When England entered the World Cup final this year, their team was led by a 53 year old who years ago was considered a fanatic because she wanted to play every day. Yet, it was in America that Sarah Weigman, as a young college player, was exposed to North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance’s relentless focus on data. There Weigman experienced a world class team and was rated and ranked in every technical and physical aspect of the game. Practices were intense and standards were high, and in that culture young Weigman knew where she stood at all times.

Having A Noble Aim

Today, we’re going to explore how we see ourselves in our pursuit of excellence and its effect on our sales reps and even our kids. It may be the main difference between the mediocre and the greatest sales leaders in the world.

But first, you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do you even care?” Do you even care about being the best, about being a professional who wants to continually grow? I think that’s a fair question, because there are tons of other motivations that could occupy your time and attention. Like a certain amount of money, or recognition, where at any one of these possible states you begin you let up.

Life is actually like a war. It’s a day to day battle in the trenches against what is within and outside of us that at any moment brings us to unexpected situations of loss or potential loss. I was reminded of that today when a friend of mine lost his wife and another friend lost his child to an extended illness. The first experienced an unexpected loss and the other a loss that was expected in time, but still painful.

That’s why who we are as people, in the pursuit of our goals and our futures, is really more important than the goals themselves. As we grow stronger through our faith and our efforts toward excellence, we become more disciplined, focused, and self-controlled for our companies, our customers, our families and ourselves.

A World Class Coach’s Perspective

Even in all the performance metrics at the University of North Carolina, what Sarah Weigman found from their world class coach Anson Dorrance was different and helpful for all of life. It was different from those who run spreadsheets, sit in corner offices, and put up sales boards that rank the best and the worst. While making these visible numbers are important for clarity in performance, they don’t reveal from where greatness in anything really emerges. A greatness that’s prepared for the losses and the gains in life.

To that end, I want you to share some Anson Dorrance quotes that led Weigman to who she is today. As you read them, please know that he led the Tar Heels to 22 national titles and 921 wins with just 86 losses.

“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.”

“What it comes to is intense desire, (and) to get this winning edge, you need to build an indomitable will. This means you must be relentless; you must never give up. What you do when no one else is looking will determine how good you’ll be.”

“One of the most unfortunate things I see when identifying youth players is the girl who is told over the years how great she is. By the time she’s a high school freshman, she starts to believe it. By her senior year, she’s fizzled out. Then there’s her counterpart: the girl waiting in the wings who quietly and with determination decides she’s going to make something of herself. Invariably, this humble, hardworking girl is the one who becomes the real player.”

“After a while, your coaching development ceases to be about finding newer ways to organize practice. In other words, you soon stop collecting drills. Your development as a coach shifts to observing how great coaches teach, motivate, lead, and drive players to performances at higher and higher levels.”

Recruiting Character Over Talent

In these Anson Dorrance values and beliefs, I hope you could hear wisdom that will help you help reps be the best they can be by working hard when no one else is watching—intense desire, indomitable will, relentless, never giving up, quiet determination, making something of oneself, being humble and hard-working.

These are attitudes rather than skills. These are something we catch from others—other leaders, other players, certain family influences, coaches, and those who influence us in our lives. They are not talents. These are the bedrock attitudes that you can absorb into your character and will be the driving force to develop someone into being a talented sales rep.

They remind me of the famous book, Talent is Overrated, and as it turns out … it really is overrated. I saw this as a baseball coach and Dorrance and Weigman as soccer coaches. It’s the same in every part of life, including sales teams. That’s why when we recruit the best, we recruit for character first, because we can train people who want to be coached, who want to win, and who want to achieve their goals.

And, finally, when you bring people onto your team they will find in you what they need to be the best in sales. You’ll be a sales leader and coach who looks everywhere to listen, learn. and observe how great coaches teach, motivate, lead. These leaders help to direct people to sales performances at higher and higher levels, and not to their detriment, or the detriment of their families and their life, but to their benefit.

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