Wherever I travel to speak on mental toughness, I always get the same questions:

What’s the secret to becoming a world-class performer? What do the champions know that the rest of us are missing? Why do such a small percentage of people make it big in network marketing?

In my opinion, the answer to all three questions is the same: mental toughness—the ability to control your thoughts feelings, and attitudes…especially under pressure.

Oh, sure, there are other important factors in network marketing, such as: doing your homework and finding a good company that has its act together; selecting a company with a product or service line that can be retailed to the public; conducting research to be sure that the company is in good standing with the FTC and AG; finding a leadership team to guide you; choosing a sponsor that is committed to your success.

But once this process is complete, your success is no longer about the business, the company, or the product: It’s about you. The only question becomes, are you mentally tough enough to hang in there and make your dream come true?

You probably discovered by now that network marketing is not a complicated business; you’ve probably also found out that it’s not easy. But do you know of any worthwhile business where it’s “easy” to succeed?

World-class performers approach their task much differently than the average person. Lance Armstrong, four-time winner of the Tour de France, the biggest bicycle race in the world, wrote a best-selling book titled, It’s Not About the Bike. If Lance Armstrong quit bike racing to go into network marketing, would you bet against him making it big? Not likely. A bet against a champion is always a bad bet. A champion’s mentally tough mindset transcends sports, business and everything else. Here’s a guy who beat cancer at age 29 and went on to win the Tour de France.

It’s not about the bike,
and it’s not about the business.
It’s about thinking like a champion.


The Ingredients of a Champion

Armstrong is famous for saying, “I gotta suffer a little every day, or I’m not happy.” The average person doesn’t understand this type of mentality, but professional performers do. Most great performers realize that they became champions through sacrifice and self-discipline. Mental growth occurs only through stress and recovery, which makes a form of suffering necessary. Just as the body-builder needs the stress of the weights to build muscle, the mentally tough performer needs mental stress to grow mental toughness. Without stress and suffering there is no growth. Bill Stapleton, Lance Armstrong’s agent, says, “Lance Armstrong is not Superman…he’s just a guy who happens to work harder than anyone else alive.”

The mentally tough also tend to have a vastly superior work ethic as compared to the average person. This, in part, accounts for what many people see as “lucky breaks.”

The most interesting thing that I’ve discovered is that a champion’s drive and desire is fueled not as much by ambition as it is by positive expectation. The mentally tough performer expects to win the prize and fulfill his vision. Whether by default or design, champions expect to get what they want, even if they have failed in the past. Developing a mindset of positive expectation may be the single most important factor in anyone’s success.

Combine a world-class work ethic with a mentally tough belief system, and you become a very dangerous performer! Most would-be, almost-champions tend to have one or the other, but not both. The combination is rare—but for anyone willing to work and be coachable, it is absolutely attainable.

In my work with Fortune 500 sales forces, our most important task is to create this combination with as many sales people as possible. The ones who make it are worth their weight in gold to any sales organization. In a recent presentation to a national apparel company’s board of directors, my presentation time was cut to 15 minutes. While I was waiting in the lobby to go on, I picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated, which had Lance Armstrong on the cover; they had just named him “Sportsman of the Year 2002.”

When I walked into the board room, the chairman apologized for cutting my time short. I said, “No problem—I need only 30 seconds to present the Mental Toughness Training program.” I held up the Sports Illustrated cover and said,

“Our program will teach your sales people to think like champions such as Lance Armstrong. If you think that would help your company increase sales, here’s my business card.”


Winning, Not Whining

Imagine what your organization would be like if you and your distributors had the mental toughness of Lance Armstrong. It won’t happen—unless you lead the pack. Set a goal to learn everything you can about mental toughness, and start taking action to make it happen.

The first thing most people who take this advice begin to notice is that they stop feeling sorry for themselves. Whining is the first thing to go. Being mentally tough means giving up victim mentality forever.

Lance Armstrong is legendary for hammering teammates about any whining or complaining. According to Sports Illustrated, one day a teammate was complaining about having to ride in bad weather. Armstrong overheard him and replied; “If you don’t want to get on your bike today, we’ll find someone who does, okay?”

What about you? Do you really believe the business is holding you back? If your company, sponsor, and product have passed their tests, then it’s not about the business…it’s about you. Get mentally tough and the mountains you’re facing will begin to look like molehills.


Steve Siebold

is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group (www.gove-siebold.com),
a training organization that helps
networkers develop world-class
communication skills.