Our Finest Hour


(By Bob McCurdy) Sales guru Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”, which simply means what is going on inside a salesperson’s head is the single most important variable in the entire sales equation.

Moving forward, the right attitude will likely be the direct result of sustained mental fortitude in the face of an in-flux sales landscape. Fortitude defined as, “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty and adversity.” Just as any sports athlete needs to get themselves in the right frame of mind before a new season, as sales athletes we should do the same.

A completely new “selling season” is on the horizon with the lockdowns ending, so now is a good time to focus on getting mentally primed for the new opportunities, new challenges and vastly modified “playing field” once we again “hit the streets”, however that might be defined in the near term.

Whichever way the future plays out, it is not likely to be all smooth sailing, so mental fortitude is sure to be as important, if not more so, than any other contributing factor to our future sales success.

One sports psychologist described mental fortitude as, “The ability to consistently perform at the upper range of our talent and skill regardless of circumstances.” This “upper range” is where we all need to be regardless of the obstacles we may encounter in the coming weeks and months. Mental fortitude provides the grit necessary to overcome any adversity and come out on top.

I have always believed that the person who blames difficult business conditions for their performance will rarely excel during good times, in that the real problem was not the “business conditions” but the person’s mindset. This will be doubly true moving forward.

Our challenges will not be unique in that every other salesperson in and out of media will be in the same boat facing similar challenges. Those who are able to maintain sustained mental toughness will stand a much greater chance of generating revenue. When all else is equal, it is the resolute mindset that triumphs.

In the movie Apollo 13, when the mission to the moon goes seriously awry, there is a scene where the head of NASA laments about all the terrible things that are likely to happen. The Director of Operations for Mission Control, who has the responsibility for bringing the astronauts safely back home, looks him in the eye and says, “Excuse me sir, but I believe this is going to be our finest hour!” The information both had was the same. The mindset was dramatically different. One had the necessary attitude to handle the situation. The other did not.

While our revenue might take some time to get back to pre-virus levels, these next few months can become our “finest hours” in terms of our mindset, resilience, effort, preparation, enthusiasm, tenacity and overall professional excellence. The good thing is that in a sea of “uncontrollables” and unknowns, this is entirely within our control.

Mental fortitude, don’t leave home without it!

Bob McCurdy is now retired and can be reached at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here