Winning is tough.

But what’s tougher is creating a steady flow of opportunities to be won.

As we all know, life is all about perspective, rather than the result in isolation. It’s why the journey is often more satisfying than the prize.

It’s also why we should learn to focus on motivating ourselves by the things we can control (how we got the opportunity) rather than the things that are outside of our control (the end goal).

You can never fully control the outcome of an event but you can control what you put into it. Similarly, you can affect the way you got to the opportunity and how many more like it there are.

I prefer to focus on the things I can easily control. It’s more motivating and less anxiety inducing than thinking about the lack of progress on [insert end KPI goal here]

By aiming my focus on the quality of opportunity I source, I leave less to chance and find I am able to score more opportunities like it, which in the end helps me reach the KPI faster.

Examples:

  • Sales closes often carry a lot of luck. Overall you’ll have an average close rate, which will probably be less than 50%. Meaning if you count winsyou’ll be disappointed most of the time… as opposed to being excited by the number of opportunities and working to expand that. [note I need to clarify that as a manager/team I certainly do track number of closes; that’s what pays the bills. But I’d encourage my sales reps to focus on the one thing they can control, which is creating an amazing pitch and being conscientious with their follow ups. That’s how they create their key opportunities. Everyone has their own controllable KPI – focus on that one] Giving people ideas when they don’t always listen. This can be disappointing for some but focusing on the opportunity to help is what counts here. [this philosophy helps with my personal life too!]
  • A steady flow of leads can be more important than recurring revenue (within reason). Therefore tracking a lead growth KPI could be more important than tracking the few closes made in the past.
  • Once in a lifetime opportunities. Even if it ends up disappointing, it’ll be a lasting memory regardless because of its very nature as a once per lifetime occurrence.

Of course you’ll say that you can control the outcomes by putting in effort and focusing on being the best of yourself that you can be (eg by focusing on closing tactics). Absolutely. This is the end goal. But if you’re anything like me, you’re driven to win anyway. You’re always going to be working on your close/plugging holes to win.

The thing is, learning to enjoy the journey a little more never hurt anyone. It might even lead you to creating a more sustainable avenue for finding more opportunities like it.

Oh, and it also makes you a much more enjoyable/less intense person to be around! #zen