Because of how difficult and mentally challenging sales can be, mindset is a critical component of sales success. Without the right mindset, the average person would quickly burn out after facing the myriad of rejections and never-ending hurdles that are part of every sales role.

But if a salesperson wants to reach the next level and truly become successful, they need more than a positive mindset — they need a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that one can improve oneself through effort and commitment, and that their abilities are not immutable, but rather flexible and alterable characteristics that can be shaped over time.

A great salesperson will almost always have a growth mindset. Here are some ways you can make sure you do too:

1. Pay attention to your own thoughts 

Our thoughts shape our behaviors, so the first step to changing the things we do is to understand our own thoughts. Pay attention to how you view goals, challenges, and your own role in your life. There’s a high chance that you’ll start to notice patterns that don’t suit you. Once you’ve taken note of how you think about things, you can start questioning why you think about them in this way.

2. Face your fears 

We all have anxieties about our role, whether it’s a fear of prospecting, a fear of asking for the business, or the fear of not hitting goal and losing our jobs. Rather than letting this fear consume you, try to find out what happens when you face your fears. In nearly all cases, reality isn’t as bad as our expectations. Hearing a “no” from a customer might feel demoralizing, but it never justifies a fear of asking. The best sales reps feel the same fears as anyone else, but they don’t let those fears hold them back from taking action.

3. Track your progress 

Chances are you’re in a much better place today than you were a few years ago. The problem is that progress tends to happen so slowly that we hardly even notice, which is why it’s so important to keep stock of where we’re going compared to where we’ve been. Track your performance, your income, and your career path. But also track your satisfaction. Over time, you’ll see that you’re moving in the direction of your dreams even though the path might feel slower and more arduous than you’d like.

4. View setbacks as opportunities 

The next time you lose a deal or something happens that feels like a setback, try to find the opportunity for growth. If it’s a lost deal, review what happened and see if there are any lessons to be learned to help avoid a similar fate in the future. This exercise alone can be of huge benefit because it helps you change your mindset to one of growth. Do it enough times and you’ll be able to change your perception of nearly everything, from your personal life to your professional endeavors.

5. Appreciate the journey 

If you’re only focused on the outcome, then you’ll never embrace the challenges that come from any meaningful pursuit. But if you learn to appreciate the journey — the difficult, scary, and exciting middle — then you’ll be able to get through anything with a smile on your face. It’s another take on the famous phrase: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Rather, it should be: learn to love what you do, and you’ll never dread going to work again.

6. Be realistic 

While the pursuit of big goals requires the ability to dream big, being realistic about the journey can help you put dreams into action, and one foot in front of the other on the long march to success. It’s important to understand that you probably won’t go from making 50k to 500k overnight, but if you map out a realistic five-year journey, you’ll see that this goal is, in fact, attainable. Good things take time, and they always start out small. So if you start viewing your goals in terms of years rather than weeks, you’ll realize that all it takes is time and persistence to realize everything you dreamed of — and that’s a growth mindset.

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