Executive Suite: The Internal Mindset

Last month we discussed the four components of a successful salesperson. This month, I want to chat with your for a few minutes on the first one—mindset. A major reason for this is because the right mindset—the Internal Mindset—applies to more than sales. It is critical to anyone in the Executive Suite as well. The right mindset is the foundation of success. It provides the energy necessary to put all the other techniques to use. Mindset is the engine that drives the car. 

The single most important key to success is to become mentally tough, and the way we do that is by developing the INTERNAL MINDSET.

An Internal is someone who takes 100 percent responsibility for how he feels, thinks, and acts at all times. That’s right: 100 percent. It is not easy but that is the goal.

When you grab hold of that -- total responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and especially feelings -- you will have the key not only to getting motivated but to maintaining motivation as well.  Once you can do that, you are your own coach. Until you can do that, managing anyone else will be difficult.

Taking responsibility means realizing that you choose your feelings. That is a tough concept one for many people to swallow, but if you doubt it just think of all the people who seem to choose anger every time they face an obstacle, while others choose rationality; why some always seem happy while others are consistently miserable.

Successful people choose the right attitudes and motivate themselves. They can get themselves out of mental ruts and move forward when things are rough.


Research indicates that between 80 percent and 85 percent of our society is largely External. Most people look to the environment, other people, television, to guide their actions, thoughts, and feelings. They attribute their sales performance to outside factors.

When external salespeople are experiencing success, they are "on a roll," or "striking it rich," or "on hot run." If they are slumping they make excuses:  "The market is too tough," "the prices are too high," or "the weather is too depressing" for them.

External managers have their own variations — they have “the wrong people,” they are “in the wrong market,” or the “economy is a killer.”

Internal Question (IQ)

Their excuses often do have a ring of reality them. Indeed markets vary, prices fluctuate, and some weather is more idyllic than other weather. You can have difficult people, be in a tough market, or feel the effects of a sluggish economy. Every person, successful or unsuccessful, sooner or later encounters these kinds of issues.

Internals, however, do not dwell on problems or make excuses. They focus on solving problems.  Anytime they face a barrier, there is only one question they will ask. It is an incredibly simple question, yet one most people rarely employ. We call it the IQ, the INTERNAL QUESTION.

 It is simply this: What am I going to do about it?

That’s it. It's that simple, that basic. “What am I going to do about it? That is the only question to ask if you are an Internal. It is magic because it is the only question that will lead you to a solution.  

Sometimes the simple asking of that question will generate a solution. In other cases, the answer to the IQ is “nothing.”  That’s right, nothing. There may be nothing, directly, you can do about a given problem.  In that case, the strategy shifts to how to function as effectively as possible in the context of the challenge, how to make the best of the limiting situation. 

People with disabilities do this all the time. Instead of railing against their limitations, they accept them and develop strategies to maximize their performance by focusing on what they can do.

The key is to realize that all the complaining, all the problem-analyzing in which you engage, will not move you forward: only your actions will.

Use the IQ in every area of your life and you will be a healthier person. In the world of sales, it will propel you past feeling sorry for yourself, becoming immobilized, or making excuses -- and toward constructive action.


Get expert problem-solving inexpensively. Contact Dr. David about his special online and phone consulting.  Dr. David has been solving printing problems for over 25 years.  Reach him directly at 702-354-7000 or at drdavid@fcbb.com.