airline ticket to Europe? Nope, you’ve gotta fly into Charles De Gaulle or Orly if you want to indulge in baguettes, see the Orsay, or watch Iya Traore work his magic juggling a soccer ball outside of Sacre Coeur (seriously he’s awesome). Write down what goal you’re after with a high degree of specificity that would make Robert Frost envious.
4. Be Specific On How You’ll Achieve It
High performers know the difference between setting goals and making wishes. Wishes don’t require a plan to achieve them. Wishes magically happen, and as we asserted at the top high performers are made not born. Just as you’re specific on what you want, you also have to be just as specific on how you’ll go about achieving it.
Note: If you’re making “reach goals” (goals that are just beyond your current capabilities) you may not be able to form a complete plan to carry you forward. That’s totally fine! You don’t have to see the totality of what must be done to achieve this “reach goal”, but you should be able to see the first 2-3 steps you’d need to take to achieve your goal.
5. Set Your Mind. Commit to Discipline
It’s widely known that in January you’ll see many people flocking to gyms adorning themselves in new workout outfits to make good on their new years resolutions. At the start they’re may be highly motivated too, but if you look around that same gym in March these people are nowhere to be seen. Why? Simply put these people are fueling themselves only on motivation. Am I saying motivation is a bad thing? Absolutely not! Motivation is an incredibly powerful force. Think of motivation like wind and you’ve got yourself a sailboat. If you’ve got a nice and steady 18 knot breeze blowing then you my friend have a full sail and are cruising forward towards achieving your goals with little effort on your behalf. However, when that wind dies down to nothing what’s going to power your sailboat is going nowhere fast. You see, motivation is much like weather in that it’s constantly fluctuating. There will be days when you don’t have much motivation and if that’s all you’re using to drive you forward to reach your goals then what then? You must be powered by something more reliable than motivation alone. So, when that wind dies down and your sail is empty you’ve got to grab a paddle and start pulling if you want to close the gap on reaching your goals. Let’s talk discipline.
Commit to Discipline
High performers understand motivation well. They appreciate it when it’s high, but they know with absolute certainty that they can not rely on it. High performers put their faith in something much more reliable than motivation; they trust in discipline. Discipline is the act of grabbing that paddle and continuing to pull yourself towards your goals when you may not “feel like it”.
Given high performers know they must rely upon discipline they set their minds to a state where discipline is a pre-programmed constant as part of their goal attainment strategy. The best way I can simplify this notion and it’s critical nature is as follows; “Commit to discipline or commit to failure”
Note: Hey, don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself to be unmotivated from time to time. Being unmotivated does not mean you “don’t have it takes to be a high performer” by any stretch. Rather, it just means you’re human. As we often say here at The Upward Spiral, just give yourself some damn grace every once and awhile!
6. Harness Incremental Reassessment
Okay, so let’s come correct on one thing here. Planning out as far as a year is a fallacy. It’s damn near impossible to do b/c there’s too many damn variables that we can’t see and/or predict. Operating in the world is is far removed from operating in a lab environment where you can limit and control variables. The world is chaos and you’ve gotta flow with it.
High performers know this and they program set intervals where they’ll stop for a moment, get a 10,000 foot view of their situation in an effort to reassess their situation, and use this information to recalibrate their direction and efforts. Putting your head down and plowing ahead is certainly good, but if you don’t peek your head up once in awhile you run the risk of running far afield of where you want to be.
I want to stress that you have to pre-program this into your year. As Isaac Newton attests “objects in motion tend to stay in motion” and that can be diabolically true of high performers. Setup your incremental reassessments ahead of time to ensure you don’t get caught up in the momentum of your efforts and the moment.
A Note on Change: Far too many people take a hardline bullheaded approach to their efforts in thinking that they must constantly stay on track. Making a change is not necessarily tantamount to failure. Agility is a good thing. Being able to assess where you are, take in all of the factors that have presented themselves, and then shift and adapt is a admirable skill that the best high performers have worked to hone.
High performers are built through conscious action and intentional effort. As we transition from one year to the next don’t miss the opportunity to properly reflect and goal set just as high performers do. Don’t rush into the goal setting phase even though that may be enticing. Proper reflection is critical for effective goal setting, and it’s been my goal with these two blogs to demystify how high performers go about their end of year reflection and goal setting process. The frameworks I’ve provided on both reflection and goal setting are here to help guide you forward so you can achieve your goals, become a dangerously effective person, and live a rich life filled with meaning and purpose.
Now, go forward not with the goal of perfection, but with the goal of growth.
Here we are again. We’ve made another trip around the sun, we’re starting to wind things down, but there’s a TON of things going on. It’s an extraordinarily busy time of year, and it’s very easy to get caught up in the commotion of buying gifts, sending cards, planning visits to family, and so on. However, as a high performer it’s critically important engage in some intentional downtime that involves a two part process:
Part 1 | Look Backward & Reflect
Part 2 | Look Forward & Goal Set
Engaging in this exercise serves up tremendous benefits and allows you to go forward with greater intelligence, vision, purpose, and passion.
Part 1 | Look Backward & Reflect
Naturally, the first thing you should do is make a list of who all has wronged you over the past year, think about what those people put you through, ponder what they love most, and harness all or your rage to righteously claim your revenge by destroying what they love so you crush their spirit, and (if you’re revenging good enough) their soul. Some say revenge is a dish best served cold. I say revenge is better served with white hot rage and hatred. Just kidding… (internal monologue: but it’s a bit concerning if I’m being honest how easily all of that poured out of me. Maybe I should look into that. Nah, I’ll just stuff it down deeeeeeeeeeep and sprinkle a bit of “I’m fine” on top)
In all seriousness a ton of stuff happened to all of us in 2021. As the global pandemic has progressed we’ve all had to deal with different challenges across many aspects of our professional and personal lives. However, if you’re reading this then that means you still have breath in your lungs, and that’s something that hundreds of thousands of other people can’t say. With that being said, if your a high performer or if high-performance is something you aspire towards it’s incredibly important that you intentionally pause and reflect on your 2021 experience. The rationale here is that you want to take stock of what you’ve learned so you can put that knowledge into action as you plan ahead.
I’m breaking up this blog into a two part series where this part one is all about helping guide you through the process of how high performers intentionally reflect so they can further their capacity as being a dangerously effective person. To that end I’ve got a six point framework to help guide you through the process. Here we go…
Before you approach the process of reflection (meditation may be the better word) be intentional about setting your mind to a state of openness. All too often, and I’m speaking about myself too here, we jump straight into a mindset of judgement when it comes to things. Be mindful that you may be tempted to immediately start passing judgement on everything, but pump the breaks on that. Approach your reflection process with a mindset of total openness as this will invite a state of flow into your process that will add value to your experience.
2. Take Stock of Impactful Experiences
With your mind set to a state of openness, and keeping judgement at bay, allow yourself to reflect on what was impactful to you over the past year. Let your thoughts flow with this in mind as you are seeking out was was truly meaningful to you. Again, you’re not saying whether something is “good” or “bad”, rather you’re just saying that these experiences carried meaning and weight in your life.
3. What are you proud of
Again without applying judgement, let your mind wander over these impactful and meaningful experiences and ask yourself which of these experiences made you feel proud. Another way to think of this is which of these experiences contributed to your sense of self-worth or self-confidence. What is it specifically about these experiences that contributes to you feeling proud?
4. What are you not so proud of
Now, revisit these impactful experiences with the filter of what are you not so proud of, and then openly ponder what is it about these experiences that make you feel this way.
5. What knowledge did you gain
Here we are now to one of the most important steps and that’s looking back on what you learned from these impactful and meaningful experiences. What knowledge have you gained that you would not otherwise have if it were not for these experiences.
6. Practice Intentional Gratitude
Your mind is not too different than a google search in that your brain will return results whatever it is you’re searching for. In other words, If you’re searching for the negative, your brain will return those search results. Conversely, if you’re searching for the positive, you’ll find that. With that in mind move on to the final step of the reflection process.
Take all that you’ve learned through this process and position your mind so that you can take a 10,000 foot view of it all. As you survey and take stock of the findings begin to shift your mindset to a state of intentional gratitude. While some of these experiences made you feel good and others bad, all of these impactful and meaningful experiences uniformly carry the gift of knowledge. If you are intentional about showing gratitude, and reserving judgement through the entire process, you can see these experiences and the knowledge that they carried as the gifts that they are.
Being a high performer is all about being intentional with your efforts, learning from your experiences, strategically applying fresh knowledge, and then giving it another go. It’s the end of the year and as such it’s a wonderful time to reflect on your experiences with a clear head and open mind. Survey what’s been impactful, and grab whatever lessons you’ve learned. Most importantly, make a point of having a mindset of intentional gratitude regarding your experiences.
In Part 2 of this installment we’re going to set our sights forward towards thinking about what you want out of the next year. It takes some reflection and intentional gratitude-based goal setting, but it will be worth your while in the end. By reflecting on this past year and positioning yourself for a new one with an open mind, without judgement or preconceived notions, you’ll have more clarity on how to get where you need to go. What outcome do you hope for? Who are going after? And what would make you feel good about that outcome? Ask these questions as they pertain specifically to your professional life and personal life separately before coming together at the end of this process with a clearer vision of both areas moving forward into 2022. In doing so, not only will set goals that are achievable and realistic, but they will also be in line with your values. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll explore how to put all of this into action.
How do you think about failure? Do you think of failure as something to be avoided at all costs? Do you see failure as something to be ashamed of? If you fail at something does this mean that you are a failure? Is this how you see failure, or perhaps do you have a different perspective?
The simple fact is that our society has heavily influenced and pre-programmed how we view, approach, and engage with failure, and if you are seeking a path of high performance this programming on failure must be undone if you are to have a chance of success. Make no mistake that failure does not feel good, it’s natural to want to avoid it, and it can shake one’s confidence. However, if you want become a high performer you must change your mindset on and relationship with failure. This blog is here to serve as a guide to understand how society has programmed our thinking on failure, and to serve as primer for reprogramming your mindset on failure so you can achieve high performance.
How society has programmed us to view success and failure
What did you learn in school? Certainly, you learned about math, science, reading, writing, and so on, but school also taught us something else. We received grades for our work that quantified how well we did or did not do, and depending upon how your family viewed these grades the line between success and failure varied a bit. Regardless of where the line between failure and success was drawn for you, you either landed on one side of that line or the other. In this context failure was absolutely something to be avoided. Failure was not tolerated, and if you failed you could not move forward. In this scenario of school we were taught that failure was bad, and our goal was set to perfection embodied by the A+ or 4.0 GPA.
What does social media teach us about success and failure? Well, we see plenty of success across the platforms of facebook and instagram don’t we. We see highlight reels of people we know playing out on these platforms, and we also see other people we don’t know that seems to be living their best life with ease. Do we see failure across these platforms? To be fair, if you were to look at my Instagram feed you’d see video after video of people falling off of skateboards and landing in the worst possible way on a rail, people getting kicked in the face point blank by a soccer ball, and all other kinds of calamity. Okay I’m off track and I apologize 🙂
As we see these people on social media seemingly kicking ass at life we don’t see any hints of failure as part of their story. All we see in these streams is a seemingly effortless depiction of success in terms of money, health, style, relationships, etc, and if we take what we see at face value then the natural avenue of thought is “why is it that these people are able to effortlessly succeed and kick ass in life while I can’t stop stumbling”. In other words we think something is wrong with ourselves because we experience failure, and that is out of alignment with what we see, therefore we think we are inherently flawed by comparison. However, this is all a lie. You are not flawed because you fail; you fail because you are human.
Why this programming holds us back form high performance
Our society has taught us through a massive array of channels that if you’re failing you are not succeeding. It has taught us that failure is bad, and something to be ashamed of. It has taught us that we must avoid failure at any and all costs. The consequence of this is that we set our eyes towards perfection, which is completely unattainable.
So where does the situation of strive for perfection and avoid failure at all costs leave most of us? Stuck, that’s where. In an effort to avoid failure we play it safe. We engage in what we know we’ll succeed in which keeps us small. This relationship with failure or success keeps people from achieving a state of high performance as high performance is not found in operating in safety.
Why this programming on failure restricts a high performance mindset
In the game of life are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose? If we acted based upon how society has taught us to think about failure it is likely that we will spend our lives making decision after decision based upon what is the “safest” decision while concurrently helping us avoid failure. The problem with this approach is that we are contained to operate within what we already know, otherwise known as our “comfort zone”. We stay here in our comfort zone and we build up walls and other safeguards to keep us out of harms way and in doing so we vastly limit our opportunity for growth. We don’t look for ways to expand and grow our lives because that means dipping our toes into the unknown and flirting with unpredictability.
Growth is not found in our comfort zone
Growth, and the pursuit of it, is a staple in high performers, and growth is often not found while operating within our comfort zone. Rather, growth is found beyond our current horizons. Growth lies beyond what we already know, and beyond our current competencies. In order to access true growth we must seek to expand into the wild that lies beyond the self-constructed walls of safety that not only keep out scary things of the world, but also hold us prisoner to a life resigned to apathy and complacency; which is truly the greatest risk of all. It is time for you to take courage and go beyond your walls, risking uncertainty in pursuit of a life of growth, purpose, and value.
Reprogramming our mindset of failure to access high performance
If it is to be understood that growth lies outside of our comfort zone, any engagement outside of our comfort zone incorporates risk of failure which we are trained to avoid. How is it that those in pursuit of high performance can break free of shackles of how society has taught us to think about failure? How does this reprogramming begin, and what does a proper relationship with failure look like? The first step is to put failure into the proper context.
Putting Failure Into Context | Why high performers fail more
If you talk with anyone who is truly successful about their path to success they will likely tell you more stories about where they failed than when things worked out. Conversely, if you talk with someone living a mediocre life it’s likely they will not be able to tell you many stories about failure. How interesting is it that those who are successful have more stories of failure than those who are living a mediocre life. Society would have us think that it’s the other way around, but reality proves a different tale. The simple fact is that high performers actually fail more than any other group of people. How can this possibly be the case? There are three things you need to know about high performers that explains this phenomenon.
The cycle of failure, growth, success
High performers and the highly successful, compared to others, have taken far more risks, failed more, learned more, reconfigured their efforts more, they redeploy being far smarter than they were before, and this cycle repeats over and over and over again. While their peers are playing it, high performers are out in the wilderness forging ahead, and with each step and misstep they are getting better, dangerously more capable, smarter, more confident, and courageous. This cycle of failure, growth, success becomes routine.
High performers operate at the edge of their abilities
When high performers engage in improving their craft they intentionally train just beyond the edge of their current abilities. This is one of the hallmark points made by Daniel Coyle in his book “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How” as he dives into figuring how how the best athletes train, and working to understand why there is world class talent being produced and developed in certain pockets of the world.
Training just beyond your abilities does not look, sound, or feel great because you’re constantly messing up. You’re trying to learn something new and that means you must practice things you have not yet mastered. From the outside looking in it may seem like the individual who’s training just beyond their ability is not competent, but make no mistake about it; they are growing and working towards mastery.
Again, high performers get out of their comfort zone while mediocre people never leave it.
High performers fail forward
High performers do not automatically view failure as a setback that carries them away from their goals. Rather, they see failure as a necessary step in making forward progress to unlocking their goals. This is commonly known as “failing forward“. In this light a “failure” is actually considered a forward step, whereas inaction is considered a proper failure given there is no chance of any progressive movement.
5 Aspect of The High Performance Mindset on Failure
Habits are difficult to break, and there’s no reason why you should think reprogramming how society has shaped your mindset on failure will be any different. Make no mistake that it will be a difficult process, but rest assured that any difficulties you experience pale in comparison to what you’ll get in return. In an effort to help guide your process of reprogramming your mindset on failure we’ve listed five specific areas you can focus your efforts on.
1. Don’t run from failure; embrace it
Nobody likes the experience of failure, but it’s a rite of passage for anyone who wants to attain high performance. In fact failure is a critical aspect of attaining high performance as failure gives us the opportunity to gauge our progress, as well as learn from what we’ve done and develop the skills we’ll need in order be successful in future activities.
2. Failure means growth
Failure is true path towards growth. Failure increases your potential for success as failure is how one learns to succeed.
3. Failing does not mean you are a failure
People often, and tragically confuse the experience of failing with being a failure. If you are intentionally operating outside of your comfort zone in order to reach and grow beyond your current means then you are endeavoring towards something noble. Your moment of experiencing failure is temporary, and it is not a reflection on you, your intelligence, your character, or your potential. As the saying goes “you are only a failure when you stop trying”. Failure is not a permanant condition, but rather it’s a necessary toll on the road to greatness.
4. Failure is experience,
It is uniformly understood that across professional and personal domains that experience is deeply valuable. What is failure if not a deep and impactful experience. While you may not have gotten the outcome you had hoped for you most certainly have gained an experience which bears the gift of knowledge and being able to share a good story. By the way, no good story ever follows the arc of “I set out to do something, I did it without any troubles ,and everything worked out as planned”. So, I guess if you don’t take anything away from this just know that because of your experience with failure you may be the most interesting person at the party!
5. Failure is the basis of empathy
When you are going through a difficult time it feels much better hearing from someone who has shared a similar experience and lived to tell the tale compared to any attempts at comfort from someone else who has no idea what you’re experiencing. Connecting with people through the basis of understanding through a shared or similar experience is the basis of an empathetic connection, and it’s these types of connections that are extremely meaningful. Your failures are experiences that will more than likely add to your ability to help support others, and form deep and meaningful connections. If you’re wealthy in experiences then you’re wealthy in terms of your ability to connect with others.
It’s not failure that is the problem, but rather how society has framed failure as an entirely negative outcome. Re-framing your mindset on failure will help become a high performer and live a rich life of deep meaning, purpose, and value. Don’t run from failure, embrace it, and don’t let its value slip through your fingers!
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to get back to you with a response Also, feel free to share this article if you enjoyed it with your friends – Cody Strate
A mindset is a person’s general attitude about things. It’s the way we see the world and ourselves, and it influences our behavior in a huge number of ways. A mindset can be good or bad depending on how you use it. If your mindset is negative, then you will have a difficult time finding success because your thoughts are going to be focused on what isn’t working for you rather than what could work for you. On the other hand, if your mindset is positive, then that will allow you to find opportunities where others don’t see them as well as take advantage of those opportunities when they arise. This article will give insights into why having the right mindset is of paramount importance for business leaders if they want to find meaningful success.
1. Why mindset is paramount for business leaders
2. How mindset can affect your success
3. What mindset should you have as a business leader
4. Why mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself
5. Ways to improve your mindset and stay positive in the face of challenges
6. Tips on how to maintain a healthy mindset despite the difficulties that come with it
1. Why Mindset is Paramount for Business Leaders
Mindset really boils down to the art of “thinking about your thinking”. Unfortunately, many people go about their life on auto-pilot that’s governed by their previous experiences. While a certain amount of auto-pilot is a good thing, we need to periodically disengage auto-pilot in order to look within to reevaluate what’s governing our thinking. This periodic disengagement of our auto-pilot systems is no easy task, we are all creatures of habit at our core, but doing so is an act of proactivity which requires you to take full control over your mindset.
If you are not actively “thinking about your thinking” then your actively forfeiting control over your auto-pilot. This in turn blinds you to a wealth of insight that can be used to inform you of the greater truths at play in your leadership style, what’s happening with your employees, why things are working, and why some things are not working.
2. How mindset can affect your success
How do you see the world in front of you. Do you look at it with eyes that see scarcity, problems, and limitations, or do you see abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity? If you see the world through a mindset of scarcity, problems, and limitation then you will most certainly have a difficult time succeeding in life. Life is indiscriminate and can be brutal when it comes to dishing out unforeseen challenges and setbacks. However, it is our decision on how we will respond to these circumstances that often govern how successful we will be throughout life.
If one looks upon what’s in front of them with a defeatists attitude then the game is already lost. If you believe that what stands in front of you will bury you then you will be buried. On the other hand if you approach what stands in front of your with a mindset of abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity then you will find yourself swimming in success like an predator taking down it’s prey with ease.
3. What mindset should you have as a business leader?
The better question is what kind of mindset do you want your team to have? If you want them to see their business challenges through the filter of scarcity, and be easily overwhelmed then embrace that mindset yourself as the leader. Trust me, you will set the tone as to how your team approaches challenges. If you find that they are constantly folding under pressure, then you would do well to honestly self-reflect and see what attitude you’re communicating to your team.
Naturally, we want a team with a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient, and determined. However, wishing it to be so is not enough. As the leader you have to embody a mindset of abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity. Demonstrate the ability to see the challenges for what they are, set the tone that there is an answer, and that your team is capable of figuring it out.
4. Why mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself
You know the saying 1 + 1 = 3? That’s referring to the sum being greater than their parts, and when a team comes together with a strong mindset at it’s core then the possibilities are nearly endless.
The mindset of one person can be contagious, and has the ability to uplift or drag down those around them. Having a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient, and determined will bring out this mindset in others on the team and elevate everyone. However, the same is true for a poor mindset, but it’s contagious effects are arguably more viral. If you have a team member with a poor mindset do what you can to correct it, but do tolerate a negative mindset to persist at the risk of it’s cataclysmic potential for your team’s mindset.
5. Ways to improve your mindset and stay positive in the face of challenges
Our challenges can sometimes seem overwhelming, and it can be tempting to fold under the pressure. So, how do you keep your head on straight and your proper mindset in tact? The best thing you can do is to decide in advance how you will respond to challenges. Imagine a challenging coming your way, visualize what feels like the best way to respond would be, and then decide to act like that when the challenge eventually arises. Making this decision in advance is the difference between responding and reacting. If you are reacting to a situation then you are applying a near-timer viewpoint to the situation which limits your ability to act effectively.
Apart from making your decisions on how you will respond in advance, the best thing that you can do is go through challenging experiences often, and see them through the lens of mindset. Practice makes permanent, and the more you encounter challenges through a lens of mindset the better you’ll get.
6. Tips on how to maintain a healthy mindset despite the difficulties that come with it
Lean On Your Team | They are good and they are here to help. Look to them for their strengths that they can contribute and to the inspiration they can offer when needed.
Avoid Victim Thinking | Don’t think like a victim. Think like a victor. You will overcome, you’ve just not found the way yet.
Detach from the outcome | Whatever happens life will continue, and in the realm of what’s most important in life it will all be fine.
Frame all problems as challenges, even those that seem insurmountable
Accept responsibility for your mindset and mindset of those on your team
Mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself. Having a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient and determined will bring out this mindset in others on the team and elevate everyone. However, the same is true for a poor mindset; but it’s contagious effects are arguably more viral. If you have a team member with a poor mindset do what you can to correct it, but do tolerate a negative mindset to persist at the risk of its cataclysmic potential for your teams mindset. The best thing you can do when faced with challenges or setbacks is not let them get too big in our mind by looking through their lens of mindset often.
The most important lesson of all is to simply recognize that mindset is extremely powerful, and always at play. You must constantly be “thinking about your thinking” and while avoiding the complacency offered by going on auto-pilot.
The two words “toxic” and “positivity” are fundamentally juxtaposed. However, they converge all too often in our personal and professional lives as manifested by the people we see on social media that go to great lengths to present a façade of an ideal life that’s not realistically attainable without copious monetary resources and effort. We also see this in our professional lives by leaders who avoid the reality of a situation in favor of a positive outlook that’s beyond delusional. These people are the purveyors of toxic positivity and reality bending and can do social and professional harm. Addressing the reality of a situation head on may not always feel good, but it’s what needs to be done in order to form meaningful strategies that will lead to improvements.
Spotting Toxic Positivity & Reality Bending in Two Areas
Toxic Positivity & Reality Bending in Our Personal Lives
You know those people on social media that seem like they “have it all”? They’re killing it professionally, they’re super fit, their kids are well behaved, their home is spotless, their spouse is perfection, they use fresh ingredients from their garden to make James Beard award winning dinners night in and night out, and they use hashtags like #hustle #bosslife #elevate #abundance, and they tell you that you can have it all too. More than likely these people have an angle and are trying to sell a shortcut or bolster their image. In any case, what they’re promoting is simply not real, and it can do some significant mental harm to people who are fooled by this false front. What these images on social media conveniently don’t show us is the amount of time, effort, energy, and monetary resources that it took to make that happen. The lie is that their life is abundant, high-caliber, and completely effortless. At best what you see is a facade. At worst what you see is an intentional and direct effort to misguide people for some self-serving purpose.
Toxic Positivity & Reality Bending in the Workplace
Have you ever been an employee of a company who cares enough to stick your neck out by shinning the light on a current or upcoming business problem to management or executive leadership only to be snowed by an overly positive and unrealistic outlook on things. You even went so far as to think that they would appreciate your diligence and care, but were demoralized by the speed at which they brushed you off.
All too often good leaders fall prey to the “good intentions” precursor of toxic positivity and reality bending. They may think that they’re doing a good thing by keeping the team’s spirits up by focusing on the positive, but unfortunately the opposite occurs. Employees who effectively are the boots on the ground often understand the granular business challenges far better than leadership, and are acutely affected by these challenges on the daily. When these employees are told something by leadership that’s contrary to the reality that the know all too painfully well, they invariable feel an array of negative emotional responses.
The Impact of Toxic Positivity & Reality Bending on Employees
One of the fastest ways to demotivate an employee is to tell them that what they see is not real. Being written off by leadership who favors a delusional view is a killer and a surefire way to take the wind of your team’s sails.
Erosion of Trust, Respect, and Confidence in Leadership
When leadership does not accept reality or side steps to something positive employees will quickly lose respect in leadership. Once respect begins to erode it can quickly lead to a degradation of confidence and ultimately trust. Once trust has been eroded it is nearly impossible to resuscitate it.
Negative Corporate Culture
Employees talk, and once they’ve had a taste of toxic positivity and reality bending from their leaders they will naturally express this to their colleagues. This can quickly start to spread amongst a team given the fundamental truth to the statement of “misery loves company”. Unfortunately, leadership will often combat a decline in corporate culture resulting from toxic positivity by injecting even more overly positive sentiments into the conversation.
Apathy or an Exit
Once a company falls victim to pervasive toxic positivity and reality bending employees often fall categories: 1) those who become apathetic and 2) those who exit. In the end you’re going to have employees that resign to a mentality of just getting their paycheck, clocking-in and clocking-out, keeping their heads down, and doing what they’re told. Others, the employees you really want, will get sick of it and will exit as they’ve got better things to do with their time and energy.
What Leaders Should Do About Toxic Positivity
Whether applied across the personal or professional landscape leaders should not be delusional to the point of wholesale avoidance of reality in favor of what you’d like to believe. Rather, leaders must do the hard thing and address reality, by acknowledging the nature of any given situation. Acknowledging the true nature of a situation is not giving into negativity, and it will now scare off quality people. Yes, you can say a problem exists. Yes, you can say this problem is having an impact. Yes, you can say it will be a challenge to fix. However, you can then bring your experience to bear on the problem, and empower your people to do address and overcome these challenges through a combination of hard work, creativity, and diligence. You may not always come out a winner, but you will have the respect and trust of your peers, colleagues, and team intact.
Toxic positivity is a double-edged sword that can do harm to not only you but also those around you. As leaders, it’s important to avoid being overly optimistic and instead focus on the reality at hand. To this end, our team of experts are ready and waiting to partner with you in order to help solve your business challenges by evaluating where toxic positivity has been present in your organization. If all of this sounds intimidating and you want help enacting these principles, let us know! We’re here for YOU!