Are you focused on the process or the outcome?

I practice handstands everyday. The goal is a 60-second one arm handstand. But I’m less interested in that goal than in practicing towards that goal.

By contrast, I recently lost a big sponsorship for Responsive Conference and it knocked me off of my stride. I felt like a failure for several hours.

These two things appear to be pretty different, but they both depend on practice. I practice handstands, I practice selling Responsive, and I’m always trying to get better.

60-second one arm handstand?

I’ve wanted to do a one arm handstand since before I published my first book, How to do a Fearless Handstand. But I only started training seriously for this goal quite recently.

In my physical practice, I don’t mind having an “off” day. The delight I feel for practicing dwarfs any disappointment for not hitting a personal best.

By contrast, when I lose a sale – especially one worth tens of thousands of dollars – it hits me like a personal affront.

What’s the difference?

Why, in some disciplines, do we feel great about learning, while in others we fixate on the outcome?

I don’t know. But here are some tactics I’m using to adopt a growth mindset in sales.

Enjoy the micro

Fall in love with the moments that make up a practice. The more you enjoy doing the things necessary the faster you’ll learn.

Focus on the small moments of practice that already feel good.

Love comes from practice

It is said that you ought to love what you do, but it has been my experience that you practice a thing until you come to love it.

Practice something until you come to love it.

Show me your calendar and I’ll show your priorities

I’ve structured my life to go to the gym and practice handstands at 2pm because that’s when I’m fresh.

As I did when I was a professional athlete, I have structured my life to go into the gym at least five days a week and practice handstands when my energy is peaking. That’s when I’m able to perform at my best.

Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you your priorities.

The outcome will take care of itself

I am unconcerned if it takes me another two years or another seven to achieve a 60 second one arm handstand. My joy comes from getting my handstand workout in today, and making incremental progress.

With selling Responsive Conference, by contrast, I live in a constant state of tension. A majority of conference attendees purchase in the last week. It can be nerve-racking to not know if the conference will sell out until a day or two before!

I have to remind myself that, as with handstands, if I practice everyday, I will ultimately achieve my goal. If I curate an incredible conference and connect with our global audience in a variety of other ways, we will have a successful event.

Celebrate more/appreciate the journey

I celebrate my handstand practice constantly.

  • If I kick up into a handstand, I feel great.
  • If I hit a new personal record, I feel great.
  • And if I take a day off – which I ought to do more often – I celebrate that, too, because it means I’m less likely to get injured.

All that celebration means that I always want to practice tomorrow.

With sales, celebration is harder. I struggle with not knowing if a potential sponsor might be a good fit for Responsive Conference. I get attached to specific deal. As a result, I get discouraged and want to practice less.

The more you celebrate, the faster you learn.

Look for areas where you already excel; where you already have a growth mindset. Notice what you do in that discipline, and transfer that flexibility and excitement over to your growth areas.


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