Its easier to bask in the glow of the glory days than it is to put in the hard work to defend your spot at the top.
I’m tired of hearing stories that start like this: “Back in the day, I used to kill it.” Every time I hear someone say that, I think to myself, “Why did you stop killing it, then?” Let’s be real. No one ever says, “I want to be successful for a short period of time.” That’s not how the game works.
I have a theory why back-in-the-day stories are plenty and present-day wins are few: Winning isn’t easy. If it were, there would be no losers.
1. You fear starting over.
Winning takes hard work, focus, dedication, time, pain and finesse. Oftentimes, when someone has put in the effort to win, they fear starting over and winning again. After all, it’s hard work. Remember those folks who peaked in high school or college? They won one championship and celebrated it for the rest of their lives, even though they gave up on going to the big leagues.
The sales field is full of people who’ve won in the past but have written off their hopes of winning in the future. I hear people say, “But the rules changed” or “It’s not possible these days.” It’s all bullshit. It’s much easier to win once and retire than it is to turn around and defend the title. Most people — maybe even you — glory in knowing you won once. You should be focusing instead on how to remain the champ.
But guess which pays better? Is it retirement or championship?
2. You’re uncoachable.
Even worse (and I notice this the most) are those who have won in the past and refuse to be coached on how to win in the future. It’s as if previous wins inflated their egos so much, they can’t admit they need help to win again — even if it means helping themselves. “I know that” is one of the most dangerous phrases. While most people know everything, few choose to implement knowledge.
As I always say: “Knowledge + action = success.”
Realize this: There are no champions without coaches.
Knowing it all isn’t the problem, but lack of application and action can become serious obstacles to overcome. Knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. You need a coach to help you practice and perfect what you do know. Find a good one to keep you accountable, and accept his or her criticism along with the praise.
3. You’re lying to yourself about what’s possible.
Most people believe what was possible back in the day is possible no longer. But we live in a time of advancement, not regression. Anything that was possible in the past is easier to accomplish in the present. It’s all a matter of mindset and making shifts over time, not fighting them.
The good-old days are now, and the sooner you realize it, the better.
I work with a lot of mortgage-loan officers. They usually talk about how good they had it before 2009. Which is complete nonsense. Everyone had it good in mortgages pre-2009. Money was everywhere and unregulated. If you could breathe, you could get a loan. When it stopped being easy, only champions pushed through. Most gave up and just accepted their peak had passed.
Yet here we are, years later, and many in the mortgage business never have out-earned their pre-2009 incomes — even though we live in the best time to be in the mortgage business. They let their past success hinder their future earnings. It’s a huge upper-limit mental block. And it’s not just loan officers, either. I hear it from nearly every sales position.
You have the power to win again.
Are you starting to think I’m describing you? Did you crush it in one place or another in the past but can’t seem to start winning again? I feel you. Most salespeople face this fear at least once during their careers. You have to know it starts with your mindset. You must believe your past wins were training exercises for your future championship. Believe you deserve to win and be willing to do the work.
The moment you think you know what it takes but decide not to do it is the moment you shift from winner to loser. It’s can be a hard pill to swallow.
My job is not always easy. But some of you need to read the truth: You’ve decided to relent, and that’s not the real you. It’s the scared version of you — the one you’ve let yourself become.
Start by building up wins in the present. Where and what can you win right now? Can you win top producer? Win over five more clients? Or win the day with your boss and patch things up? Think about a few small wins that are realistic to achieve. Then, go after them — and use those victories to gain momentum for bigger wins.
It’s time to forget about past accomplishments. They’re over and done, and no one is basking in the glow of that phase of your life. If you’re not winning in present, you’re doing it wrong. You weren’t put here on earth to talk for the rest of your life about successes that happened 10 years ago.
It’s time to put in the work again, my friend. The past is over, and now is when you create your future.
Ryan Stewman, the “hardcore closer,” is a best-selling author, podcaster and blogger.