November 22

The #1 mindset block that most of my students/clients struggle with is…

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Yesterday’s weird holidays that caught my attention were National Stuffing Day and National Red Mitten Day.

Today’s holidays grabbing my attentions are that in Lebanon it’s their independence day, it’s National Teacher Day in Costa Rica and also National Cranberry Relish Day for the US, I think.

What has any of this got to do with the #1 mindset block that most of my students & clients struggle with?

For most of us we are aware only of our own national & local holidays, or those few that are global or celebrated by active minority groups within our own part of society. We’ve rarely given much thought to them because we grew up with them being just part of the fabric of our experiences growing up. We barely even give thought to the notion other people will observe different holidays, even though as members of reasonably diverse communities we are already aware on some level that different groups of people do things a little differently. These differences may be due to different religions, or different versions of the same religion, and so on. Some are less specific in nature or origin as a religion.

And so it seems to me to be the case with our mindset regarding different ways of doing other things, like selling, or engaging with people. We do things a certain way because we’ve always done it that way, or because nobody thought to change it. Sometimes these can seem a bit comical, even farcical. Many moons ago I spent some time as an officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the UK. We have 2 large books we were governed by: Queens Regulations for the RAF and the Manual of Air Force Law, or MAFL. I forget which one this rule was in, but we chuckled when as student cadet officers we discovered this arcane rule that said an officer was entitled to a certain quantity of bedding each night for his horse, and he was also authorised to inspect the underwear of any in his charge under the age of 18! 

This was 1994, and the RAF didn’t have much in the way of horses, but plenty in the way of fast, capable and very expensive jet aircraft. It didn’t have too many people under the age of 18, but there were a few. The business of inspecting underwear was to make sure that all personnel practiced good personal hygiene because is previous wars, a century or more before, when the RAF barely existed, more soldiers died from poor hygiene than combat with the enemy! We wondered how many other weird and out-of-date rules were still around, and if any of them might be a drag on effectiveness in the modern RAF. We never found the answer to that question.


For decades the general approach to selling has been to find out what the prospective client needs, and give it to them. The focus for the seller has been to find this out in some detail and then suggest a solution the seller has, even if the fit isn’t quite 100%... Until relatively recently the prospective client relied on the seller being in touch because the seller had all the information on possible solutions. Which meant the prospective client had reason to want to talk with a salesperson.

Not anymore. The Internet & World Wide Web have removed that requirement – the typical client or prospect has much less need to talk with a salesperson today. Maybe none at all, at least, in their view. And with salespeople talking almost exclusively still about products & services the client sees little added value in engaging with salespeople. Sure, the consultative sales approach has helped redress the balance and bring more value to the client, but everybody is doing it now, and doing it largely in the same way, with the same objective – to offer in some way a combination of maximumly standardised products & services and at some premium. It’s still largely about the seller.

Letting go of this mindset and at least trying something out that is very different is one of the biggest mindset blocks my students and clients have to overcome. It’s possible, and easier than one might expect. Like dipping your toes in the pool, getting that first shock of cold because that’s what you expected, but then realising it’s not that cold after all, so you dive in.

It could just start with observing a different holiday. Like National Cranberry Relish Day. With heart, soul and humanity. And a chuckle. Wherever you may be in the world!


If you want to make a change in your mindset, even just a little, especially around your approach to engaging with clients & prospects, do the following:

Part 1 – Identify a limiting belief you have around sales and selling, and what is behind it

  1. Identify a belief you have around selling & client engagement that might be getting in the way of greater progress for you. How is it stopping you make progress? You might want to make some notes as you go…
  2. What is behind this belief? It could be any combination of 1 or more of the following:
    1. Is this belief based on fears you may have? If so, what are these fears?
    2. Could it be based on misguided or false assumptions & information? If so, what?
    3. Is there some level of overconfidence you have about this, and if so what is it?
    4. Is it based on some experiences you or others close to you have had at some point in the past? If so, what?
  3. What are all the different consequences of you hanging on to this limiting belief at the moment? What is the logical outcome of each?

Part 2 – Replace the limiting belief

  1. Write out a list of things that are also true OR could be true surrounding this limiting belief, ideally that can support or create progress in the direction you want, no matter how small.
  2. Based on these things that are also true, or could be, identify 1 or 2 small actions you can take in the next 24 hours that will move you in the direction you want?

 Good luck!



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