More than 500 years ago, Michelangelo created the statue of David, which is widely known as one of the most famous structures of all time. The improbable story of this process involves a man in his twenties who spent over two years completing this project. He took a massive slab of marble that had been rejected as “flawed” stone that shouldn’t be used to create quality work.
Michelangelo defied all odds by taking an imperfect rock and creating a larger-than-life 17-foot piece of art that would be admired for centuries. It’s recorded that Michelangelo clearly saw the image of David in his mind's eye. According to him, he simply took away pieces of the rock that didn’t look like David to create the masterpiece.
I want to discuss the single factor that I attribute my transformational sales success to: My mindset. For those who haven’t heard my story, I went from being an average sales rep to doubling my results in a matter of a year, setting company records and winning Senior AE of the Year. I also hit my 2016 stretch goal of selling $1 million of new business for our software solution.
I outlined some of the shifts that I made in my recent article “How I Doubled My Sales in One Year.” There was a process and a mindset that went into that transformation. By no means have I reached any high and mighty destination; I’ve still got work to do. I just hope my firsthand experiences can help with your own process.
Similar to the story of Michelangelo, I’m in my twenties, I’m flawed like the rest of us, I spent approximately two years at my company before getting serious traction and achieving great results, and I’m on a mission to create something larger than life that will be remembered for years to come. I’ve been able to establish and sustain a high performance by creating a bullet-proof mindset and removing the things that don’t align with my vision.
Here are four ways I've changed my mindset that I hope you can learn from:
1) “Why not me?”
These are famous words from Seattle Quarterback Russell Wilson on his road to winning the Super Bowl. Have you ever looked at someone who has what you want and thought that would simply not be possible for someone like yourself? I've made an intentional effort to realize I have the same amount of hours in the day as everyone else, and the only thing standing in between my desired outcome is me. Take your messy situation, an undesirable and improbable piece of stone, and create a masterpiece like Michelangelo.
2) Removing marble
Similar to the sculpture of David, I remove the things that simply aren’t in sync with the trajectory of my vision. I try to keep my mindset rock-solid and not dwell in a rough conversation with a client or a recent “no” to my proposed solution. I create distance from people who are toxic for my mindset and radiate a negative attitude. Lastly, I take mental note of habits and behaviors that lessen my productivity and try to chisel them away.
Perfecting your process is not just about addition, it’s also about subtraction. Subtract the things that make you less successful.
3) Patience and persistence
Things certainly didn’t click for me right away in my sales career, and I’m still a work in progress. Remember, Michelangelo saw the image of David, but that doesn’t mean he created the sculpture overnight. Be patient with your career and results. This works in conjunction with persistence because time and patience alone don't produce quality results. It takes relentless persistence and action to become great. If I had quit a year and half into my job, it would have been a mediocre chapter in my career. I stuck with it through various trials and stayed patient while never letting my foot off the gas to become a top sales rep.
I like to watch survival shows. One of the fundamental priorities of any survival situation is creating and sustaining fire. I’ve noticed that when these people create fire, it seems to give them energy, hope, and encouragement. From a physical standpoint, it’s a game-changer because it keeps them warm, allows them to cook food, and boil water so it’s safe to drink. For me, “fire” in sales and my career is imperative! I can tell you from personal experience that during best seasons in my sales career, I was absolutely burning with fire and passion. I stoke my fire and throw logs on my fire by surrounding myself with other people that elevate my game and invest time in things that inspire and motivate me.
How have I protected my fire and made certain that my flames stay blazing? I give myself exciting reasons to show up. A sure way that your fire is going lose its flame is to set average goals, blend in with the norms of your sales culture, and keep things comfortable, stable, familiar, and flat. My mindset is totally different. I’m setting massive goals, entering unknown territory, trying new things, and believing big so that I create something that’s larger than life. See the difference? That mindset gets me jacked up, and it’s also a recipe to create more favorable results.
We’re all just ordinary people. My challenge to you is to create an extraordinary mindset. Take your rock and get crystal clear with your “mind's eye” -- in other words, determine what you want, and challenge yourself to achieve remarkable results. Remove the things that don’t align with your vision. Stay patient: Anyone can sprint out of the gate. Take rock-solid principals and ideas and work persistently until you create the masterpiece you envisioned. Lastly, create fire and protect it like it's absolutely sacred. Your mindset will take you to the next level.
Follow me on LinkedIn if you’d like to continue reading my content. I’d also love to hear your feedback in the comments below. Happy selling!
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and is republished here with permission.