Over the past year, one of the areas my mentor and coach have had me focus on is a concept Dan Sullivan calls ” The Gap and the Gain.”
In the highly competitive world of sales and business, many people, including myself, stay in constant stress because of what they measure themselves against. I know personally, when I was a top producer for a data processing company, there was one sales person that was the top producer in the company every year.
He had a Manhattan territory and I had a territory in South Carolina. I was traveling at least 90 miles a day to meetings, he was traveling up and down an elevator. Often, I was the top producer for our Carolina’s region and he was top producer not only in NY region but nationally. I was constantly in stress because I measured myself against him, trying to figure out a strategy to overcome and be the top producer in the country. I was constantly living in the GAP.
Then, in 1994, when I attended my first Tony Robbins seminar, I heard him talk about “meaning.” When he shared about how the meaning you attach to something produces the emotion of your life and emotion is your life, I started to realize that the reason I was in constant stress in my sales career was that I was focused on something or someone’s success. The meaning I attached was I will never be good enough to be the best. That belief held me in the GAP for many years. I had very successful sales years but it was never enough and I was focused on things that could have cost me many relationships.
In 2009, the year of the Miracle on the Hudson, with everything going on around that experience, I was the top producer for our division and I had a different feeling from those years when I was a perennial top producer a decade before. Instead of measuring myself against the top producer at my company, I measured myself again me, the goals I set and my ideal self. The GAIN.
I saw the progress I had made over the past several years and as I evaluated myself against my progress, not others. I saw how much I had grown and I had a peace come over me. That was the motivation I needed to start out on my own with my new mission.
Figure out where you can move forward
For me, it began with asking myself a different questions such as ” What would it mean if I could speak onstage and impact groups?” “What could I accomplish if I find someone to help manage my time more effectively and what would make my life more enjoyable as I move forward?”
Three things to stay motivated
I have shared the story about how I started speaking. Tony inspired me to go out on my own and reminded me to always “speak from the heart, know your material so well that you will never need notes.” That is why you never see me speak from notes onstage. I took the Zig Ziglar approach to speaking onstage. I spoke over 70 times before I took a cent so I could practice my technique and perfect my performance. And I employed three things that helped and still helps me stay motivated and inspired to do what I do.
- Competence– When you feel competent in what you are doing, you are much more likely to stay motivated. I used this not only in speaking but also when I prepared to swim in the Hudson River with the Seals. I wasn’t competent in swimming at that point, but I was competent in how to put the plan together on how I was going to accomplish it.
- Autonomy-When you have a say or can determine of what and how you will go about executing your plan, you stay motivated to pursue your goals
- Relatedness– One of the things that happen when you go out on your own and become an entrepreneur is you may lose social connection which may cause you to lose motivation. We saw this during the pandemic. Yes, we had zoom and webex but the lack of social connection was devastating to so many people. For me, I made a goal to connect with at least five people a day which forced me to stay connected and motivated for the mission.
If you are living in the GAP and are struggling with staying motivated toward your goals, check to see if you are measuring yourself against someone else or an ideal that may not be in your wheelhouse.
Step back and start looking at how far you have come. Start with having gratitude for the little things you have accomplished. Start tracking your progress every week ( I do that every Sunday afternoon to get my week started off in a positive direction). Take ownership for your own happiness by stop blaming others and things for what has happened. Remember, there were alot of people that grew during the pandemic because they looked at the pandemic as an opportunity, not turmoil.
And take a look at what you are most competent at ( your distinct advantage). Take ownership of how you execute your plans and stay in contact with what I call the “Top 20 Club,” and you will start to live in the GAIN, making massive progress towards creating your flight plan for your future because