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Facing Today’s Market Conditions: Choose the Right Attitude, Give the Best Effort, and Adopt a Growth Mindset.

By Casey Jacox – Keynote Speaker, Sales & Executive Leadership Coach & Author

As I look back throughout my sales career within IT staffing and services, there were three things I always focused on – my attitude, my mindset, and my effort. Those are all I had, and YOU have control over them too. As a former athlete, I remember many times when I had to choose the right attitude, give my best effort, and have a growth or positive mindset. It didn’t matter what the defense did to me, what the weather was, or any other unforeseen circumstances; I would always choose to #believe in myself, #believe that success would happen, and #believe in my teammates.

The power of your mindset, attitude, and effort cannot be overstated. They are some of the most critical factors determining our success in life, personally and professionally. Every goal you set is about how badly you want to achieve what you’ve set out to do. Only you know if you gave your 100% best effort.

Let me help define attitude, mindset, and effort so we are all on the same page.

A mindset is a set of beliefs and attitudes that shape our thoughts, actions, and behaviors, while attitude refers to the way we think, feel, and behave toward something or someone. Your effort is your physical or mental exertion to achieve a task or goal.

OK, let’s get back to the title of why you are reading this. I’m guessing you might be uneasy about what is happening in the market. You might see your customers slowing down their normal buying activities, and you might start to feel more pressure from your leaders to sell more. Sound familiar? I, too, have experienced all of these emotions. As I reflect back, the unsettling or difficult times to sell are when I was my best. I used these times to work smarter, harder and focused on the value of my offering to differentiate our services from our competitors further. I also focused more on curiosity and learning as much as possible about my customers. Making them feel heard and supported during difficult times helped me grow my business year in and year out. Here is the good news. While you can’t control what is happening in the market, you can control your attitude, effort, and mindset.

As a former college quarterback, I learned to bring positivity and energy to the huddle when I stepped on the field. This same positive mentality helped me along my sales journey when I entered my business huddle (the office). Others will feed off it when we enter the office or our huddle with positive energy. There was always adversity during a football game, just like during our work day, a work week, or a work month. When something terrible happened during a game, I couldn’t change it. All I could do was get back in the huddle and do my best on the next play. The same is true in business.

I started my career in 2000 at Hall Kinion (before Kforce acquired us in 2004) when the dot com market was booming and about to crash. As an account manager within staffing, I would face more ups and downs through 2008 and later in 2015! What got me through those difficult times was my team (recruiting & operations), attitude, organization, habits, vision, and belief in myself. I started a coaching and consulting business in 2020, and I didn’t let a global pandemic convince me that I shouldn’t do it. Someone will be successful; why not you?

Let’s face it; you will lose deals. You will have a meeting that gets canceled. Your competition will do something you weren’t anticipating. So what? Focus on doing what you and your company do best. Focus on understanding the problems that you solve for your customer. Enter each meeting with the #belief that your solutions will help solve a problem for your current customer or the prospect you haven’t met yet.

If you’re a sales or business leader, here are three ways you can help your team:

  • Mindset: A growth mindset can make all the difference in achieving your goals and living a fulfilling life. When we focus on a growth mindset, we approach challenges with a can-do attitude and an eagerness to learn and grow. Adversity and challenges will happen, and seeing what IS possible is so important. Challenges will arise, so tackle them head on. You will begin to see setbacks as opportunities and embrace them as part of your journey toward success.On the other hand, a negative or fixed mindset will hold you back from achieving your goals. To avoid a negative or fixed mindset, here are ways I work to keep myself in a growth mindset mode:
    • Write in a daily gratitude journal. We all can find things to be grateful for—your health, family, warm bed, health, etc.
    • Lean in on vulnerability and ask for help. We all will need help in life.
    • Spend time with others who bring you up or challenge you to be your best.
    • Listen to music that makes you feel happy or inspired.
    • Read articles or study high-performing people to see what they are doing to help you change your mindset or behavior.
  • Attitude: Having a positive attitude takes focus and belief that good things will happen. By having a positive attitude, you will find your mental and emotional well-being will improve, increasing the energy around you. The more energy you bring to each conversation, the more others will flock to you versus running the other way. A positive attitude will help you battle the ups and downs of business development and create the resilience needed for success.
  • Effort: Your effort is all about your heart. It’s using your growth mindset and attitude to remind you that it’s up to you. It’s about asking yourself how badly you want the things you’ve set out to achieve or told yourself you want in life or your job. Even if you don’t have all of the skills needed for success, you can still lean in on your willingness to ask for help from your team or your leader and then give the best effort possible. In my experience, seeing people give 100% effort each day and asking for help always made me lean in to help them. Additionally, by providing your maximum effort, you will continue to achieve better outcomes and be more successful in your job. The easy way can always be to complain about what we don’t have or why something happened to us in the first place. But, by focusing on what we have control over and bringing our best effort forward, you will increase your chances of success.

As I conclude, I wanted to share a story that came to mind while writing this article. While at Hall Kinion, I was a junior account manager who was just starting to see some success and the fruits of my labor. And then, the market changed. I began seeing others in my office get nervous, and their behavior changed. Some even became more irritable as the pressure to close more revenue increased. Instead, I chose and created a team within a team called “team optimism.” This was a team with one specific rule. If you have something negative to say, don’t say it. If you did, we would enforce ten pushups in the office, regardless of what they were wearing. In the staffing business, so much of what we do is out of our control, so I wanted my team to focus on what we could control. I even went to the extreme and used markers to write TEAM OPTIMISM on all of the windows in our office to hammer home the point. Day by day, I began to see others want onboard Team Optimism. They saw us having fun, reminding each other there was an opportunity for us to go and get. We just had to stay positive, work as a team, and believe we would get it done. In many short years, this same team would become the top-producing office year in and year out. Maybe it was just ironic. I don’t believe so. It came down to our attitude, our effort, and our mindset.

Ultimately, our mindset and attitude are powerful tools that help us navigate life’s ups and downs and achieve our goals. By cultivating a positive mindset and attitude, we can tap into our full potential and live our best lives. So, the next time you face a challenge or encounter a difficult situation, remember to approach it with a positive mindset and attitude. You might be surprised by what you can achieve.

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