Winners and Losers

Salespeople are often a stressed bunch due to the high-performance pressure associated with the job. It’s a bottom-line profession, and that ultimately means a lot of anxious moments.

But are we saying things to ourselves that cause unnecessary stress, worry, and anxiety? And, can that same stress be mitigated by our self-talk?

We learned at a young age that there are winners and there are losers. The societal message is drilled in us – winning is good; losing is bad. Losing is bottom-line, and no one likes a loser.

Not much debate on that.

Or, is there?

Maybe there’s something we’re missing.

A new mindset: Win or Learn

This interesting mantra was echoed by Tony Finau, a professional golfer who found himself in the final pairing with Tiger Woods on the last day of the Masters. The Masters is considered the greatest golf tournament in the world, the ultimate pressure-cooker. For an unknown golfer like Finau, being in the final pairing on the last day is considered, by any measure, an incredible accomplishment.

What stood out to me watching Finau was how cool, calm, and collected he was. Nothing fazed him. Just great shot followed by great shot.  It was masterful.

How did he get to that point?

More importantly, how did he keep the intense pressure at bay?

His answer is that he doesn’t look at events as win-or-lose. Instead, he sees events as learning opportunities.

Every stroke. Every putt. In other words, he applies natural learning curiosity to everything he does.  For him, it’s all about learning to get better.

And, by re-framing what he tells himself about events & outcomes, he wins either way.

And, it’s not horse manure.   In fact, his self-talk is absolutely accurate. In the long-run, the real winners are those who continually learn, adjust, and try new things.

The personal learning flywheel in action.

From a sales perspective, the education we receive from sales calls is often more valuable than an actual sale gained.  It’s just what we’re telling ourselves about the opportunity.

In the end, it’s learning that propels us forward at a faster rate.


Unless you consider yourself the smartest guy in the room (there are many of you – my condolences), this reality applies. It speaks the truth.

If you feel high-performance pressure during important events (that makes you normal), maybe time to re-frame.  Make the following your new self-talk.

You can’t lose. You can only learn.

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