When shelter-in-place orders first took effect around the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I happened to have a call with a sales leader. Because no one else was working in his office, he was still going there to make calls, record videos, create proposals, and keep selling. His spirits were upbeat.
“I can get so much done without anyone around and no distractions!” he said. “It’s really amazing.”
By the second week, I spoke to him again. Nothing about his circumstances had changed, but he expressed a different viewpoint: “I get here and the parking lot is empty,” he said. “No one knows how long this is going to last. It feels ominous.”
What struck me was how quickly his mindset shifted from positive to negative – even though nothing had really changed externally.
Mindset science tells us that 70 to 80 percent of our success depends solely on our mindset. (Only 20 percent of our success is based on our skillset.) Whenever an experience, challenge, or opportunity presents itself, thoughts must be controlled in order to focus on the task at hand. Success is a habit. You need a strong resolve to halt regressing into unhealthy thought patterns.
Why You Should Cultivate a Disciplined Mind
In my book, ,Journey to the Top: How to Reach Your Peak Performance Life, I devote a chapter to tapping into your inner CEO. Activating your inner CEO is the key to unleashing the true power of a peak performance mindset. Your inner CEO is ruled by a disciplined mind. It knows how to remain calm and focused during a crisis.
This will be especially helpful for anyone who wants to stay productive and balanced during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all do our part to practice social distancing and flatten the curve, we’re adjusting to working from home, meeting over video, and perhaps juggling childcare with our own work schedules.
These are special challenges. And we will immediately see who among us has the power to harness a disciplined mind. These are the people who:
- Think of limitless possibilities while others see only obstacles and boundaries.
- Exhibit rational thinking and decision-making while others embrace chaos.
- Gather information and facts instead of reaction on pure emotion.
- Solve problems from a clear, unbiased viewpoint.
- Meet difficult moments with grace and strength.
Remarkable leaders always display these traits. Take Apple’s visionary, Steve Jobs, as an example. After an intense power struggle with the then-CEO in 1985, Jobs was removed from his own company. This kind of situation would have sent an undisciplined mind into a tailspin. (“How dare they fire me! I’ll sue them for all they’re worth!”)
But Jobs didn’t react by engaging in finger-pointing or blame. He got to work and channeled all his knowledge, energy, and creativity into creating a new company, NeXT Computer. Soon, it gained traction. Jobs secured a collaboration with a brand-new movie studio called Pixar, which ultimately transformed the aesthetic of Disney films and the field of animation. (As of July 2019, Pixar’s feature films have earned approximately $14 billion at the worldwide box office, with an average worldwide gross of $680 million per film.)
During this time he also dedicated himself to becoming a better person and successful leader. Meanwhile, Apple experienced a downturn due to lack of vision and unstable leadership. By 1997, Jobs had built up enough capital to acquire control of Apple once again.
How to Succeed during a Period of Loss
Jobs is a terrific example of someone who leveraged a disciplined mind right when he experienced a huge loss. And we all have loss on our minds right now.
We’re worried about losing customers and jobs. We may have lost investments, We’re also reading daily reports of people falling ill or lives being lost. We’ve lost normalcy. We may have lost our sense of security. We may be feeling what Harvard Business Review called anticipatory grief.
Remember, you are your own CEO. Mastering your mind to propel your life towards success is singularly the most critical step in transforming your mentality into a peak performance mindset. Try these steps to carry you through.
Step #1: Set a goal and create a plan.
Goals provide a focus point to keep you headed in the right direction. When things feel dark, goals are the light in the tunnel.
Step #: Take in the view from the mountaintop.
At the base of the mountain, you can only see what’s in front of you, and the long climb ahead. But at the top of the mountain, you have a full view of your surroundings and where you are. Look at the big picture and not just the details right now.
Step #3: Don’t take it personally.
Viruses exist in nature; it’s just a scientific fact. Nothing is out to get you personally. Viruses operate by looking for hosts to jump into. Without a warm body to move to, viruses die out. So do you part to stay safe and stop the spread of infections. Take in the facts and stay objective. Don’t get weighed down by negative emotions that might impact your judgement.
Step #4: Practice patience.
Chronic impulsivity will not serve you well in these times. Don’t make poor decisions under rushed conditions. Practice patience so you can gather as much information as you need. Think deeply, and take controlled action.
Step #5: Remember all things are temporary.
The one thing certain in life is change. Although what we’re living through is historic and unprecedented, it is temporary. We will probably be permanently affected in some ways. But if you stay calm and balanced, you will weather the storm and emerge resilient and ready to grow exponentially.
I’m here to help your salespeople cultivate a disciplined mindset during the COVID-19 pandemic. Get a special, discounted rate on my virtual sales training package, “Stay Productive and Win Sales in Q2.” Discounts are in effect until June 1. Contact me today.